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« Marlene Potoura & the state of society & writing in PNG | Main | Bougainville consultation never really got off the ground »

06 December 2018

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Like Philip Fitzpatrick I too have enjoyed reading articles by Patrick Kaiku and I too look forward to reading that 'broader article' that should inform on the current priorities in decision making at the executive level.

Exactly!

I really enjoy your articles Patrick. It's reassuring to know that there are intelligent thinkers in PNG but a pity they don't get a stronger voice.

You've identified several questionable strands that occur not just in foreign policy but in domestic PNG politics in general.

Your general observation that ..."PNG's interest is not necessarily a product of a serious refining of priorities. Rather, more than any structured decision-making, official foreign relations are determined by personalities, circumstances or perceived material benefits" rings true for domestic policies as well. How else can you explain APEC for instance.

Your observation that, "In general, Australian engagement with PNG has an unsavoury history of bypassing pre-emptive domestic scrutiny" also rings true. This is particularly so with respect to Australian aid to PNG.

That this lack of consultation with the people of PNG on both domestic and foreign policy "... is an efficient way of keeping Papua New Guineans passive and reliant on the all-knowing executive arm of government" is a salient point too.

Your explanation of why this happens is that there is an absence of a strong media reporting in PNG. You say that in other democracies "the mass media is an agenda-setting stakeholder on foreign policy priorities. Non-government organisations, advocacy and lobby groups, political parties, research think-tanks and a multiplicity of interest groups and individuals make the process of foreign policy-making a rigorous and sometimes protracted affair".

This is also true about domestic policies.

These are all points repeatedly made on this blog and it is interesting to see them brought together in one article, albeit on only one facet of government policy.

A broader article encompassing the domestic scene as well would be great to read.

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