12 Dec 2006

Organiser says Australian ban on Papuan troupe ends planned world tour

8:48 pm on 12 December 2006

The Australian department of foreign affairs and immigration have refused to grant visas to a traditional troupe from the Indonesian province of Papua.

The group, called Tumbuna, was to perform a work called 'Peace Child' in Melbourne on Thursday .

One of the organisers, Ned Byrne, says visa refusals centred on issues such as the group's lack of money and the failure of some to furnish details of their families and work situations in the Indonesian province.

He says his theatre company is a victim of the new Australia-Indonesian Security Treaty.

Mr Byrne says there was never any likelihood of the Papuans trying to stay in Australia.

"There was never any intention of the organisers or any supporters here to do that, because what happens what happens then - I have brought Japanese people here for this concert to meet up with them. I have been living in Japan for 20 years and I have been working on the Japanese side of collaborating with West Papuan dancers and singers for the past 2 years and this was the beginning of a hopeful world tour culminating in a Japan next year."