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26 August 2010


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May history be the judge of "mentoring" democracies guiding and leading their "charges" toward attaining socio-political certitude.

Globalism now intrudes into nearly every orifice of socio-political process.

Take for example, the case of the State of Arizona attempting to defend its border with a neighbouring nation of Mexico (in the context of PNG asserting sovereign right of control over its borders).

There is a major stoush erupting over "states rights" in the USA as they are traditionally, and constitutionally viewed.

The trouble is not arising from Mexico. It is coming, instead, from the US federal government, which is now resorting to appeals to overriding UN policies and treaties subscribed to by the government.

Barack Obama is not content to make a federal case out of his immigration feud with Arizona; he just made it an international one.

I ask you, what a nonsense is this that the most powerful nation in history appears incapable of sorting out a border control problem at home let alone be an example to a little Pacific State on the other side of the world?

Unless, of course, there is another agenda afoot which, by extension, draws our attention to the creeping paralysis of PNG's government in the long drawn-out and increasingly familiar displays of ineptitude as measured by public opinion.

If we think there are problems enough, now, with local issues, what will the outcomes be when disaffected locals rise up in protest at imported labour forces and toxic waste dumps?

Will the solutions come from local parliamentary process? I think not.

The same political processes which historically stood to defend PNG's public interest along constitutional lines will be subject then to prevailing international, nay, global process brought to bear because we were asleep at the helm when agreements and contracts with foreign powers and sovereign wealth funds were signed and sealed.

When PNG citizens ask for foreign workers to be sent away in favour of meeting employment needs on the home front, those same contractual obligations will be vigorously defended by the outside parties through processes of International law far removed from the puny might of Konedobu's clout.

The question of what is ailing the corrupted political processes in PNG might best be answered by learning what degree of complicity has been entered into with the world of globalist carbon cowboys and their cohorts determined to seek a future for the nation without the informed consent of the people.

On any direct comparison of PNG with Australia, a big difference exists.

Australia has had some 200 years to develop itself into a mature democracy and affluent society, where as PNG has not. It will take another 100 years or more for PNG to be where Australia is today - with that country's help.

I believe Australia will still do this despite our current love-hate, tit for tat foreign relations strategic chess game between a former coloniser and colony.

Australian society was initially comprised predominantly of Anglo-Saxons. Over time, the numbers of newly arrived Europeans built up Australia's population to what is now a fairly diverse group.

So when it comes to representative democracy, good governance and matters where political leaders and the people interact, there is a semblance of order in Australia, but the same can not be said of PNG for obvious reasons.

With its mixture of over 800 different languages and dialects, a bad political system was unfortunately forced upon the people of PNG. You can well appreciate that it will take a very long time for things to get settled.

The whole system of politics and governance is much more complex, and complicated now; but will get better and much improved in future.

The people, tribes, clans, villages, communities, provinces and the whole country will take some time to get themselves educated first before this changes their whole mindset to think as 'one-people and one nation'.

This is important and must take place before the existing political system will improve.

Because the PNG is still not well united now, our people still have not accepted or developed a mature level of thinking about politics. Thus, the way Australians do that does not augur well to instantly compare with PNGeans.

Until PNG has some good committed political leaders and we have people who are formally educated to know better, they will still be conned by certain pollies to keep electing the same bad pollies and other newcomers at election time.

The people will, over time, come to make some good decisions on what to look for in leaders and who they want to represent them during elections.

The people will then know what makes a good honest leader and we will see some big improvements in the scheme of things in PNG.

The changes will always be incremental. Our long term vision is to see PNG develop into a better country and just society.

The people will themselves make the necessary change to the level where Australia and other developed nations are today by continually improving their own political and government system.

I like to think that the kiaps, at the field-level at least, threw off the old paternalistic approach to PNG.

A lot of us worked hand in hand with our PNG compatriates. We also copped a lot of flak from headquarters for being so cosy.

With all due respect, Barbara, I can't help but detect that old air of paternalism in your comments.

People in PNG are grown up and are big enough and ugly enough to run their own affairs. They've got their own talented people, they just need to harness their energy.

Paul's suggestions are good but it is up to PNGeans to take them on board. Otherwise, what's the point. If Australians do it for them, the same thing that happened at Independence will just happen again.

As you said, the way forward is fraught with danger but PNGeans are the ones who have to take the risks. It seems to me that at the moment ordinary PNGeans, voluble as they might be about their problems, are not prepared to take those risks.

I reluctantly left PNG in 1984 to look after an aging mother.

At that time I looked on PNG leaders as young adults - "our children" if you like - who have to be left to "do their own thing", otherwise they turn against you! But I was always there to help.

