SHARON ISAFE | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch
He claims: “My ban was a low point for Australian diplomacy generally, a low point for PNG development, and a low point for Papua New Guinea democracy”.
Without denying the ‘trauma’ Prof Garnaut must feel at his travel ban – though he seems to forget Australia regularly bans people from entry who fail a character test – I humbly suggest PNG may have had a few lower points than this.
Does Prof Garnaut remember 1989? Prime Minister Namaliu, now a Director at BCL, sent in the RPNGC and PNGDF to brutalise and murder landowners who opposed the Panguna mine owned by BCL – all with a helping hand from Australia.
Could this have been a lower point for democracy, diplomacy and development than Garnaut’s travel ban?
What about 1984, this was the year Ok Tedi began producing one of the worst environmental catastrophes in the world, that will be felt for hundreds of years to come by people along the Fly River.
Could this possibly be a lower point for democracy and development than Garnaut’s travel ban?
Or what about PNG LNG? By the government’s own account the agreement with Exxon was rushed through without proper consultation.
Now we are lumbered with a massive gas project, run by a company with alleged links to serious crimes against humanity in places like Indonesia, who are employing mobile squads to repress landowner dissent in the Highlands.
Could this be a lower point for democracy and development in PNG than Garnaut’s travel ban?
For a corporate high flyer like Prof Garnaut I suspect the answer to all three questions is no.
How could the flagrant violation of the right to life, environment and culture, for hundreds of thousands of Papua New Guineans ever compare in gravity with a modest violation of one corporate executive’s right to exploit.
Elite hubris at its very best!