L-R. Sarah MacCana, Senator Bob Brown, Rachel Sapery. Pic by Kymberley Kepore
A reception was hosted yesterday (Thursday 28/4) in honor of Australian Greens Party Leader, Senator Bob Brown who is visiting Papua New Guinea. Senator Browns visit comes at a time when the Greens hold the balance of power in the Australian Parliament. This is his first visit to the country and it comes ahead of Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s planned to visit the country.
Present at the gathering were representatives from the National Women’s Council, Environmental NGOs, the Asian Development Bank and the Australian High Commission. Dame Carol Kidu, the Minister for Community Development was also in attendance.
While the Senator did not specifically outline the reasons for his visit he seemed concerned with whether Australian Companies operating in Papua New Guinea adhered not just to PNG laws but to Australian Laws as well. He highlighted the issue of sustainable resource management and the resource deficit brought about by population pressures and the growing middle class in the developing world.
Senator Brown also reflected on the growth of the Greens party in Australia and the Green Movement Globally. As a young doctor he became a Green activist in the early 1970s while fighting to preserve Tasmania’s Natural Heritage. The Greens Party was formed in 1972 during those years of activism and Senator has since been associated with it.
In welcoming Senator Brown, the United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr. David McLachlan-Karr, highlighted the issues that the UN and its partners were working towards addressing. This included matters relating to participation of women in politics, maternal health, gender-based violence, and the environment.
Mr. McLachlan-Karr highlighted specific programs such as the Equality and Participation Bill and the work done by the Food and Agricultural Organization regarding tuna fisheries. He also highlighted the issue of Special Agricultural Leases that have affected the lives of indigenous people.
Papua New Guinea receives the lion’s share of Australian Overseas Development Aid. Mr. Browns visit signifies the focus of the Greens with-in the region.