FORMER AUSTRALIAN PM NAMED PNG CHIEF

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Bob Hawke joins Bill Clinton with award

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 26, 2009) – Former Prime Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu, former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Archbishop of Rabaul Karl Hesse were yesterday bestowed with PNG’s highest honour.

They were all made "Chief" of the Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu.

Mr. Hawke’s award was for his services to Papua New Guinea prior to and since Independence through his involvement in the establishment of the trade union movement and early national wage development, and later as prime minister of Australia by presiding over a period of harmonious relations between Australia and PNG.

Hawke joins an elite group of international statesmen who have been recognised since the inception of the awards in 2005, for their contributions to the development of PNG. These included former Australian governor-general Major-Gen Michael Jeffery, former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, former Australian foreign minister Andrew Peacock and former US president Bill Clinton.

Sir Rabbie was awarded the medal in recognition for his services to the State and the community as prime minister, foreign affairs minister, treasurer and speaker of the National Parliament, leader of the Opposition, Kokopo MP for 25 years and his earlier service as chairman of the Public Service Commission.

Archbishop Hesse was awarded for services to the Catholic Church for more than 40 years as a priest of the congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the first bishop of Kavieng and later as archbishop of Rabaul with responsibilities for East and West New Britain provinces.

The three were among 96 deserving Papua New Guineans who were recognised for their contributions to the development of the country through their work in education, health, community development, the churches and in business.

At the ceremony yesterday, Sir Rabbie said it was "an honour and a privilege" to be bestowed with the medal, adding that he was humbled by the gesture.

He also thanked the Government for recognising the contributions of the Catholic Church in East New Britain and the country towards nation-building by making Archbishop of Rabaul Karl Hesse a Chief of the Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu, saying he was "deserving of it".

"I am very proud. He deserves it as he has done a lot for the church and communities in the New Guinea Islands region," Sir Rabbie said.

Archbishop Hesse paid tribute to the tireless efforts of Catholic priests and nuns throughout the country and said the medal was in honour of the hard work these dedicated men and women put into ensuring that not only the spiritual needs of their congregations were met but their physical needs were catered for as well.

"It is a great honour and a privilege. The people of Papua New Guinea, especially those in the New Guinea Islands region, have looked after me well and I am willing to put a few more years into helping them," he said.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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