ADF Support to PNG Elections

The Defence Force (ADF) has delivered election material to support the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government’s 2017 national elections

C-27J-Spartan-PNG

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has delivered election material to support the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government’s 2017 national elections.

Operation HANNAH is a support mission based on a direct request for assistance from the PNG Government. The ADF is supporting the Australian Whole-of-Government effort to support Papua New Guinea’s National Election process. Joint Task Group 658, comprises ADF elements that provide specialist support capabilities, particularly helicopters and logistic assets that are not readily available in PNG. Operation HANNAH is an element of a wider Australian assistance program to PNG, focused on supporting the PNG authorities to conduct a safe, free and fair national election.

Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules, C-27J Spartan and B-300 King Air transport aircraft and Australian Army MRH-90 helicopters delivered election material to provincial centres and other key locations in the lead up to the commencement of polling, which will take place from 24 June to 8 July 2017.

Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, Major General Greg Bilton said the ADF support included aircraft not readily available in PNG.

“The mountainous terrain and the spread of islands in PNG means air transport is highly valued,” Major General Bilton said.

“Military aircraft offer capabilities needed to be effective across the diverse terrain encountered in PNG’s highlands and archipelago.”

“Since 10 June 2017 we’ve delivered over 100,000 pounds of election materials and we’ve supported the movement of more than 200 Papua New Guinean security personnel around PNG,” he said.

Commander of the Australian Contingent, Lieutenant Colonel Travis Gordon said the most gratifying thing about the mission has been the warm greetings received from PNG officials, troops and civilians alike.

“Papua New Guineans are very welcoming. They understand we are here to support their election and they genuinely appreciate Australia’s efforts,” he said.

About 200 ADF personnel deployed to Port Moresby for Operation Hannah, the ADF’s contribution to the Australian Government’s support for the 2017 PNG National Election.

Now that the ADF has completed its primary task, it has reduced its presence and elements of the ADF contingent will remain in PNG to provide movement support during polling, and to help transport personnel once polling has finished.

C-27J-Spartan-PNG-Police
Papua New Guinea Police Force members prepare to unload electoral papers off a C-27J Spartan during Operation Hannah in Papua New Guinea.
Terry Turner

Terry Turner is Senior Editor for Defence.com.au and Editor in Chief for the entire stable of CYBER PRESS magazines.CYBER PRESS is an Australian media business specialising in multi-channel broad audience online digital publishing. Our company is the evolution of Eco Magazines, Australia's premiere dedicated online publisher of full-format digital magazines. Put simply, we specialise, where many merely dabble.

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