Let us not repeat the mistakes we made on Bougainville
First humans to reach Australia island-hopped to PNG then walked

The making and unmaking of Papua New Guinea

Australian attitude (Cathy Wilcox  SMH  VDP)PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Here’s an inescapable truth. Papua New Guinea is Australia’s baby. We conceived it, modelled it and then launched it into the world with ‘Made in Australia’ firmly stamped on its bum.

Our creation was done in the tried and true Australian way known as ‘bush carpentry’. Our lackadaisical administrators pulled together over 800 disparate tribes using fencing wire and odd bits of wood and some rusty tin and called it a dinky-di nation.

We then tossed it the keys and said ‘go for it’.

We weren’t especially interested in who picked up those keys. We just turned our backs and went home. We didn’t even look over our shoulder to see how our cobbled together creation was faring.

There it was bobbing around in the Coral Sea wondering what had happened to it.

The trouble was that, while we weren’t watching, a lot of other people were. There was a sitting duck waiting to be plucked.

And pluck it they did.

It was like a beacon for every carpetbagger, ne’er-do-well, get-rich-quick jockey and unsavoury character in the neighbourhood, including a lot of Aussies.

'Australian borders' Chris JohnstonIn their inimitable way, they subverted the government to their way of thinking. Greed and the rabid exploitation of resources were the orders of the day.

Any hint of empathy, human rights and morality were quickly shown the door.

Our only reaction has been to use it as a sort of salve for our collective human conscience by chucking it a big bucket of money every year with no real regard for what it is spent on.

Oh, and we’ve also used it as a dumping ground for some of our own problems - like asylum seekers - with the effrontery to think PNG might actually welcome them to its shores.

And what did we do when some timid little soul had the gall to ask us what we are going to do about it?

Why, we pulled out the old sovereignty card.

‘Oh no, we can’t do anything, they are a sovereign nation, we can’t interfere, that would be most undiplomatic.’

But it’s a mess. There’s a horrible little man in charge who is orchestrating wholesale economic and social rape while pocketing the proceeds.

None of our business. Next question?

But Australia helped create the place. Don’t we feel some sort of moral obligation to help? What about the poor people that the little man and his loathsome mates are ripping off?

What about those poor people in the bush with no hospitals and medicines and disintegrating schools? What about those poor kids dying of diseases from the dark ages? What about those teachers who haven’t been paid in months? What about those flash Italian cars? What about.… yes there’s more….

Next question.

Hey_Australia_have_you_big_penis_What about the Chinese?

The what?

The Chinese, they’re buying up the place and talking about building military bases around there somewhere.

Good grief! Nobody told us about that.

Weren’t you watching?

Don’t be cheeky.

So what are you going to do?

Sorry, can’t talk, got to go. Now where the hell is that foreign minister? We need to phone Donald to check something out….


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