Canberra book launch: Sean Dorney’s The Embarrassed Colonialist

On Monday 22 February the Lowy Institute will be launching our newest paper, The Embarrassed Colonialist, a look into 40 years of Australia-PNG relations, by Sean Dorney.

The 2015 Lowy Institute Poll shows that 77 per cent of Australians believe Australia has a moral obligation to help Papua New Guinea. DFAT Secretary Peter Varghese has said that “perhaps more than any other single relationship, the state of our relationship with Papua New Guinea is seen as a barometer of Australian foreign policy success.” But the official bilateral relationship was troubled in 2015, the year Papua New Guinea celebrated 40 years of independence from Australia, and people-to-people relations have deteriorated since the colonial era.

Dorney argues that too many Australians know too little about Papua New Guinea. Come along to the official launch of his book to hear about why we need to start learning more about Papua New Guinea and treating it as an equal. Papua New Guinea is a country worth having as a solid, friendly neighbour, Dorney writes, and Australia needs to embrace its history in Papua New Guinea, both good and bad.

Sean Dorney is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. After reporting on the Pacific (with a particular focus on Papua New Guinea) for over four decades, Sean left the ABC in August 2014. During his time with the ABC he won a Walkley for his coverage of the Aitape tsunami and was both deported and awarded an MBE by the Papua New Guinean Government. He is the author of Papua New Guinea: people, politics, and history since 1975 and The Sandline Affair: politics and mercenaries and the Bougainville crisis.

 The event will take place from 6pm-7pm, with refreshments to follow, on Monday 22 February at the National Press Club in Canberra. Attendance is free but registration is essential. Registrations and further information available here.



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Jonathan Pryke

Jonathan Pryke worked at the Development Policy Centre from 2011, and left in mid-2015 to join the Lowy Institute, where he is now Director of the Pacific Islands Program. He has a Master of Public Policy/Master of Diplomacy from Crawford School of Public Policy and the College of Diplomacy, ANU.

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