Post #3 Australia

Nationalism is the loyalty and devotion to a nation.  Nationalism is when there is a great sense of pride and exuberance for one’s country and placing the most emphasis on the promotion of its interests and culture.  There is a lack of interest to other nations or supranational groups.  Nationalism has a couple of synonyms, each of which carries its own distinct meaning.  Patriotism is a synonym and is similar as it focuses on the strong feelings for one’s country as well.  However, it does not necessarily always imply a feeling of superiority.

Zakaria talks about nationalism as having potential to being dangerous as the world enters a new age.  Nationalism comes with a sense of superiority and Zakaria argues that this feeling of superiority can lead to violence between two countries or groups.  Zakaria points out how the U.S. has a tendency to see their actions globally as doing service to other countries because a big part of it has to do with the sense of nationalism.  It’s important to note that the United States is not the only country with this recurring theme.

Australia Day is the official National Day of Australia that is celebrated annually on the 26th of January.  This day is the day that the First Fleet of British Ships arrived at New South Wales in 1788.  They raised the Flag of Great Britain by Governer Arthur Phillip.  In many ways, this was marked as the day Australia finally became a nation.  Today, Australia celebrates the diverse society and landscape of the nation and with welcoming new immigrants into the Australian community.

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Australia Day parade featuring band players.  (Source: Emaze)

Many Aboriginal Australians and some Australians do not approve of Australia Day because of the negative effect the British settlement on the land has been to the Indigenous people.  Many of those who oppose call the day “Invasion Day” and use the day as a marking of the loss of Indigenous culture.  Australia day is also known as “Survival Day” as the the fact that the Aboriginal people have not been made completely obsolete.

Some would like the day to be completely removed or changed to another date while others would like to rename the day.  The amounts of backlash has brought official celebrations that have been made in Australia day to include more Indigenous people.  Ceremonies such as the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony, which honors the past but celebrates the present.

There are very radical groups in Australia that are as open to the diverse nation and immigration that Australia is trying to embrace.  Reclaim Australia is a radical group that was formed in 2015 that holds street rallies to protest against Islam.  The organization’s objectives include the reclaiming of freedom, the belief in the equality of gender and law and opposition to any association with Islam.  About 2.2% of Australia’s population practices Islam.

The media and press describes the group as far-right.  According to some experts, the movement has always been a loosely structured organizations due to its broad and wide range of support.  The hate group also lacks prominent leaders.

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Reclaim Australia Rally in Martin Place, Sydney in April 2015.  (Source: Wikipedia)

Australia has a increasingly larger problem with economic equality.  According to news.com.au, the gap between rich and poor in Australia is constantly widening.  The top 20% of households receive half of the income.  The bottom 20% only gets 4% of the income.

According to the Guardian, The Australian Council of Social Service reported in 2014 that the wealthiest people in Australia are now making five times as much as the poorest in the country.  The wealthy also have 70 times the assets of those with the lowest income.

Tony Judt explains how many Americans and people in similar economic situations are blind to “an overall increase in aggregate wealth” and it, “camouflages distributive disparities.”  Though Judt is describing the American economy, Australia is facing an economic improvement that is hiding and covering the economic inequalities.  Judt provides evidence of the consequences the UK faced when they did not properly address this social problem, and eventually Australia may reflect that outcome as well if the problem left untreated.

Social demographer mark McCrindle made an analysis of the Australian Bureau and Statistics wealth and income data.  He says that the data shows that Australia the widening income gap means a decrease in middle class and more income inequality.  He also speaks about how there is a wealth gap between generations as well.  Baby Boomers own about 53% of the wealth in Australia while the following generation only has about a quarter of the wealth.

“Our egalitarian society is pretty central to our Australian identity, but it’s under threat, and if the gap continues to widen we will end up with entrenched pockets of have and have-nots..” McCrindle said.

McCrindle showed how the distinctions were very obvious.  The average household income is $107,000 ($80,600 US dollars) while the top two million households earn $260,000 ($196,000 US), which is more than double the average and 12 times more than the bottom 20 percent of households.

“If left unchecked it risks splintering our social fabric.”

