New Caledonia - towards a new Pacific nation?

New Caledonia - towards a new Pacific nation?
New Caledonia - towards a new Pacific nation?

Other speakers

Patricia Goa, Jimmy Naouna, Magalie Tingal and facilitator Nic Maclellan

On 4 October, New Caledonians will vote in a referendum on their political future. Long term residents of the French Pacific dependency - one of Australia's closest neighbours - will vote yes or no on independence from France. Most indigenous Kanak support the call for independence and sovereignty, but must gain support from non-Kanak communities who want to retain ties to the French Republic.

A previous referendum in 2018 saw 43 per cent support for independence, and since then, debate has polarised over New Caledonia's future political status. But the 2020 referendum comes at a time of significant economic and social challenge, during the global pandemic. New Caledonia faces changing demand for nickel exports, the loss of international tourism and a rising cost of living for the vulnerable.

Join us to hear from leading political and community leaders, to discuss the referendum and future prospects for this Pacific nation. Facilitated by journalist Nic Maclellan, the discussion will be broadcast in English, providing first-hand perspectives on current developments that are largely missing from regional media.

Confirmed speakers include:

Patricia Goa is an elected member of New Caledonia's Congress, representing the pro-independence Union Nationale Pour l'Indépendance (UNI). She lives in Baco tribe in New Caledonia's Northern Province and works as an adviser to provincial president Paul Neaoutyine.

Jimmy Naouna has worked on regional affairs as a government adviser in New Caledonia, with the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre in Fiji and with the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat in Vanuatu.

Magalie Tingal is a former journalist and serves in the New Caledonia's Northern Provincial Assembly. As a member of the Union Calédonienne party, she is a co-ordinator of the Yes campaign for the independence movement Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS).

Facilitator: Nic Maclellan is a correspondent for Islands Business magazine and other Pacific media. A regular visitor to New Caledonia, he reports regularly on France and the Pacific islands and is co-author of La France dans le Pacifique - de Bougainville à Moruroa (Editions La Découverte) and After Moruroa - France in the South Pacific (Ocean Press). He was recently awarded the 2020 Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism by the Walkley Foundation.

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