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15 January 2013

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Ross Garnaut is well-respected in both countries. He should be thankful that PNG has helped him build his profile and put him where he is now – one of Australia’s most influential individuals.

However, among the many hats that he has been wearing, Climate Change and Mining are two challenging, yet hypocritical.

Has the good prof become a sacrificial lamb for the gigantic MNC’s or has he misled himself in his career path and academic discourse mixing up his values, if he had some?

Of course, losing a chairman’s job won’t make him go starving in the new year since he is already rich given his prominence and wealth his many ‘top jobs’ may have given him over the many decades of his prolific life – yes check out Forbes!

His real loss now is the “saga” created by the O’Neill-BHP Billiton connection – let alone the Chinese connection.

O'Neill has definitely won the confidence of many citizens who want to end any form of neo-colonialist connotations in today's vocabulary.

However, any sober person (PNG citizens like myself, Australians with PNG connections and the Fly River landowners), would nod with Garnaut on his critical comments about mining taxes being misused by PNG politicians and bureaucrats.

Since when has aid money or mining revenues and taxes been sustainably managed and used in PNG?

Speaking on sustainability, is Garnaut “the person” to head a mining company when he has written immensely about Climate Change issues?

On the other hand, is O’Neill “the person” to shut-off technical people/advisors and in this case, for a very “small” but honest comment by Garnaut that many see no major fault with it?

Is O’Neill trying to do a cover up or is he doing a poilitical witch-hunt?

All we know, for sure, is that PNGSDP has not delivered to expectations and Garnaut can take the blame for that.

On the other hand, we must also know that O’Neill, as a person, cannot decide for the thousands of Fly River people nor for PNGuineans.

His job as the PM does not give him all the rights to proclaim decisions that go beyond mining and development in PNG.

However, that is how funny politicians respond in PNG politics – scolding at and rebuking critics while keep dipping their fingers into what they are seemingly there for. That is what defines their ego.

Hence, are we seeing two hypocritical figures at play here; a Garnaut whose values and qualifications imply anti-mining and promotion of environmental sustainability and an O’Neill who plans to make 2013 a year to fight corruption.

Although, Garnaut’s comments have been perceived by many as honest and somewhat “insensitive” to a government that is headed by a PM who is defensive and has taken unilateral action on someone who has been immensely attached to PNG.

It is therefore, humble for O’Neill to swallow his government’s pride, accept criticisms and bring back Prof Garnaut to continue what he is supposed to be doing – this time Garnaut should serve PNGSDP and the people of Fly River with honesty, dedication and some values of humanity.

Thus, the critics that PNGSDP has not done much for the people should be the issue to tackle, not characters!

It’s good that Ross Garnaut resigned. He served the company interests not Western Province.

I hope Mekere Morauta addresses needs of his wantoks.

I agree completely with prime minister O'Neill. Peter has taken the brave stance to shake BHP, OTML and PNGSDP and on a personal level with Ross Garnaut.

The PNG mining industry and PNG itself has been extremely good to Ross where he has curved out a bumper retirement bank account. This man is arrogant and looks down on many in front, beside and at the back of him.

BHP must relinquish its influence and foothold in any shape or form in PNG and on the same token PNG must never allow BHP and its subsidiaries back in to PNG. Period!

I met "Garnaut" many years ago in the New Guinea Mining days.

Prior to Lihir he was just as up himself as he is these days.

As for BHP, well the old saying, "birds of a feather." And.
As for Ok Tedi. Who 'greased' who.

I do not always agree with Prime Minister O'Neill but on this one he is 100% correct.

To have let BHP exit the disaster that they alone created nine years ago was overly generous by the PNG gvernment of the time.

No country anywhere else in the world would have permitted a mining giant to set up and operate a mine like Ok Tedi with the scant regard for the down stream river communities.

Ross Garnaut has an ego problem that he is "always right" and none of us other mere mortals dare question his say so.

Good riddance and take his other armchair academics with him.

All he had to do was say "sorry", but no, he is never wrong.

The use of hyperbole by Ross Garnaut does not surprise me.

The fact that he pronounces his surname with the 'T' silent when other family members i know in Perth do not is rather pompous in my opinion!

Shades of Bucket and Bouquet in "Keeping Up Appearances".

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