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) is an organization that’s created to help fight social and economic inequality in Australia.  ACOSS has lead policy development and advocacy within issues such as income support and employment, economics and tax, housing and homelessness, poverty, and inequality.  They are the a prominent group in Australia and are one of several groups that are here to help bring change to the wealth gap in Australia.

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Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS.  (Source: Third Sector)
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Blog #3

Support for one’s country is a universal theme, but the individuality of each nation serves as a barrier against globalization. Nationalism encompasses patriotic feeling, principles or efforts according to Google. While patriotism also contains patriotic feeling, it is based out of love and beliefs towards one’s country. Nationalism errs on the side of ethnocentrism: belief that one’s culture is superior to another’s culture. Those who are nationalists tend to strive for the interests, independence, and domination of a nation expressing concern for the country in an active, political way. nationalists see unity as extremely important through similar cultural backgrounds in the respective country.

Zakaria states in his book, The Post-American World, that with growing economic interdependence and nationalism, unified actions through organizations like the United Nations become more difficult. With greater selfish, independent thinking, global action is less agreed upon because others are seeking their national interests alone. Another issue of nationalism Zakaria mentions is the rise of sub-nationalism where nationalism is enacted on a local level thereby inhibiting national action (Zakaria 41).

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Flag of Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea, “…nationalism has multiple and fragmented meanings.”

With so much cultural diversity in tribes, clans, and urban areas, sub-nationalism reigns supreme. The national government and the people of PNG have a long history of misunderstanding since Papua New Guinea’s creation in 1975. For example, five years after independence, the PNG government was trying to establish national stability through the extraction of natural resources. Foreign companies were coming to the nation and taking resources while compromising landowners’ autonomy. Village leaders and locals took militant action against this exploitation arguing the foreign investors and national government should give compensation for their usage of the natural resources. The disconnect of sub-nationalism and nationalism supports Zakaria’s earlier point that sub-nationalism decreases a nation’s ability to enact country-wide movements.

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Another example of sub-nationalism in PNG is the Bougainville’s Conflict. After PNG became a nation in 1989, the Bougainville provincial government tries to secede from PNG. The national government refused this notion and decides to stop sending payments to Bougainville under suspension in 1975. Yet, years later in 1989, Bougainville inhabitants wanted to secede and rebels began a long struggle against the national PNG government. One motivator for this secession was an Australian and PNG owned mine called the Panguna mine in Bougainville, the breadwinner for the national government, in which, “the introduction of Australian and New Guinean workers caused resentment, and the exploitation of the mine became increasingly intertwined with issues if indigenous identity”

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The Panguna Mine

This mine represented an intrusion of the national government on a province of people. Most Bougainville locals are characterized by dark skin and call all other non-Bougainvilleans, “red-skins” to serve as a distinction between peoples. The introduction of a mine intruding upon ancestral lands, giving money to a national government instead of the region, and filling an indigenous culture with “red-skins” was too much for the Bougainvilleans.

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Bougainvillean Children

The rebels created a Bougainville Revolutionary Army and fought the national government for years. It was not until 1994 that the Prime Minister, Julius Chan, created a transitional government for the island that avoided establishing full independence of Bougainville. As such, Bouainvilleans were not satisfied with their new government and continued to struggle against PNG national government. Finally, in 1997, the Burnham Truce ends the secessionist conflicts by instating a ceasefire and would be moderated by neutral parties to make sure the fighting stopped. In 1999, a Bougainville Reconciliation Government was established with rebels as the leaders. Finally, peace was found.

Yet, there are many other issues abound in Papua New Guinea as any other country. With many cultures and indigenous ideals ingrained in different regions, PNG struggles with gender inequality. Women are often portrayed in their “traditional” gender role according to each clan, tribe, or society. Many are restricted from leadership roles in their communities. Compared to men, women make less than half the male wage, and men are more than doubly likely to hold a job in the formal sector.

