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« The public service - the silly, the sinister & the plain bizarre | Main | Tales from the kiap times - The bomb of Elimbari »

25 November 2016


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In urging Public Servants to exercise restraint in their pay claims, Sir Puka Temu is repeating the often heard pleas of governments that are in the gravest financial difficulties.

In PNG, as elsewhere, the political class calling for noble self sacrifice usually do not have any plans for restraining themselves.

How often have Australian voters seen governments fighting tooth and nail to resist wage increases, often for the poorest paid in the public service workforce, only to cheerfully accept large rises in their own incomes and allowances, because these have been endorsed by an "independent" parliamentary salary tribunal?

Such blatant hypocrisy in the past means that public servants and the wider public generally, are now permanently and deeply cynical about calls for wage restraint.

In PNG, where the political class plunders the public purse on daily basis, such calls look and feel hypocritical in the extreme.

When will our politicians learn that calls for restraint always ring hollow if they have an established track record of not matching their words with deeds?

Exposure to decades of evasions, half truths, hypocrisy and outright lies by politicians across the democratic world has undermined public confidence in the political process to the point where people like Donald Trump can become President of the United Sates.

It was Trump's obvious anger and contempt for the established political class, not to mention the shrill and frequently sanctimonious special interest groups that now infest what passes as the left these days, that resonated with voters.

After all, if all politicians are liars, why does it matter of Trump told obvious lies or made promises that he cannot hope to fulfill?

In such an environment, I expect that Sir Puka's calls will not merely fall upon deaf ears, but will probably incite a good deal of resentment as well, none of which bodes well for a happy relationship between the government and its public servants.

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