APNGBC BLOG : 26th Feb 2016

The Embarrassed Colonialist: an examination of Australia’s ties with Papua New Guinea past and present - by Sean Dorney

The Embarrassed Colonialist is available to purchase from all good bookstores ($9.99). An e-book version ($3.99) is also available.

— By The Lowy Institute

From the Lowy Institute: Forty years after independence, Papua New Guinea is the largest single recipient of aid from Australia. Yet Australians seem to be largely ambivalent about the country. Few Australians know the history of our colonial rule in PNG and our ties to the country are quickly being forgotten.

PNG expert Sean Dorney examines PNG's weaknesses and strengths since independence and argues that, for moral and practical reasons, Australia needs to reconnect with Papua New Guinea. It is time we shed our embarrassment about our colonial past and embrace our relationship with our nearest neighbour.

An excerpt from the book:

Of course, the truth is that Australians were colonials – but it is something that does not fit well with the view that the nation holds of itself. Australia is a nation that evolved from a convict settlement, names Ned Kelly as an iconic figure and its favourite national song is about somebody who stole sheep.

So it is probably no surprise that Australia does not celebrate that as a nation it ruled over another people.

The British readily acknowledge their imperial history and take pride in having had a British empire that is now the British Commonwealth. Not Australians.

It is because of our seeming reluctance to fully address our history in PNG and look rigorously at the consequences that I have coined the term “embarrassed colonialist”.

The Embarrassed Colonialist is available to purchase from all good bookstores ($9.99). An e-book version ($3.99) is also available. 

The Embarrassed Colonialist: an examination of Australia’s ties with Papua New Guinea past and present. by Sean Dorney

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