I ended up being able to help many who came to Australia for health reasons or those who came to do further study, especially higher degrees. These people I now look on as my friends. Some play an important role in PNG society today.

Twenty years after leaving PNG I got involved with writing a book on Keravat National High School. This put me in touch with many ex-Keravats and they talked to me freely about all their worries for PNG.

Out of this venture I came to realise that PNG education was fraught with problems. At the launching of my book there was a groundswell of feeling that the old Senior High Schools had to be turned into Schools of Excellence.

Educationalists and the government have gone along with this idea. But the renovation of Keravat in 2009 failed, and now the school will have to close.

Sogeri is also in a bad way and I guess Aiyura and Passam also have major problems.

Paul's idea of having Australian ad directed to some direct funding would fit in well with the problem I see in getting the Schools of Excellence off the ground and running.

At the moment two ex-Keravat teachers from the 1970s are back at the school and have spent months cleaning up all the science equipment from former days which has been rotting away in the storeroom.

Keravat taught science to an appropriate level for students attempting to matriculate and go on to study at a university.

When many other high schools were allowed to teach to Grade 12 it appears that they were not supplied with the necessary equipment to continue teaching science to the level that it was taught at Keravat.

Hence the valuable equipment at Keravat was put away - when it should have been used to help students understand science.

PNG needs to provide a good education for its gifted and talented students who are needed to go on to run the country in the future and to provide the professionals needed in many occupations.

Last year there was talk of sending these students to Australia for their education. What a backward step!
Australia aid could set up good top quality schools in PNG. But expatriates may be needed to help get the show on the road!

I guess a similar story goes for the hospitals and aid posts.

Australians want to see some positive results from the aid they give to PNG.

I agree with you Barbara. It was clear that had there been a lengthy delay in home rule, there could well have been severe civil unrest.

But home rule doesn't have to translate into 'no rule' and a complete abrogation of responsibility and a frantic dash to divest and cast adrift our nearest neighbour.

To be blunt, in 1975 the leaders on both sides of the Torres Strait were equally to blame for that farcical performance. That's history however.

I suggest that if there are still any lingering ideas of a never ending stream of 'sori moni' (sorry money) after 35 years, in order to assuage those modern day PNG people who want someone, anyone really, to blame for their problems, those people should look no further than themselves and their own government.

The PNG people elected their current government and their current leaders. Only the PNG people have had the power over the last 35 years to do something about it.

The future is being decided today. Overseas aid money has demonstrably only produced increased dependency. What would be a far better alternative is to divert Australia's overseas aid monies into the direct funding of health, education and communications on a finite and publicly reportable and accountable timeline.

Responsibility would be handed to local managers upon demonstrated competency. What funds are left over should be made available to a local development bank that would provide easily accessed, low interest loans for PNG people to start and run their own businesses.

The spin-off of generating a host of small businesses would be a practical step forward for PNG and give hope and integrity to the hopeless and employment to those who are currently begging for a job.

It's time to think outside the square!

Reg - I was there at Independence. We let Papua New Guineans peacefully take over the running of their country because we could see that in so many other countries, where Independence had been delayed, there was bloodshed.

Somare was a very good man back in those days. I was at Keravat and was helping in the education of many other good men and women who have gone on to show they can take on responsible jobs and do a good job.

But over the past year, with my dealings with the proposed renovation of Keravat, I have learnt that it appears Somare has avoided the truth for fear it will tarnish his reputation. Of course it has had the opposite effect!

He needs to be reminded that "The Truth will set you free!"

I also have the highest regard for Sir Paulias Matane, but I fear that his botched re-election process has compromised his position when he stands up against corruption.

I'm now praying that God will raise up people in PNG who are willing to stand up to corruption in all its many forms.

A PNG-born constitutional and administrative lawyer [living in Australia] says aid should be called 'compensation' or 'sori moni' for doing what Reg has described so well here.

I know PNG has had some truly terrible leaders who have put self interest and greed ahead of the common good and continue to do so.

At the same time when the crooked politicians were handing out free beer and other bribes at election time there were a lot of ordinary people taking it.

Indeed I imagine there are a lot of ordinary people who aspire to or at least dream about becoming a politician too so that they can have their share of the cream on the cake.

It is these sort of people who keep the crooked pollies in office. A lot of poor people in Australia vote for the conservative parties, not because they believe in free market capitalism but because they aspire to a place at the trough.

Over and over again the commentators on this blog say "we must do this" or 'this has to happen" if things are to get better and then feel good about saying it and think that is all they need to do.

I'm sorry, but that isn't enough. You have to stand up and be counted. You have to put your money where your mouth is. If you don't you have no right to criticise.

Don't blame the politicians for everything that's gone wrong. It is you, the ordinary people of PNG who have let yourselves and your great country down.

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