This inequality makes PNG “one of the most dangerous places in the world with an estimated 70 percent of women experiencing rape or assault in their lifetimes”

Although there are recent laws in place against domestic violence have been put in place, the government and police have not enforced these laws seriously and fail to bring many to justice. In PNG, gender inequality acts as a major force of resistance towards current times. The national government has made steps in political globalization, in which Steger explains in the fourth chapter of his book, Globalization: a Very Short Introduction, as “the intensification and expansion of political interrelations across the globe”, as a resource-rich country recently establishing relations with the United States recently at the 10th Pacific Island Conference of Leaders. Yet, PNG remains behind the rest of the world in basic rights like gender equality. While Papua New Guinea’s diverse cultures serve to preserve traditions, these ways of life can act as a wedge against modern social standards.

Post #2 Australia

Australia is a country with no official language, though about 80% of the country speaks English.  In 2011, 76.8% of the country only spoke English at home.  That being said, Australia is a rather diverse country with many different languages spoken along with multiple indigenous languages, though many are endangered.

Although English is not the official language nor does it have an official status in the Australian Constitution, Australian English has become the country’s official de facto official language and is the main language for the majority of Australia’s population.

Australian English stemmed from British English after the Colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788.  By 1820, it was distinct enough to be considered different from British English.  This came from the the early settlers conversing and developing a variety of regional dialects that were mutually intelligible from the British Isles and eventually became Australian English.

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The Australian Gold Rushes in the 1800’s were a significant influences on the development of Australian English.

A significant  of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual.  It was first believed that there were almost 400 Australian Aboriginal languages at the time of first European contact.  The aboriginal people of Australia is the country’s term for indigenous people.  Today, only about 70 of these languages have survived.  30 of these aboriginal languages are now increasingly becoming obsolete.  There is only about 50,000 people in Australia who speaking an indigenous language as a main language, which is about 0.25% of the population.  Australia has their own special sign language known as Auslan, which about 10,000 deaf people use as their main language.  The Aboriginal languages with the most speakers today are Arrernte, Kala Lagaw Ya, Tiwi, Walmajarri, Warlpiri, and theWestern Desert language.

A recent report has said that the Aboriginal people are increasingly facing pressure to lose their indigenous and cultural values in order to be successful in Australia.  The article by ABC Australia focuses on the Larrakia Nation, which represents the Larrakia people of the Darwin region.  The Larrakia Nation worked with the Universities of Sydney and Tasmania to do an investigation on race relations in the Top End.  The Top End is the northern territory of Australia that in the most northern part of the Northern Territory.  About 500 Aboriginal people living in Darwin, Australia took part in the three-year study that resulted an interim report.  There was a reported large diversity in Aboriginal people that included current university students as well.

“Daily I’m juggling with who I am, how I talk, how I act and look and whatever,” -Anonymous Aboriginal Person

There are a lot of respondents that express their concern over being judge for not being part of the “white Australia” and it’s culture.  They would like to be valued for their freedom in embracing their own culture.  Respondents raised concerns about what is considered valuable in mainstream Australia.

The study showed that more than 50% of the Aboriginal people feel unwanted in Darwin.  Over 90% of Aboriginal people in Darwin felt like they felt constantly judged by stereotypes and felt like they didn’t matter.  The study shows how only 16% of non-Indigenous Australians tried to understand Aboriginal culture.

The report revealed Aboriginal people also found the criminal justice system and Australia’s political system to be deeply racist because neither acknowledged Aboriginal traditions or lore.

Respondents said they hoped non-Aboriginal people might consider spending more time with Aboriginal people and on country in order to try to achieve racial harmony.

Recently, Linda Burney vowed to fight for change.  Burney is the first Aboriginal woman elected to Australia’s lower house of parliament.  She has a goal of bring her culture into the mainstream and further spread the Aboriginal representation.  Burney was elected into parliament in 2003.

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Wiradjuri woman Lynette Riley sang a welcome from the public gallery.  (Source: Reuters)

 

Australia is one of the founding members of the United Nations.  The permanent mission for Australia states, “Australia is firmly committed to effective global cooperation, including through the United Nations (UN), because we live in a complex, inter-connected world where many of the major challenges we face cannot be addressed by countries acting alone.”

Australia has been active in the UN for the last 70 years since its conception and they are the 12th largest contributor to the peacekeeping budgets.  Australia has been significantly involved with world peace and human rights.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop is the representative for Australia at the UN. 

