PNG is Pasifika by necessity: A response to Martyn Namorong
Govt must introduce ICAC law; failure to do so is 'devastating'

Education is the key. Does anyone know what happened to it?

Trump and O'Neill
"If American and Papua New Guinean voters were better educated they might not have inflicted Trump and O’Neill on their respective nations"


TUMBY BAY - As Chris Overland and others have observed, Donald Trump is undoubtedly the worst president the United States of America has ever elected.

Chris calls him a serial liar and fraud, but he is worse than that. He is an existential threat to democracy, not only in the USA but in the whole world.

If you heaped up all the terrible leaders that currently hold sway in the world today he would surely sit on top of the smelly pile.

With that in mind it is instructional to consider what constitutes his supporter base.

Apart from the usual rabid neo-liberals his base largely comprises two main groups, those with poor educational backgrounds and those aligned with fundamentalist Christian groups. Quite often those two things go hand in hand.

If you look a bit closer at the aforementioned smelly pile you will probably notice Peter O’Neill sticking out from under Trump’s substantial right buttock.

The inference here is that perhaps the same sort of gullible uneducated voters and/or fundamentalist Christians who voted Trump into power might have also voted O’Neill and his cronies into power.

This then suggests that if American and Papua New Guinean voters were better educated they might not have inflicted Trump and O’Neill on their respective nations and on the world at large.

So let’s play the blame game. Whose fault is it that Papua New Guinean voters are poorly educated and easily conned by spivs like O’Neill?

The first inclination would be to blame Australia and say that it is guilty of leaving Papua New Guinea without enough educated elites at independence in 1975.

That may have been the case but it is now a specious argument. It has been nearly 44 years since independence. There has been plenty of time to correct whatever problems existed in the system that Australia left behind.

What can now be clearly stated is that it has been successive Papua New Guinean governments that have let down the education system.

And in doing so they have not only created but have also perpetuated the election of politicians who are wholly unsuited to leadership.

Just consider, if there had been a well-informed, discerning and educated voter base Papua New Guinea would not now have all the problems it experiences in so many facets of its existence.

With good leaders Papua New Guinea could have put its considerable resource assets to work creating an enviable society in its region.

Schools would be well-resourced, hospitals would be centres of excellence with dedicated and competent staff and landowners and their environments would not have been stripped of all their assets for no return.

In short, if Papua New Guinea had grasped the educational nettle at independence and made it their number one priority most, if not all, of the problems it now experiences would probably never have happened.

It is now very late in the day but there is still time to correct this national tragedy. Given the right leaders the situation can be turned around.

The benefits may not flow to the present generation but they would start with the next generation and build on their strength in generations after that.

And, as an added bonus, they would help in no small way with the survival of democracy, In Papua New Guinea and in the world in general.


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Jordan Dean

Sometimes I think our country is united because of the poor education system. A population that is unaware, ignorant and internally focused is ripe for the picking. Feed the masses lamb flaps and you maintain power.

Sadly, the more conscious voting population is small. However, times are definitely changing. Information is now widely available.

Yes, a lot of misinformation too but at least it gets conversations started in the communities about the direction where we are heading.

Philip Fitzpatrick

O'Neill would be silly if he didn't play both sides of the fence plus a few more to boot, like gullible Australia, Andrew.

He also does it within PNG, playing off provinces and politicians.

This all might be okay if he was doing it to better PNG.

But he's not, is he?

The states where the majority of voters backed Trump seem to be exactly where all the poorly educated and fundamentalists live, Chips.

I've got an English aunt who has lived in Indiana since the 1950s and she voted for Trump and still supports him. I wouldn't call her dumb or a religious zealot but she left school very young.

Progressive states like California didn't vote for Trump and they are now the only hope the USA has got to survive and prosper.

A good way to see where Trump hasn't got support is to watch those that don't support his policies and are actively opposing them i.e. on climate change etc.

Paul Oates

Andrew, the nexus between what in PNG politics was stated as being planned to happen and what actually happens is easier to decipher if you understand the background of PNG culture.

In some countries, people actually try to hold political leaders accountable for what they claim they will do if elected but most voters seem to be content with hearing yet another ‘new’ plan to replace the old one that didn’t work, for some reason.

PNG’s cultural norms are often geared to saying what people want to hear rather than achievable and practical ideas and programs.

This tendency is based on the essential cultural aspect of not offending those being spoken to. Western hyperbole is much the same however most western educated individuals usually dismiss such statements as wishful thinking knowing full well its really only smoke and mirrors.

PNG politics has developed into an art form of saying what the listeners want to hear but in fact, continuing to do what the leaders always wanted to do. Enrich themselves and maybe enhance their egos at the same time.

The result is as Chris has previously said, so much ‘maus wara’. The ‘mandarins’ in places like Canberra and other countries listen to the BS, suck it up and are conveniently placated. The people in the PNG villages have heard it all before and dismiss it for what it is. They know their own culture and their own leaders.

The really sad fact is that those PNG people with an education and a will to improve their nation are currently caught up in a continual but losing battle by try and overturn those elite who have power and intend to hold on to it for as long as they can.

Such a situation is a recipe for more future disasters.

Chips Mackellar

With due respect, Phil, I think you might have underestimated the support Trump has in the United States.

He did not win the popular vote, but he came close enough with 59,791,135 votes to Clinton's 60,071,781. And he won the Electoral College votes of 290 to Clinton's 228.

Also, across the nation, of the 50 States, the majority of voters in the following States voted for Trump: From North to South they are Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa,Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

In general, all the Confederate States except Virginia, and all the South-East States, and all the Mid-West States except Colarado and New Mexico.

So you could say that apart from the poorly educated and the Christian fundamentalists you mentioned, Trump has quite a following in the United States.

The most recent US 'poll of polls' from 30 April shows Trump's approval rating is 41.1% and disapproval rating 53.3% - KJ

Andrew Brown

I'm sorry I'm confused. Last week both you blokes, Phil and Chris, were accusing the PM of being in with the Chinese belt road carpetbag. Now you're saying it's the US. Which is it fellows? Or is the PM playing both sides of the fence?

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