I travelled to Australia at the invitation of Transparency International, whose global leaders are also in Australia at this time for the G20 Anti-Corruption meetings, to explain the domestic situation in PNG.
The impression the outside (international) community got was that what is happening in PNG is a domestic political situation as it was painted by our leaders.
Our leaders have branded law enforcement agencies like the courts, police etc as “politically compromised” as reported in international media including ABC.
That sends a wrong message to the international community and clearly undermines all the genuine efforts of all hardworking Papua New Guineans manning those institutions.
It also portrays an image that the institutions of government, particularly law enforcement agencies had been and can be politically compromised hence creates doubts in the minds of the people in the international community.
My reason for going to Australia therefore was to clarify the domestic situation in PNG. As people holding responsible position, we have to continuously demonstrate confidence in our institutions when we make public statements and representations, even when it doesn’t suit us.
We have fought hard to uphold the rule of law without fear or favour. The Government of the day can go as low as they want to and remove all they want from us. But we will never allow them to maliciously discredit our institutions’ reputations or our individual reputations.
I have seen good men and women standing up for this cause and I am duty-bound to protect them, even as a private citizen.
I wanted the rest of the world to know that we did not initiate and pursue a political agenda. We refuse to be seen or called political stooges. We sought to uphold the rule of law in ensuring that all persons are seen to be equal before the one and the same law. That has been and will be our cause.
As a concerned citizen at the forefront of this issue, I felt that it was proper that I used the same forum (international media) to put things into perspective. I hope I did that.
I did meet with the Australian Foreign Minister Hon Julie Bishop and other Members of Parliament and senior Government officials. I was received, not in any official capacity, but for the efforts that we have put in to upholding the rule of law and eradicate corruption in PNG.
I was careful and did not request Australian Government to do something about it. I left it to them to weigh it out on what position they should or should not take. I perfectly understood that it was our internal issue and not Australia’s making.
All I wanted is for the international community to appreciate that we have pursued and are pursuing to uphold the rule of law.