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Thursday, 12 July


Blacklisting seasonal workers Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

This post examines the practice of blacklisting in seasonal worker programs such as Australias Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) and New Zealands Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme (RSE). Blacklisting occurs when workers are permanently or temporarily excluded from programs. It can vary from two to five years, or be indefinite, depending on the offence. The practice of blacklisting is rarely highlighted, and should be discussed as there are implications for all stakeholders. This blog raises these issues in the context of ni-Vanuatu in the RSE scheme.

The main impetus for this post is to highlight what happens when workers are blacklisted, some of the reasons behind this, and how growers are affected when perceived problematic workers are not reported to government labour sending units in future seasons.

Deported seasonal workers are well-documented within labour sending units. Currently in Vanuatu there are 106 workers on the Employment Services Unit (ESU) ban list and a further 1300 on the stand-down list [1]. Although this number may seem alarming, it covers both the RSE scheme and the SWP since 2007. By contrast, inappropriate behaviour by workers is not always documented, and workers are often not penalised.

Impacts on workers

Blacklisting is a grey area. Although workers have been blacklisted for justifiable reasons, I have also documented cases of when they have not. Tanya Basok wrote extensively on how blacklisting was used as a threat to maintain compliant workers in the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). Many of these types of cases have been witnessed within the RSE scheme and SWP, especially the threat of being blacklisted, which is used to ensure workers are compliant while participating in the programs. If workers do not follow the rules of the program, or individual employers, then they are penalised through blacklisting: The controlled nature of their recruitment, their fear of losing an opportunity to participate in the employment program, makes workers acquiescent.

I have noted examples of these threats throughout my research conducted with workers in Australia and New Zealand. Examples include comments such as, If they dont like it, there are plenty more in the Pacific lined up to take their place (anon.); we just sent these guys to [another] farm because they were working too slowly, so keep the pace or you can be replaced too; and if you complain you can go home. Tipples and Rawlinson highlighted an RSE mediation case where the mediator stated, if you dont go back and work this out, you are in breach of your visa and you all need...

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Wednesday, 11 July


Taking research back to the community Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

My research has an urban focus and I undertook my PhD fieldwork in the ATS settlement in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. My thesis is available online at the ANU open access theses collection.

During my PhD research, I discovered that academic writing is a difficult, long, and rigorous process because of the need to engage with scholarship, the review process, and because knowledge and expertise are contested concepts. I sought to share my research and ideas through various platforms available to me at the time. These included policy briefs and blogs (my favourite!), conference presentations, seminars, and panel discussions. When opportunities arose to write peer reviewed articles or book chapters I would grab them. These bite size portions of sharing allowed me to test some of my ideas and enabled me to boost my confidence. I also received important feedback that improved the thesis. These modes of sharing are an important part of the process of research itself.

The most challenging, and most fun, part of sharing my research was at the end. As my PhD drew to its end, I started to think about how to share this research with the people and community who had generously shared their knowledge with me. I was nervous. I had occupied a privileged position to write for so many years. I had pulled together and synthesised data words, observations, maps, photographs, literature, newspaper articles, emotions, experiences, numbers and other data into a body of work that actually drew on many people. Ultimately, however, I felt accountable for it.

Had I consulted all the necessary and relevant sources and literature? Did I act ethically? Will my research lead to conflict? Did I understand what people were saying to me? Had I interpreted them accurately? Did I portray peoples lives honestly? Had I reflected my own positionality, which may have shaped my values and my interpretations? Importantly, given time limitations, how would I work through the rather large document that the thesis had become whilst ensuring that it would be accessible.

In addition, my field site of urban Papua New Guinea is also an increasingly contested space. Increasing land values, evictions, legal battles, inequality and other social, cultural, political economic forces means that the research touches on important issues in Port Moresby. We also research during a time when social media like Facebook, Twitter and blogs have helped to break down the barriers between researchers, the general population, and research participants. Mainstream print media is readily available in Port Moresby and the population has a higher education level. All these mean that debates can be intense. In addition, I am not an outsider to the fieldwork site. I lived in Port Moresby for a long time and have family and friends there who might be interested in what I had...




When a puppet like Mr. Gamato criticizes the deliberations of a legitimate government like the ESPG; it would normally be quite hilarious given his own infamous achievements. However, his baseless comments in the National Newspaper cannot go unchallenged.
Thankfully ESP Assembly is not answerable to someone of Mr. Gamatos caliber. Sharing the accolades for a burnt Air Niugini plane in Mendi as one's greatest achievements is certainly not an enviable record. Many of us remained silent while Southern Highlands leaders and people were grappling to contain the spill-over results of Gamatos failed election.
The content of my post, if he cared to read it is as follows, point 4:
The Assembly also resolved to seek clarity on the LLG elections. LLG elections are critical to the operation of the Provincial Government, if LLG elections are conducted contrary to law, we run the risk of failed elections which would seriously hamper the operation of the provincial government.
I have no idea what Mr. Gamato was drinking at the time he jumped to his inebriated conclusion and accused us of acting unconstitutionally. Cut down on the cough mixture, please! The people of East Sepik have every right to question the wisdom of Waigani in trying to force decisions down our throats.
Ministers are not infallible, they are bound to make mistakes. Unfortunately, many ministers think that they have achieved a God-like status by virtue of their e...

Wednesday, 23 May


Edith Babul: A Plantation That Started With Ten Indian Guava Seeds "IndyWatch Feed"

By Scott Waide | #Inspirational #Papua New Guineans

Twenty years ago, Edith Babuls, young son, collected the seeds of a rather exotic Indian Guava fruit he found smashed on a road.

It was, at the time, a seemingly tiny deed done by a child for his mum. But over two decades, those seeds became a plantation of Indian guava trees whose fruits are now sold in Lae City.

He found the seeds and said, mum likes this fruit and he brought back about 100 seeds, said Edith Babul. From those seeds, 10 survived and those are among the trees we have now.

While Edith loved Indian guava, she didnt know the cultivation methods that would work efficiently.

At first it was all trial and error. I didnt know and I planted the seeds. It took a while.

In 2000, Edith harvested the first fruits from the initial 10 trees she had planted. She sold over 100 fruits and made K300.

Because I was still working, I told my husband and children that the demand for this fruit was good and that we had to carefully manage the trees.

It wasnt all easy. Some of the trees died and fruits were left to rot or succumbed to pest and disease.

As we walked through the guava plantation, Edith spots a large fruit. She pulls down the branch and picks a fruit which is bigger than her hand. Its fruits like this that have made her quite popular within agriculture circles.

Try it, she says, as we cut open the huge fruit. The guava is soft, delicious and far less acidic than smaller local varieties. Guava cultivation has become an art for Edith Babul.

She gives a lecture on insect management as we walk through the grove.

Never cut all the grass. When insect populations pick up in in June and July, you have to give them something to eat. Let them start with the grass first. If you remove all the grass, they will eat your fruits and leaves.


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