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11 September 2010

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I agree with what has been said [about Australia and PNG] but while Australia has dropped the ball at a political level we must not forget there are many Australians who in official capacities continue to serve our Pacific neighbours with good faith. These officials are not always in government organisations but often with NGO's.

With a sister working with the Red Cross and a cousin filling an official role in Micronesia and elsewhere in the region previously, I am aware that we do have many good people around the Pacific and elsewhere.

Whether these people are getting the required support from Australia's government is hard to quantify, but either way we Australians who believe in being good neighbours will do what we can.

Sadly many have taken our good and loyal friends for granted for much too long, and I daresay this point can be applied in different degrees to many people around the South West Pacific region.

We all know that only one Pacific neighbour takes a stand for the Melanesian peoples of West Papua.

Possibly the current paralysis at a government level in some countries is due to lack of genuine leaders who have the courage to stand up and grasp the nettle for the good of their people.

Well said, Keith. Australia has for the past decade failed to engage with our near neighbours in any kind of meaningful way, leaving a dangerous vacuum that China is only too happy to fill.

I was only reading yesterday the article on this blog about the failures of AusAID in PNG.

One can only hope that a lawyer so intimately familiar with the negatives of our Australia-PNG relationship can, and will, want to turn the page on a disastrous chapter of foreign relations to make a far more positive and lasting contribution to the welfare of all our neighbours, for all our sakes.

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