Marape thanks Australia for providing an ‘anchor’ for independent PNG

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PNG Prime Minister James Marape addressing the Australian Federal Parliament
PNG Prime Minister James Marape addressing the Australian Federal Parliament today . . . “We thank Australia for the profound work that has gone into the setting up of key institutions that remain the anchor of this free vibrant democracy of PNG." Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Bramo Tingkeo of the PNG Post-Courier

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape made his historic address to the Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra today.

Following Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s welcome address, Marape highlighted with gratitude the historical ties between the two nations and made special reference to the continuous support given to PNG by Australia since independence in 1975.

“We thank Australia for the profound work that has gone into the setting up of key institutions that remain the anchor of this free vibrant democracy of PNG,” said Marape.

Speaking during his address to senators and members of the Australian federal Parliament, Marape described the relationship between the two countries as being “joined to the hips” and “locked into earth’s crust together”, referring to the Indo-Australian tectonic plate.

He emphasised the efforts of Australia as being a “huge pillar of support” in terms of infrastructural development for Papua New Guinea.

Marape also made reference to former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam and Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare as the “forefathers who made independence possible” and described Australia as being a big brother or sister that had nurtured PNG into adulthood.

Post-Courier: ‘My sons will come’

PNG POST-COURIER
PNG POST-COURIER

In an editorial today, the Post-Courier said:

Today’s a historic day in PNG Australia relationships.

On this day, January 8, 2024, in Canberra, a son of Kondom Agaundo, the legendary Papua New Guinean warrior chief, will address the Australian Federal Parliament.

This simple act will fulfill the prophecy of Chief Kondom of Wandi, Chimbu province. His prophecy titled “my sons will come” has become a rallying call for Papua New Guineans to set forth and explore the world of globalism in education, business, sports, foreign policy, tourism and politics.

It was in Canberra that Kondom, a member of the PNG Legislative Council, felt humiliated when he tried to address an Australian audience. His lack of English proficiency irritated the audience who responded with laughter.

Chief Kondom, the son of a powerful warrior chief, felt slighted.

He thought maybe, if not for his poor English, then maybe it was the insinuation of his name.

While he felt insulted, he was a warrior and would not show any weakness. He held fast to his belief that payment for an offence now would be fulfilled later.

He was determined to prove his leadership skills. He was determined to tell the white “mastas” that their time in Papua and New Guinea would end.

He responded with the famous lines: “In my village, I am a chief among my people but today, I stand in front of you like a child and when I try to speak in your language, you laugh at my words.

“But tomorrow, my son will come and he will talk to you in your language, this time you will not laugh at him.”

And that the sons and daughters of Chief Kondom, well educated, very confident, fluent and sophisticated, cultured, tasteful, elegant and vibrant have descended on Australia in the last 50 years.

Former politicians and knights Sir Yano Belo and Sir Nambuka Mara are in Canberra with Prim Minister Marape.

It was the wisdom of people like Chief Kondom, Sir Yano, Sir Nambuka, Sir Peter Lus and many other political warriors that inspired Chief Sir Michael Somare to demand political independence from Australia.

The memory of Chief Kondom lives on in Chimbu and across the country. His legacy is written on buildings and schools.

In 1965, Kondom Agaundo was the Member for Highlands region. He also became a kiap, the first local to embrace Western civilisation.

He was the first president of Waiye Rural LLG 1959 and the first Chimbu man to own and ride horses.

He is remembered as the man who fostered coffee in the Central highlands. Sadly, chief Kondom died in a car crash at Daulo Pass in August 1966.

It is said that the funeral and burial ceremony lasted weeks and over 100 pigs were slaughtered for the man who reminded the Australians his sons would come.

Today, Prime Minister completes the evolution of the legend of Chief Kondom Agaundo, under the watchful gaze of two of Chief Kondom’s surviving peers.

Republished with permission.

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