I am, you are, we are Australian.
Until you try to prove it if you were born in PNG!
I was born in Port Moresby, PNG. I did not know I wasn’t an Australian citizen until I applied for an Australian passport at age 16. Passports wrote back and told my parents they would love to give me an Australian passport but I had best first become an Australian.
I duly became an Australian citizen, had my own Australian passport and traveled alone to the USA at age 17. Passports, like travel memories, expire so I renewed my passport and again went travelling alone. I lived in London for 12 months and spent as many weekends as possible on the continent. I travelled a lot on my Australian passport.
Back in Australia, post London, my handbag (with proof of Australian citizenship) was stolen from my office. I didn’t make application to replace it because I figured my Australian passport was sufficient proof.
Current months: My Australian passport was due to expire and I am due for a volunteer trip with Operation Food for Life back to my birth place, Port Moresby, PNG. No sweat; I completed the paperwork and made application.
Oh my. What a drama it created. It seems that an Australian passport was insufficient proof of Australian citizenship. They assured me that it was just because of where I was born. Other people (an earlier post created enormous facebook dialogue from people in the same boat) stated it was because passports had been given out like lollies in the past and that many PNG citizens with old Australian passports did not qualify for Australian citizenship. Oh my Lord; caught in the cross fire because of where and when I was born.
I applied for proof of Australian citizenship. Border Force rang, asked me where my grandparents were all born, said they were satisfied that I was indeed Australian and their recommendation to passports was to grant my Australian passport. Thank you, God!
So, I’m off to Port Moresby in September to work with the kids on Baruni rubbish dump, at a small village school started and supported by Operation Food for Life and with women in prison. I am teaching them to weave waste plastics to make gorgeous handbags and purses. I want to set up a distribution channel where we bring their finished products back to sell in Australia and 100% of the sales goes back to the poor and neglected kids of Moresby.
If you’d like to help, please make a tax-deductible donation to Operation Food for Life. Email them and tell them what the donation is for.
If you are in Cairns and want to give in a practical way, I am collecting new knickers and thongs for kids, and chew-able worm treatment for Hook Worm. The knickers and thongs act as a barrier to the hook worm entering and lodging in the kids lungs. You may also like to supply exercise books, pens or pencils, or scissors. I am fully funding my trip and excess baggage. There are no paid staff or travel subsidies through Operation Food for Life: 100% of donated money goes to the most needy and disadvantaged in Port Moresby.
So, have you been to Papua New Guinea (PNG) yet? What are your thoughts on the poverty of the people versus the wealth of natural resources.
Wherever you are, keep talking garbage. I weave it into my every conversation.