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« PNG in 2017: a year of redefining democracy? | Main | On the Kukukuku trail - the blooding of a young kiap »

30 January 2017


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If a private company had behaved in the way the O'Neill government has by inflating its turnover figures to deceive the market, the directors would be subject to arrest and prosecution.

There is a big difference between marginal manipulation of national income figures to minimise political disadvantage and simply presenting the most convenient number.

Not that the PNG government is alone in using "creative accounting" to put the best possible gloss on events.

Already, the Chinese government has discovered that much economic data forwarded to its central bank by regional CCP bosses has been fabricated to greatly inflate overall GDP figures.

Paul Flanagan refers to the "accepted international norm" being breached in PNG's case.

Unhappily for us all, a whole host of previously accepted international norms seem to no longer apply.

Thus, in the Philippines, we have a president who advocates extra judicial killings as a matter of public policy and who simply heaps contempt and derision upon those who criticise him.

Only a few months ago, the Chinese government simply rejected a ruling of the International Court of Justice that its occupancy of the Spratly Islands is unlawful.

It refused to recognise the court's jurisdiction and, as a consequence, several other authoritarian governments (notably in Africa) have joined it in also defying the court.

In the USA, President Trump simply ignores well established precedents about the proper use of the powers of his office, preferring to ride roughshod over accepted norms in pursuit of his political agenda.

So, PNG is hardly out of step with emergent international practice in manipulating official data or operating outside accepted conventions of democratic government.

None of this bodes well for the future. History shows that once a sufficient number of governments ignore established international legal and political conventions, war will follow.

That is now our collective trajectory and our political leaders seem unwilling or unable to do anything about it.

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