PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 7, 2009) - The Prime Minister's office yesterday confirmed that Sir Michael Somare had written to former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke late last year to formally inform him of becoming a PNG chief.

Mr Hawke was awarded the highest honour available to a non-citizen - the Grand Companion of Logohu ("GCL") with the title of "Chief".

Robert James Lee Hawke AC was officially appointed a Chief of Logohu on New Year's Day.

Betha Somare from the Prime Minister's office said Sir Michael and former prime minister Bob Hawke became good friends when he first visited Papua New Guinea as a leader of the Australian trade union movement and helped to establish the PNG trade unions and set up an indigenous wage system.

Sir Michael's letter read:

"Dear Bob, As you may be aware, PNG now has its own national honours and awards system - The orders of Papua New Guinea. "Having our own honours system enables us to honour both citizens and non-citizens who have made special contribution to Papua New Guinea's development, both before and after Independence. Your support for Papua New Guinea extends from the time you assisted in the development of our trade union movement, and basic workplace conditions, to the strong support you gave us during your term as Prime Minister of Australia. I believe your contribution more than marks your being awarded the highest honour available to a non-citizen, namely the Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (GCL) with the title of 'Chief'. Logohu is the Bird of Paradise in the Motuan language."

Sir Michael invited Mr Hawke to visit Papua New Guinea at the time of the investiture ceremony tentatively set for the first week of March.

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