The Racist Bully In The Pacific


Australia’s bullying tactics in the Pacific are so brazen — how can Pacific Islanders trust them? Pacific Islanders have been carefully watching the PACER + talks, but now the asylum seeker processing centres must surely rate as one of our most significant challenges.

Kevin Rudd’s recent act of discrimination against asylum seekers — dumping Australia’s problem on Papua New Guinea (PNG) – is just not on. The deal with PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to open another asylum seeker processing centre is absurd.

Human beings with rights and dignity run to Australia in order to seek Australia’s protection, but Kevin Rudd shamelessly refuses them entry and sends them to Manus Island off PNG. While Peter O’Neill was happy to accept the deal he forgets he has yet to adequately take care of his people — something Kevin Rudd is doing for his citizens.

O’Neill has illegal immigrants hiding in various corners of the country. His Lands Minister has just issued notices to evict all urban settlements on state land in Port Moresby and Lae. He is opening huge projects — which means more people coming to the country. He is now happy to say yes to Australia.

Since the 1980s West Papuan refugees have been in PNG seeking recognition and political support as they struggle for their freedom. Successive PNG governments have ignored their Melanesian brothers to the extent that those who were dumped at the East Awin Camps in Western Province had to return to the struggles they were hoping to escape.

Obviously Peter O’Neill is happy to accept the burden from Australia because it has a monetary tag, but doesn’t care about what is right for the people of PNG.  In the case of West Papua, well….

Kevin Rudd plays O’Neill up — and it’s okay in Australia’s eyes? Human rights groups cannot let Australia get away with this undignified way of dealing with human beings. Who takes the blame if something goes wrong on Manus? Is it Papua New Guinea’s fault?

The real crunch-issue is Australia and its increasingly racist posture — which is coupled with designs to dominate the Pacific. It thinks it can just flash money and those little brothers in floral shirts will dance.

New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.