Miriung had argued that 'before any talks could be held in Port Moresby, the people of Bougainville must make their own peace' and within a few months in September 1995, another round of Bougainvillean dialogue, this time without the direct presence of national government, was held at a resort in Cairns, Australia. Representatives of the provincial government, the BTG (including the Provincial Council of Women) and the BIG, BRA and BRF factions met to seek ways and means of restarting peace negotiations. The week-long talks (later referred to as Cairns I) benefited from the support of many external actors, both official and unofficial. Australian-sponsored and facilitated, PNG government approved and with a prominent role from the NGO Moral Re-Armament (MRA) and the International Commission of Jurists.
The second round of 'peace talks' held in Cairns (Cairns II) three months later, was facilitated by representatives of the UN Secretary-General and the Commonwealth Secretariat and resulted in the Joint Communiqué being delivered to the PNG Prime Minister, signed by BTG/Resistance and BIG/BRA, in the presence of the representatives of the UN, the Commonwealth and Australia, on 18th December 1995. This communiqué signalled the intentions of the parties to enter into a process of dialogue to achieve a political settlement and confirmed the wish for the incorporation of international bodies such as the UN and the Commonwealth into the process in a capacity to be agreed with the PNG national government.
This achievement was damaged when the BIG/BRA delegation was ambushed by the PNGDF as they returned from the Cairns talks. The peace process publicly collapsed, though unofficial talks continued with the national government. Losing confidence in the dialogue option, Prime Minister Chan banned all overseas peace talks. Within months, Chan's government held meetings with Sandline, the private military company and later the PNGDF launched their unsuccessful 'Operation High Speed II'. Civil society, notably women's organisations, continued to convene dialogue meetings.
On 12 October 1996, Theodore Miriung, Premier of the Bougainville Transitional Government and senior negotiator, was assassinated in southern Bougainville while eating the evening meal with his family. A coroner's report later implicated PNGDF and Resistance forces.
Before tasting peace, Miriung died in the hands of the very people who were to have guaranteed his security. The late leader had begun the peace process in Cairns, Australia in line with his BTG mandate and with the Nasioi Principles of 'Osingeta, Osikaiang, Me'ekamui', 'return to dust, return to basics, start all over again. Land is owned by man. Let us protect the land, for land is Holy'.