In June 2013, Australia decided to place its first ever bid for election to the Human Rights Council for 2018-2020.  The council is responsible for responding and choosing human rights violations and emergencies.  To become a member, states have to show a high standard in promoting and protecting human rights and receive a majority vote of the General Assembly.

The UN Association of Australia (UNAA)  website states that the areas of interest include:

  1. Gender Equality – a prerequisite for development
  2. Good Governance –essential in promoting a positive human rights environment
  3. Freedom of Expression and Association – a key ingredient for democracy, development and a human rights-orientated society
  4. Transparent working methods for the Human Rights Council – ensuring the Council is impartial, equitable and pragmatic to encourage clarity and predictability

 

 

 

 

 

Post #2

As the home of over 800 languages and 600 islands, Papua New Guinea contains immense diversity. Specifically, “the number of individual languages listed for Papua New Guinea is 852. Of these, 840 are living and 12 are extinct. Of the living languages, 839 are indigenous and 1 is non-indigenous”. It is no wonder this country has three official languages: English, Tok Pisin, and Hiri Motu. Although English is one of the major languages of the country, it is only spoken by a small portion of the population. Tok Pisin, alternatively called New Guinea Pidgin English, is understood by over 50% of citizens in Papua New Guinea. Tok Pisin evolved from English into a creole language and is the first language of 120,000 people. Hiri Motu is essentially pidgin English as two different language speakers try to communicate without a true common language. It is the second language for 120,000 people in PNG. The article “Linguistic diversity and language endangerment in Papua New Guine by Asya Pereltsvaig, comments about the importance of diverse languages in PNG by saying, “…language is often perceived as a badge of a community’s unique identity, as that which defines each tribe in ratlin to the others, so that tribal system together with cultural attitudes towards language promote linguistic diversification”. Other languages are indigenous and act as hallmarks of tribal societies, helping preserve societal autonomy and uniqueness. The immense diversity of Papua New Guinea originates from early settlement in 14,000 BC and relative isolation. The terrain of PNG is filled with mountains, swamps, islands, and rough coastlines. These attributes kept indigenous groups apart and lent to the development of different languages as societies grew and split into new tribes each with varying dialects.

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Wigmen of the Huli people in Papua New Guinea who speak Huli and Tok Pisin and have lived in PNG for 1,000 years

The enormous number of languages lends to a vast amount of tribal societies. These different communities often separated or isolated by the topography of PNG, highly impact PNG politics. Instead of national and centralized political parties, they “…rely almost exclusively on patronage politics, personalism, and regional bases.” Unlike the United States’ two major political parties of Democrats and Republicans, PNG has many political parties that are loyal to respective regions and tribal communities all over the country. Some examples are the People’s Democratic Movement, United Resources Party, the People’s Progressive Party, or the People’s Labor Party. In fact, regional and tribal politics highly influence these politicians and political parties instead of a large, national and political issues. Papua New Guinea has 20 provinces each with its own government. Other problems that can arise from so many indigenous languages is misrepresentation in government.

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The Huli people live in the central, mountainous mainland of Papua New Guinea

Yet, of these languages, “42 are institutional, 303 are developing, 344 are vigorous, 114 are in trouble, and 37 are dying.” With societies based on specific language and culture and as the people of PNG intermingles with each other, some may forget their native tongues or fail to teach their language to their children, therefore alienating family in a tribe or community. These tribal communities with differing languages makes it more difficult to communicate and get access to healthcare, education, and secure food sources.  The juxtaposition of losing language and kin while growing more united under a different tongue is the irony of Papua New Guinea. These indigenous languages serve to divide the country into minute sectors while globalization and government act as methods for unity.

