Sending a message with Seselja?

In a Cabinet re-shuffle, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed Liberal Senator Zed Seselja as Minister for International Development and the Pacific, replacing Alex Hawke. But Seselja is a strong supporter of the fossil fuel industry, often voting for new coal mines and against a fast transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Odd choice if Australia wants to increase climate action in the Pacific, or is Scott Morrison trying to send a message to Forum Island Countries?

Dorsey’s French Polynesian sojourn

French Polynesia’s ability to attract high rollers has seen a number of big decisions made from its exclusive resorts and the superyachts moored there, but perhaps none as momentous as Jack Dorsey’s decision to ban outgoing US President Donald Trump from Twitter. The Twitter CEO discussed action against Trump with his staff from his holiday spot. Following the President’s tweets around the storming of the US Capitol building on January 6, Twitter first suspended then permanently banned him, saying the tweets “were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol.”

Unsafe passage

Yachties who were encouraged to come to the Pacific region under special arrangements during  the pandemic have discovered how difficult different national border policies are making transiting the region. One yacht that arrived unannounced in Niuean waters enroute to New Caledonia from Tahiti, was ordered to leave. Its crew had reportedly been looking for fruit, vegetables and fuel. Meanwhile a couple who decided to set off from Fiji for Indonesia in order to escape the cyclone season have run into trouble in Solomon Islands. They sought safe haven in Solomon Islands when they encountered engine and water problems, however they were charged with entering the country illegally. The case is ongoing. An online fundraising page has been set up by their friends to help cover court and accommodation costs.

Read more Whispers in our January issue.

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