This looks like a big week in PNG politics
ASOPA’s flame flickers weakly, but never dies

Secret report: Is Australia about to act on PNG?


THE LATEST PNG Attitude e-magazine, distributed to subscribers yesterday, highlighted the significance of Kevin Rudd’s delay in appointing new Parliamentary Secretaries for Pacific Island Affairs and Development Assistance.

The view was offered that these tasks may revert to be part of the main Foreign Affairs portfolio.

PNG Attitude has since gained a further insight into this important issue for PNG.

We have been tipped off that that Kevin Rudd’s second favourite academic, Ross Garnaut, and former PNG prime minister, Rabbie Namaliu, a man of great integrity, have been commissioned to prepare a report on the relationship between Australia and PNG.

While this secret report is prepared, considered and given some petrol to run on, the Pacific Island Affairs position has been allowed to lapse.

We have no details of the terms of reference of the Garnaut-Namaliu study, other than that its intention is to set future policy.

But this unusual development must be sending a clear signal to PNG that warm words and fine sentiments are no longer good enough for Australia.

The relationship - fractured while the Howard government was in office - was quickly repaired by Rudd and Duncan Kerr when Labor won government in 2007.

But, since then, in terms of expectations of effective and ethical national governance, aid deployment and other issues, PNG has been playing Australia off a break.

It was only a matter of time before the Australian government, tiring of the antics of its northern neighbour, responded to this.

PNG’s serious governance problems and last year’s bolshie behaviour over Fiji by the Melanesian states sent ominous signals to Australia and New Zealand.

With profound political change looming in PNG, it seems Mr Rudd is doing some deep thinking. If he is, it’s not a moment too soon.


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Paul Oates

Very interesting development. Now if one was a cynic one could have a guess at what might come out of the getogether between those two authorities.

Could it be 'a change in the climate of PNG relations'?

What a pity there hasn't been any opportunity for PNG Attitude readers to have some input into the decision making process.

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