By SIMON MERTON
I started this group on Facebook out of pure frustration in dealing with the Australian High Commission Migration Office in Port Moresby for visas, etc.
I thought that due to the popularity of social media these days that I might stir up a couple of hundred of peoples’ interest.
Little did I know that in under a week that we would have over 1,000 members.
I find their policy and attitude towards Papua New Guineans in general to be borderline racist.
I understand that this is an emotionally-charged topic, but please do remember, our ultimate goal is to have such an impact where we encourage positive changes.
I am not trying to create disharmony, division, racism etc.
I am simply highlighting an issue that needs to be dealt with.
I feel that it’s an absolute disgrace, Australia's attitude towards Papua New Guineans at the High Commission.
What's even worse is the apparently racist attitude that the Papua New Guinean staff have towards their own country folk.
As a former Australian citizen and long-term resident of PNG (I have been here since I was an infant) and married to a Papua New Guinean, I have sponsored relatives, friends and employees on several occasions to travel to Australia for short stays, for weddings, funerals, shopping trips and holidays.
It's the same each time, and it's getting worse.
Forced to line up in the hot sun or pouring rain like cattle, w by the PNG officer who serves them.
Of course my story is the same as everybody else's.
The AHC demands sensitive and personal information that they never acknowledge receipt of.
The whole process can take months just to get a one-month visa.
It appears that the Australians have Papua New Guineans on an automatic "at risk blacklist", something carried over from the pre-colonial White Australia Policy.
What's really insulting is Papua New Guinea's history with Australia, especially that of WWII where Papua New Guineans played a critical role in defending Australia from Japan during the war.
Now a citizen of Japan can apply for an Australian Electronic Travel Authority online and a visa is granted on arrival in Australia.
Papua New Guinea gives visas to Australian nationals on arrival at the airport as well. Yet the humble Papua New Guinean whose ancestors helped protect Australia from Japan during the war is made to jump through near impossible hoops.
I find this extremely unfair, when we offer visas on arrival to Australians as long as they arrive with a return ticket.
A Samoan, Tongan, and Cook Islander can freely travel between their home and their former colonial master, New Zealand, yet ours has put up an impassable barrier! Why ?
I strongly suggest that the PNG Minister responsible for Migration should immediately implement a blanket ban on the issuance of visas on arrival to all Australian citizens traveling to Papua New Guinea until such a time when Australia can accord Papua New Guineans the same privilege.
Australia’s policy on Visa’s towards Papua New Guineans can be accessed here, http://www.facebook.com/groups/austpngvisapolicy/
We also have an online petition that can be accessed here, http://www.petitions24.com/call_for_a_fair_unbiased_visa_treaty_between_australia_and_png