News & Insights

Cardno Law and Justice adviser recognised for contribution to PNG

Long-term member of Cardno’s law and justice team in Papua New Guinea, Don Hurrell, has been officially recognised for his enormous contribution to the people of PNG’s Morobe Province.

Don was made a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Medal at an Investiture Ceremony in Lae on 10 June in recognition of his dedication and commitment to supporting law and justice services in Morobe.

Don has been working for the past six years as the Morobe-based adviser for Australian Government-supported law and justice programs in PNG, and is currently the Community Justice Adviser (North) for the Cardno-implemented Justice Services and Stability for Development Program.

Don Hurrell

In his role Don works closely with and supports local branches of national law and justice agencies such as the Department of Justice and Attorney General and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, as well as community-based and cross-sectoral groups like the Morobe Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee.

But Don says the focus of his work is in the rural areas, where he has been a driving force in getting law and justice services and information out to the many communities isolated by distance and terrain.

“I acknowledge that strategy and policy has to come from the national level, but my priority is to strengthen and support law and justice services down at the village level, because that is where people live,” he says.

Don was nominated for the award by the Morobe Provincial Administrator Bart Ipambonj and, in his characteristic understated manner, said receiving it was “a great honour. It means a lot to me. I am proud of it.”

But he regards it as recognition for work done in the service of PNG over many years beyond those spent in Morobe, including five “long and hard years” in Arawa in Bougainville during the immediate aftermath of the Crisis there, followed by seven years in the Eastern Highlands Province.

In both places Don was confronted by instability and a dearth of government services. He worked closely with local administrators over a long period of time to establish village courts and land mediation, calming tensions and re-establishing order.

He derives great satisfaction from the success of these initiatives. In the Eastern Highlands, for instance, the local Peace and Good Order Committees he helped establish continue to operate, and under their watch the incidence of tribal fighting has plummeted, from 87 ongoing conflicts when he arrived in 2007 to zero by the time he left in 2014.

Don’s service in PNG continues a strong family connection to the country, where his father served as a kiap and received a Military Medal and Order of the British Empire for his exploits here. Don himself has spent more of his life in PNG than he has in Australia.

During the Investiture Ceremeny Don paid tribute to the support he has received from his wife and family over his long period of service, and to the many people in local communities and the law and justice sector he has worked with over that time.

It was special for him that his eldest daughter was able to attend the ceremeony, and that he was able to share the moment with many close friends and colleagues from the Morobe community.

JSS4D Community Justice Adviser Don Hurrell (right) receives his Queen's Jubilee Commemorative Medal from Governor General Sir Bob Dadae in a ceremony at Lae on 10 June

For further information contact:

Adam Blundell
Program Director – JSS4D
Phone: +61 2 6112 4569