MELANESIA did not start in colonial times. Melanesia precedes colonialism by thousands of years.
The current state of dysfunction needs to be viewed as a cultural transition from one governance system to another.
No one governance structure is better. Each is suited to its environment.
At this time, the united nation of Melanesia has the burden of adapting the colonial governance system and its traditional system to something new.
This takes time. For Papua New Guinea, just 40 years into statehood, it is too early to be passing judgement.
I can assure you, a new breed of leadership is being born.
This group has no memory of colonialism, even the thousand tribes culture is becoming homogenised and this new breed is being born as citizens of the world and will demand to be treated as such.
In his book The Embarrassed Colonialist, Sean Dorney tells how he was cautioned by a representative from the Australian High Commission in PNG that he (Dorney) was starting to think like a Papua New Guinean. Now, why would anyone say such a thing?
Dorney is a great man doing what he loves doing, what did he say that warranted that comment? What kind of thoughts do Melanesian people think that is different from Australians?
Was Dorney talking corruption? Big men? Wantok system? Anyway, how are the wantok system and big men different from the mafias, nepotism and cronyism that happens all over the world - even in Australia.
To understand Melanesians requires perspective and it seems Australians dread the process and even caution their people to not get into that headspace.
I ask simply, how can you help me if you have not walked in my shoes and think the thoughts I think?
If we are to mutually benefit, to make herself useful to the Melanesians, Australia will have to try hard to understand Melanesia and start treating Melanesia, and especially Papua New Guinea, with honesty and openness without that patronising colonial attitude.