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21 July 2016


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I think you'll find that Julius Chan has been agitating about the sorry state in PNG for quite some time now Paul. His recent book, Playing the Game, certainly sets out what he thinks is wrong with PNG politics and offers some solutions. I think he is and was an honest politician.

On the other hand I'm not so sure about Sir Michael Somare. he is a master strategist and pragmatist. Ironically, he may have taught O'Neill some of the tricks he is now using.

Either way I can't see things getting much better for a long time even if the opposition gets the numbers. There is not a statesman among them.

Do government MP's understand just how close the nation is to having Parliamentary rule collapse? Do they really know how important their vote tomorrow will be?

Have they been 'allowed' to read the news and listen to the TV and radio or have they been 'revved' up by the PM and ministers who merely want to keep the power in their hands.

If the 'No' vote is not carried tomorrow it will surely be the last nail in the coffin. The last stitch in the torn laplap before it totally rips apart. The last cut of the axe before the tree falls. The last rope to snap and bring down the sail.

Will enough MP's sell their nation down the tube for a mere 3 million Kina or bring their nation back from the abyss? Clearly the PM and his ministers believe they know how to buy the votes they need.

Repeating a Limerick in Tokpisin:

Pastaim igat wanpla lida,
Itok 'Nau mi lukim ples klia,
Bai mi baim ol lain,
Na stap longpla taim',
Tasol husat igiamon yumi a?

Sir Julius entitled his Memoir "Playing the Game". Both he and I loved Rugby Union before we started playing the PNG Parliamentary Game together in 1968.

Perhaps the two of us were some of the few among our elected colleagues, who really knew that, no matter how hard the game had to be played in order to win it, it had to be Played According to the Rules.

More than that it, it is not sufficient merely for "our" side to play by the rules, it is even more important that "our" side insists that "their" side also play by the same rules.

This unfortunately this seems to have been too hard to do in PNG Parliaments during most of the past three decades.

If it is not done in our Parliament this Friday, and every day thereafter, holding elections next year will be a pointless exercise, and PNG will continue to be ruled by the oligarchs, until the historically inevitable revolt of the people.

Let us sincerely hope that Sir Julius is not the only true sportsman in our present Parliament!

The essence of this collection of motherhood statements and platitudes appears to be having a bet each way on the outcome of tomorrow's vote, that is if it takes place at all?

Since nothing has really changed except perhaps that the situation has now become dire, why has it taken so long for Sir Julius to apparently declare he is for good government?

If, as he postulates, the Opposition win, then he takes the view that there should be a government of national unity. Exactly what does that mean in a Westminster system? If the intention is to have everyone on the government's side then who will lead this huge array of disparate elements and in what direction, given that presumably the same MP's who have supported O'Neill will now be reinstated in the government benches without any opposition.

The classic Melanesian proposal is not to have anyone feel denigrated and to be fully inclusive in any decision. In the village, that might be possible given that a strong 'bikman' might lead everyone in the same direction.

In regard to a multi cultural tapestry that is PNG, it could be a recipe for chaos and disaster.

The Chief Secretary has already formed a united and uniformed national policing force that whoever might decide to take over could very easily use as a weapon against their own people.

Gary Juffa has already confirmed the foreign influencers at play in PNG and one only has to look at how that has played out elsewhere.

Can the traditional Melanesian longing for consensus lead PNG astray again? Recent past history would suggest the answer is 'Yes!'

Peter O'Neill has been trying to form a government of national unity for a long time since he first proposed it while he was Opposition Leader under Somare some years ago. It didn't work then and it hasn't worked recently.

Why would this concept therefore work in the future? A National government made up of many different tribes and cultures, each with a totally parochial viewpoint.

Is there a potential national leader in today's PNG Parliament who could make it work?

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