A modest proposal to solve all our problems….
Musings on refugees & PNG’s readiness-reality gap

Reverse this pernicious, disrespectful asylum deal

Francis H&SFRANCIS SINA NII

KEVIN RUDD’S POLITICALLY-MOTIVATED agenda of dumping the asylum seeking boat people on PNG’s soil should be reversed.

The deal between Rudd and his PNG counterpart Peter O’Neill was done in a dubious manner and driven by the might of the Aussie dollar.

PNG PM Peter O’Neill was suborned by Rudd into blindly shouldering Rudd’s politically motivated ludicrousness under the influence of the Aussie taxpayers’ money without proper assessment of the long term implications on PNG. 

 

Whether this is a temporal political ploy or otherwise, as far as the learned communities of the two countries are concerned, the deal is not properly and transparently done.

Even after so much public outcry, the deal still remains a secret. This is unbecoming of democracy and should be condemned in the strongest term for the deal to be reversed.

 In the global community in which we live, every nation depends on each another for commerce, trade, security and other bilateral and multilateral matters. There is no exception for PNG and Australia.

The PNG-Australia relationship is unique and it goes beyond the boundaries of any normal bilateral relationship of any two nations.

It has been more of a brotherly relationship that has had extended as far back as World War II when Papua New Guineans became wartime carriers for the Australian soldiers and even took up arms to fight alongside the Australians against the Japanese.

The relationship was further strengthened under the flagship of colonial administration when thousands of young Australians toiled under horrendous conditions to bring civilisation to the uncivilised and cannibalistic PNG – an effort that led to the subsequent granting of independence on 16 September 1975 without bloodshed.

Until now Australia has continued to enhance the relationship by way of aid. Until the 1980s, Australia pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into impoverished PNG coffers as direct budgetary support with no strings attached. PNG used the money as it pleased.

Later Canberra changed the aid policy to tied aid-projects under which PNG enjoys an annual subvention of around half a billion dollars.

In view of these facts, I have always believed in my heart that Australia is PNG’s best friend and will always remain our best friend. I am sure many Papua New Guineans and Australians agree with me on this.

However, there are times that I get angry with Australia for certain Canberra-sponsored policies that are deemed detrimental yet are imposed on PNG.

One prime example was Outcome-Based Education and now we have the asylum seeking boat people deal between our two prime ministers, Kevin Rudd and Peter O’Neill.

Australia has long been an asylum seekers’ preferred country of destination. They have always headed for the shores of Australia; never PNG.  Kevin Rudd and Peter O’Neill know that.

Now Rudd has shoved his politically-motivated egoistic agenda down the throat of O’Neill under the might of the Aussie dollar without regard for the views of the ordinary Papua New Guineans who will day by day bear the implications of the deal.

This to me is Australia as bully; emasculating the sovereignty of PNG and denying the intelligence of its people.

PNG politicians will always fall into the trap of ‘free money’ but Australia has a moral obligation to not set the pernicious bait in the first place.

This trend of Aussie dollar doing the talking without respect for the sovereignty of PNG as an independent nation will breed contempt and sour the relationship.

This pernicious approach by Australian politicians must be condemned in the strongest terms.

Mutual understanding and respect for each other’s sovereignty and adherence to the wishes of the citizens of our respective countries must take precedence over money and other duress.  

Then we will continue to enjoy a harmonious relationship between our two great nations.

Comments

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William Dunlop

KJ, Lusim tinktink long raitim tok pidgin, lapun now.
__________

Ah, maski, yu save nap tasol - KJ

Paul Yabob

Francis, You echo our sentiments entirely. However, as PNGians we are not alone in our dismay. Many Australians are in complete dismay on this policy as you can see on this site and other Australian sites.

Kevin Rudd promised much but did not deliver in his last term. He was all symbolism and little substance. Even his apology to the Aboriginal people was a carefully crafted apology to the past misdeeds of his forefathers in respect of the "stolen generation".

There was no mention of an apology or acknowledgement of the stolen land, stolen resources, stolen lives of people being massacred and transported all over the continent away from their land languages and people and parked in reserves, so the land could easily be taken.