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Highlands in Papua New Guinea

Speaking of government, Papua New Guinea joined the United Nations October 10, 1975 . PNG’s role in the UN is to be a participant in global affairs while also getting help. It is also a part of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), a subsidiary of the United Nations that helps “…eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience so countries can sustain progress.” Currently, Papua New Guinea is follow UNDP’s 2014-17 Strategic Plan that focuses on governance, gender equality, women’s empowerment, climate change, disaster risk management, and environmental issues. This program acts as a consultation and oversight for the Papua New Guinean government. Papua New Guinea is also in the International Monetary Fund since 1975, and the World Trade Organization since 1996. PNG acts as a merchandise export trader ranked as 107 in the world for exports from 2014. In these world-wide organizations, PNG is a small player in a big pond. It is receiving guidance from the UN for social and governmental issues while making strides in international trade in the WTO and IMF for economical stability. In the WTO, PNG has .03 of worldwide exports. This nation is small but is involved in world events and is trying to improve in the government, education, healthcare, and numerous other areas.

Post #1 Australia

Australia is a country that is the mainland of the Australian continent and it is currently the world’s 6th largest country by area.  Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with the world’s 12th-largest economy.  Australia has a high ranking in national performance, quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights.  The country is part of the UN, WTO, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, G20, and the Pacific Islands Forum.

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Map of the regions within Australia along with prominent cities. (Source: EDU Consultancy Services)

In most recent Australian news, China hopes to have a fair investment policy in Australia.  Questions arise before their meeting at the G20 summit.  Representatives in China would like for Australia to have a transparent environment for foreign investors.  President Xi Jinping met with the Austrian Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull, for the first time since Canberra, the capital of Australia, blocked a major deal.  Last year Australia blocked a major deal of selling the country’s biggest energy grid, worth $7.57 billion, to Chinese bidders.  They blocked the deal due not addressing certain security concerns and this action angered China.  This deal caused tensions between Australia and its biggest trading partner.  Prime Minister Turnbull later stated that China is well aware of the fact that Australia has the right to determine who invests in the country and the term in which they invest.

“So we mostly say yes, we almost invariably say yes, but from time to time we say no and we make no bones about that and China respects that.” – Prime Minister Turnbull

Australia, an U.S. ally, has gotten criticism from China for running surveillance flights over islands in the South China China Sea.  Another target of criticism is supporting the United States’ freedom of navigation exercises there.

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Chinese President Xi JinPing meets with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.  Both are attending the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. (Source: XinHuaNet)

Chinese President Xi said China and Australia should respect each other’s “choices in their development paths and each other’s core interests and major interests,” the foreign ministry added.  Turnbull also said that he discussed the South China Sea with Xi, along with the terms of the international law.

“We’re a good friend of China and good friends are very honest with each other,” he added.  “We are consistent and our position is very clear that we expect and encourage all parties to comply with the rule of law, to show restraint and not act in a way that would exacerbate or create tensions.”

Both countries could be seeking innovation-driven development and find strategies in cooperation within the two countries.  Turnbull said that Australia enjoyed their traditional friendship with China and their partnership got positive reception in Australia.  Australia is committed to applying the bilateral free trade agreement and would like to deepen its economic ties with China.

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Prime Minister Turnbull in Cairns visitng the innovation hub theSPACE.  (Source: New Corp Australia)

In technological news, Australia would like to promote for more innovations and technological advances within the country.  Unfortunately, the United States’ new visa proposal might make that goal more difficult to ascertain.  The Obama administration has created a new proposal called the “Start-Up Visa” that will allow more foreign entrepreneurs to live and work in the US for up to five years.  The US has a booming tech industry that is very attractive to many people looking to create a start-up company.  Australians generally had relatively easy and simple access to the US with certain visas not offered to other countries.  It is also unlikely that the proposed US start-up visa will result in any more Australians heading to the states than the usual numbers.  Although, it will become a more achievable goal for a couple of other foreign workers.

The new visa was proposed when Australia is trying to increase its $1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda to help promote a start-up culture. Australia’s own version of an “Entrepreneur Visa,” which the government began consulting on in February, is expected to be made available as early as November this year.

The Australian government has also began to introduce the Export Marketing Development Grant.  This grant gives small and medium sized companies reimbursements for up to 50 per cent on their eligible “export promotion expenses”.

Prime Minister Turnbull as invested $28 million from taxes into advertising and in an attempt to spread and encourage many entrepreneurs in hopes of created an “ideas boom” across the country.  This also includes research initiatives, various funding programs and reforming insolvency laws and employee share schemes.  Unfortunately, the efforts for an Entrepreneur Visa like the US has been rather slow.

