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17 August 2017

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Quite so Keith.

Your comment reminds me of the various strained negotiations we had with the Australian High Commission about hosting the awards ceremony and workshops and supporting the printing of the anthologies after Ian Kemish left.

They were most put out that we wouldn't roll over and play ball.

The previous Four Corners program on corruption in PNG - Preying on Paradise - can still be seen online. At least one result from that was the prosecution of Eremas Wartoto and the fact that he finally admitted his guilt and was imprisoned.

The letter concerning the Paraka corrupt payments has still not been dealt with. It will continue to hang over O'Neill's head like some great shadow of doom. I'm hoping it will one day prick his conscience and he will be man enough to let the courts deal with it.

Transparency International is still doing a great job. The social media are still working overtime to remind people of all the shady deals of the past. But there is only so much you can say without incriminating yourself when it comes to PNG.

I'm hoping the Court of Disputed Returns may end up exposing some of the things that went wrong with the election.

I really appreciate the way the Sepiks have welcomed me back as a fellow Sepik. Of course many of the people I interact with on Social Media were my students either at Brandi 1971-74 or at Keravat National High School 1975-1981.

I have been impressed with the way the elections were run in the East Sepik Province and feel there were no major worries there. The main problem was probably the fact that so many names were missing from the electoral roll.

Dulciana Somare conducted an excellent campaign and it was good to see her come fourth in the end. We are all hoping that our new Governor, Allan Bird, will be able to be a force for good in the parliament even though he is sitting on the Opposition benches. At least PNG now has a great Opposition.

It's a curious thing that groups that receive government funding tend to soften their comments about those governments.

We were always conflicted about the lack of support from either the PNG or Australian governments for the Crocodile Prize.

On the one hand we were angry that those governments seemed to have no interest in supporting PNG literature but on the other we were wary that such funding would influence the way we operated, especially the content we published.

I don't think government funding officially comes with strings attached but I'm sure everyone understands that such funding comes with an expectation of soft treatment.

In many cases I'm sure the recipient organisations make up their own minds to go soft of the government so as to maintain the funding source.

Accepting government funding is, therefore, akin to a deal with the devil.

I'm sure the same thing happens in private enterprise, particularly when they donate funds to political parties. They don't explicitly say it but they expect something for their money.

The government, when it funds an organisation, also expects something for its money.

Therefore, it is quite reasonable to be suspicious of any organisation that receives government funding.

The ABC (and 4 Corners) is a bit different because it has its independence guaranteed by law. It can therefore be much more thorough in its investigations and does not have to worry about being partisan.
_________

You would be surprised at how much government funding comes with strings attached, often protected by confidentiality clauses in the contract. It takes resolute and skilled negotiating to have those strings loosened to a point where ethics are not compromised. Unfortunately this is rarely the case - KJ

Well said, Keith - as always.

As a former Assistant Secretary (Finance & Budgets) in the Department of Works and Supply in Port Moresby, I have added my cent's worth request to the ABC's 4 Corners program for an investigation in a positive manner.

Unlike the fairly recent livestock fiasco between Australia and Indonesia, now subject to extensive litigation in the Supreme Court.

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