31 Jan 2011

PNG group campaigning for Australian citizenship plan to plant flag in Canberra

11:27 am on 31 January 2011

The leader of an organisation in PNG campaigning for Australian citizenship says a group of 82-year-old fuzzy wuzzy angels will again try to reach Australia at the end of March.

Fuzzy wuzzy angel was the name given to Papua New Guinea villagers who helped Australian soldiers during World War Two

The group, Papua Australia Plaintiff United Affiliates, wants Canberra to recognise that Papuans were not given a choice to remain Australians when PNG became independent in 1975.

The group sent a flotilla of dinghies across Torres Strait in December with the intention of reaching the Australian mainland but the boats were intercepted and their occupants returned to PNG.

The group's leader, Jonathan Baure, says a second wave of boats holding a thousand people will leave at the end of March.

"When I was talking with the High Commission and he said, I told him, I said, 'If you guys are not going to deal with our issue we are going to get a dinghy and come across.' He said, 'Is that a threat?' And I said, 'No, it's not a threat, it's a promise.' And I kept my promise. So I'm telling you now we are going to plant our Papuan flag, by the fuzzy wuzzy angels, on the lawns of Canberra."