Many people say that Australia is making substantial improvements for the tech environment and for many young Australian companies.  There is still a problem of welcoming immigration  policy to make the country’s tech industry more prominent globally and attract more attention.

 

 

 

 

Post #1

The Independent State of Papua New Guinea or simply Papua New Guinea (PNG) is located on the eastern side of New Guinea in Oceania. As a Pacific country, Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world as home to over 800 languages. PNG is full of natural resources, mountainous regions and indigenous people.

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Papua New Guinea Topographical Map

Recently, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, met with President Obama on August 31, 2016, in Hawaii for the 10th Pacific Island Conference of Leaders. This meeting was to solidify the agreements PNG and the U.S.A. had made a few days earlier. The two countries signed a bilateral assistance agreement that will forward PNG’s efforts to preserve biodiversity, natural resources, and manage climate change. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will give $1.5 million this year over a five-year period totaling $7.5 million depending on fund availability.

This agreement along with the 10th Pacific Island Conference of Leaders both address climate change as a threat to Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Islands. The warmer temperatures and volatile weather along with rising sea levels have several effects on Papua New Guinea. Higher heat on the islands increases the risk for diseases especially malaria which is an endemic condition in every province of PNG according to Australian Doctors International. With one doctor per 17, 068 people and ranked as one of the lowest countries in the world in healthcare, higher risk for disease is a serious issue for PNG. The majority of citizens are not located in easy-to-reach urban areas. Many are in rural communities with unique languages and cultures. Also, the terrain of Papua New Guinea is mountainous and tropical, so traveling to other towns is difficult. Most traverse the island by foot or plane, and with few doctors, professional medical assistance is extremely difficult to find.

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Road in Papua New Guinea’s second largest city, Lae

Other effects of climate change like rising sea levels force people inland and change the landscape. With an economy dependent upon natural resources, changes of the habitation are not welcome. Many PNG communitities are self-reliant through subsistence farming, and the country exports its minerals and petroleum. In an effort to address these problems, O’Neill and other Pacific Island leaders partnered with the United States, the largest economy and a major world polluter, to deepen relations and increase trade, technological development, and economic development.

However, government corruption has been plaguing PNG throughout recent years. Prime Minister O’Neill came to power in 2011 with promises of breaking the historical governmental corruption of Papua New Guinea by in stating an anti-corruption agency. In 2014, O’Neill had a warrant issued for his arrest under the charges of fraudulent governmental payments to a legal agency. The Prime Minister avoided these charges through court orders for two years and got rid of his anti-corruption agency. In response, students at the University of Papua New Guinea boycotted classes for five weeks and marched in protest for the corruption of O’Neill in June 2016. 

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Papua New Guinea University students protesting O’Neill’s refusal to leave the office of prime minister 

Noel Anjo, a protest leader at the time, explained the students’ plans to the Reuters news agency in a statement. 

“‘We’re not going to give up. The students are not going to give up until and unless the prime minister resigned or surrenders himself to police and is arrested and charged. This might will continue.’”

The court ordered a ban on boycotting classes. A month later in July, civil disobedience and corruption charges came together at a no-confidence vote forced by the Supreme Court for O’Neill to be decided as fit or unfit for government. The motion fell short of the 56 votes needed to remove the prime minister from office with 85 for O’Neill and only 21 votes against him. 

With governmental corruption, high poverty, and low healthcare of Papua New Guinea, it makes sense for leaders to reach out to the largest economy in the world, the United States, in the 10th Pacific Island Conference of Leaders or through a bilateral assistance agreement. Yet, PNG did not partner with its neighboring country, Australia, nor with China, which will overcome the U.S. in economical size in a few years. In light of the no-confidence vote in July, the leader of the People’s Power Movement, an activist group in PNG, Noel Anjo, questioned Australia’s silence amidst the Papua New Guinean turmoil and argued the country was not doing its part as a leader in the Oceania region. The future of Papua New Guinea relies on help from other countries, but the U.S. cannot be the only benefactor. This nation will need other countries like Australia or even the its business mining partner, China, to give human relief and stability as PNG continues on the road towards governmental change.