Australia

Oldest known pottery in PNG unearthed

Sci-News reports that nearly 20 fragments of pottery were discovered at a remote site in the Bismarck Range of Madang Province.

According to the team led by Dylan Gaffney from New Zealand's University of Otago, one of the fragments is at least 3,000 years old, several hundred years older than the previous oldest known pottery in New Guinea.

The small and fragmented sherds reportedly resemble the Lapita plain-ware pottery style associated with the Austronesian colonisation of neighbouring Western Pacific.

PIDF declaration seen as strong political move

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the PIDF has never been stronger and will sign a Suva Declaration, described as a common position on climate change, to take to a global meeting in Paris.

Jenny Hayward-Jones from the Lowy Institute says if the Pacific Islands Forum was to try to do a similar declaration, there could be confusion about which reflected the region.

Hayward-Jones says the timing of the PIDF move, a few days out from the Port Moresby meeting, makes a strong political statement.

Pacific Islands Forum is stronger says Australia

Bainimarama in his opening message at the Pacific islands Development Forum said Australian and New Zealand needs to stop undermining the PIDF by actively lobbying governments and leaders of the South Pacific to not attend the Summit.

In a statement sent to FBC NEWS, the Ausralian High Commission says the PIF is stronger when it represents all of the Pacific region and works with one voice.

New Caledonian govt to hear nickel drivers' demands

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the drivers' union Contrakmine and the government last Friday, putting an end to 24 days of chaos in Noumea, during which drivers had used their trucks to block key access roads.

Although not providing any concrete response to the issue, the MoU says the territorial government will consider the drivers' demands on September 11th.

The nickel carriers and some miners had been protesting at the government's refusal to allow exports of ore to China after a slump in demand from Australia.

Nauru assaults and illness covered up by government, lawyers group says

This is showing the Australian federal government is aiding a "cover-up" of alarming conditions at the Nauru detention camp, a lawyers group says.

Data released under freedom of information laws to the Australian Lawyers Alliance shows serious incidents uncovered by the damning Moss review, and others detailed to a Senate inquiry, were not reported to Comcare, the nation's work safety regulator.

Torres-PNG border checks must be bolstered: Warren Entsch

Entsch, whose far north Queensland electorate takes in the Torres Strait, will today take Health Minister Sussan Ley and Attorney-General George Brandis to one of Australia’s most northerly points, the remote ­Saibai Island, to push his case for a greater government presence on the porous border.

Cooks' PM criticises NZ on climate change

The New Zealand government has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below the level of 2005 by 2030.

The Australian government has a similar target, with plans to cut carbon emissions by at least 26 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

When asked about New Zealand and Australia's emissions targets, Henry Puna said it's up to New Zealand and Australia to decide what is good for them.

He says the important thing is that they come together regularly to talk about those difficult issues.

Making our way in the world through Australian diplomacy

Four years from now, we should celebrate our debut on the world diplomatic stage, 100 years after Prime Minister Billy Hughes, deputy Prime Minister Joseph Cook and attorney-general Robert Garran represented Australia at the Paris Peace Conference at Versailles during the first half of 1919.

It's time for a stocktake of Australia's diplomatic interests, capabilities and strategies.

Balibo widow angry over implicated Indonesian spy chief

Almost 40 years since the killing of the five journalists in Timor-Leste, Shirley Shackleton fears the appointment of retired lieutenant-general Sutiyoso has dashed hopes of her husband's remains ever being returned.

The 70-year-old Sutiyoso, who President Joko Widodo named in June as the new chief of the Indonesian Intelligence Agency (BIN), was an army captain in charge of a special forces unit in East Timor when the newsmen were killed on October 16, 1975.

Tony Abbott rules out same-sex marriage vote on election day

After a special Coalition party-room meeting on Tuesday rejected proposals to give members a free vote on the issue, the prime minister pledged to take it to the people, through a plebiscite or referendum.

On Sunday, he ruled out holding a public poll at the same time as the federal election.