By Susan Merrell
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has instructed cabinet to appoint an eminent persons committee to conduct a review of the Torres Strait Treaty with Australia. He says:
…for 40 years no government has ever stood up on behalf of Trans Fly villages.
Indeed they haven’t Prime Minister, although there are some who have been pointing out the inequities for quite some time.
In 2011, I opined that only a government to government solution would work (litigation had already failed).
At last (and bravo!) a PNG government is seeking to effect a more equitable solution for the people of the Trans-Fly villages by seeking the co-operation of Australia and other stakeholders in a government to government solution.
Here’s what I wrote in 2011 ( as published in The National (Friday, June 24, 2011)
Torres Strait Islands – a government to government matter.
It was with some interest that I read the letter to Australian Prime Minister, reproduced and published in the National, June 1 (2011) – from Mr Peter Sawabarri representing the Masaingle People from the Western Province of PNG on the shores of the Torres Strait.
The letter was in protest about the findings of the Australian ‘Senate Committee Report on Torres Strait: Bridge and Border’ (dated November 2010) that had effectively closed the borders to him and rendered his people without a means to carry on their traditional way of life in the Strait.
The preamble to Mr Sawabarri’s letter says he’s been campaigning for his peoples’ pre-sovereignty rights over the Torres Strait and Islands for the past ten years. Within the letter, Mr Sawabarri presented compelling evidence supporting his peoples’ position as long-time custodians of the Strait and Islands. Continue reading Torres Strait Islands – a government to government matter.