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23 August 2014

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There is a fine dividing line over publicly discussing the policies and practices of another nation without these comments coming back to bite you in the bum.

Just look at Clive Palmer's latest outburst about the country who helped make his fortune. Look at the reaction in some quarters about Tony Abbott's recent public comments about the upcoming Scottish referendum.

The Australian government's responsibility to the taxpayers who elected them and who provide the aid monies is however not to be taken lightly. Neither is our national interest.

PNG like Indonesia, is a sovereign country. There have been questions raised about Australia funding schools in Indonesia that actively promote Islamic fundamentalism. Is this in out national interest?

Australia cannot publicly support the corrupt use of our overseas aid and Julie Bishop's decision to withdraw funding of the PBG pharmaceutical purchase and distribution operation after two very successful years was based purely on stopping Australia funding continuing corrupt practices of the PNG government.

That decision should send a clear message to the PNG government yet look what happened? Those responsible for public health (read PM, Minister and Departmental Head) simply ignored the decision and went ahead with what they wanted to do anyway.

PNG Minister Malabag, who personally intervened to ensure the pharmaceutical tendering process was corrupted was a guest speaker at a recent conference in Melbourne.

Did anyone at the conference think or want to challenge the Minister about his decision over the PNG pharmaceutical contract as he strutted the stage?

Behind closed doors however is a different ballgame. Who knows what is said between our Foreign Minister and other national governments? The problem is simply one of leverage.

Australians are clearly not seen as having much due to our past history of non accountable generosity to others.

The clear problem is not what we say but what we do. The Chinese are reportedly able to gain significant leverage in the Pacific by picking up projects others don't fund. Even New Zealand has a better 'bang for their relatively small buck'.

Perhaps the time has come to be 'no more Mr Nice Guy' but that has to be behind closed doors. The public must be given no chance to actually find out what has been said.

The only way the public will therefore ever find out there has been a change in the wind is through results then starting to happen.

It is axiomatic that weak kneed apologists will demonstrably never be given any credence where thieves, bullies and the corrupt are concerned.

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