What Rudd is about is to please the crowd with tokenism and symbolism, but as an Australian prime minister, he has never been about solving or addressing the underlying problems or issues. He gloats, glosses and moves on.

Now this issue of refugees and treatment of refugees appears to tug at the very heart of a practising Catholic politician.

You would think! Rudd in a serious essay few years ago, when discussing social democracy admitted his hero is non other than that Lutheran pastor and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Bonhoeffer was one German who singlehandedly instrumental in smuggling many persecuted Jewish refugees past German lines to safety. His work as a humanitarian is well known. His work as a pastor and as a person who stood up for what he believed was right even if it meant certain death marks him out as a man to admire and emulate.

But if Rudd who comes from a rich Catholic heritage of social justice and liberation theology, enriched by great theologian and pastor like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, cannot get his shit together when Australia really needs a bright light to shine through its great darkness of lies and deception on Immigration policy, when will Australia be free?

Right now, what Australia needs is great Leadership to turn its phobia about boat people on its head. Peter Kranz correctly pointed out that there is no such thing as cue jumpers, as there is no cue.

We already know to leave your own country and seek a safer place to live due to persecution or perceived persecution is not a crime under International law.

From history we know that everybody, other than Aborigines, who has settled in Australia, including Rudd, is a guest on Aborigine soil. So what is Australia's fuss all about?

Australia has everything, it seems. But what it seriously lacks is great leadership. Leadership that recognizes people, despite of background colour or creed, as fellow humanity.

Leadership that directly dictates to the real power of the bureaucrats in Canberra as to where Australia should be in terms of regional policies with its Pacific neighbours as well as what Australia should do to right the wrongs of the past with its Aboriginal population.

Under Howard and Rudd a deliberate policy was hatched by Canberra's bureaucrats to bring in African refugees to take the sting out of the race based critique of the Indigenous, and to dilute, breed out and polarize the black racial issues so that no longer will race based social justice issues would take any place of importance on the Australian agenda.

Such measures only gloss over and covers up the real issues for political leaders like Rudd.

Today, we are witnessing another covering up and glossing over exercise by Rudd on the boat people issue. All politicians in Australia must get away from making a virtue out of preventing the next boatload of people arriving in Australia.

There is no virtue in that. All it exposes is how weak Australian political leadership is, and how evil the minds of such that conjure up Christmas Island prison camps and Manus Island sub-standard prison camps, and torture chambers (as that is what they are) for people whose only crime was to seek a better life in Australia.

Australian leaders must come up with a positive Immigration policy. They cant keep using chequebook diplomacy to pass the buck and pass their problems.

PNG leaders must not be weak, as Peter Oneil, to accede to arrangements that are clearly unlawful and inhumane.

The bilateral Agreement and terms of this latest Rudd symbolism, dreamt up by Rudd and Canberra, must be laid bare for all to Judge.

It will be a judgement on Kevin Rudd in as much as it is of Peter Oneil, and their leadership. For they cannot lead two nations in the Pacific by devices of deception and trickery of their people.

The PNG Cabinet and its Parliament must debate this issue properly. Peter Oneil has no power to bind Cabinet or Parliament on matters that only Parliament can accede to. So too Kevin Rudd for matters only Australian Parliament can debate and deliberate on.

They must rise up and be leaders of the world worthy of the peoples of the world, or they will go down in history as two common tricksters (con-men).
__________

Alhtough raised a Roman Catholic, Kevin Rudd is of the Anglican religion. And it is generally accepted that his apology to Aboriginal Australians was timely and undertaken in good faith - KJ

William Dunlop

Francis, Rudd all the same mouth water tasall.
_________

Or, in Tok Pisin, mauswara tasol - KJ

Paul Oates

Wanbel lo displa tingting poroman.

Mrs Barbara Short

Yes, Francis, I agree. This "deal" made by Rudd with O'Neill is disrespectful of PNG.

I apologise for it! I have one of my Sepik daughters staying with me at the moment and it has been very upsetting for her.

It has been done in the "heat of the moment" before an election. Rudd has only been Prime Minister for a few days.

He is trying to undo damage he caused during his previous time as prime minister. He started off with great promise but his weaknesses were exposed.

They are still exposed!

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