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Maladina petition cannot be dismissed lightly


WHILE THE prime minister and his supporters sulked in private, PNG’s opposition leader and four Morobe politicians accepted the 20,000 signature petition requesting the withdrawal of the Maladina Amendment.

According to Opposition Leader Mekere Morauta, Parliamentary standing orders prevented the tabling of this petition as the matter is currently before parliament and has been deferred for further consultation.

However, surely the issue of whether the petition is tabled or not is irrelevant. The fact is that the petition exists and is a very public expression of the will of many Papua New Guineans on the matter.

The large public demonstration and the petition are substantial facts the PNG government and parliament cannot overlook.

For anyone to ignore this significant milestone in PNG democracy and political history would be unwise.

A line has been drawn in the sand and the people who drew it are now watching.


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Barbara Short

Hopefully the Opposition leader may suggest setting up a PNG Independent Commission Against Corruption, with greater powers than the Ombudsman, to try those accused of corruption.

In Sydney this week we have seen the NSW ICAC find a State Labor MP guilty of lying and corrupt practices in the handling of money. She will be dealt with in a lawful way.

The PNG people have had enough of corruption. They know there must be a lawful way for it to be overcome.They feel powerless to do something. So many people are using bribery to get away with corruption. They have faith in the Ombudsman, but he may not be enough.

As one Papua New Guinean engineer who is working in Australia said to me the other day - "It is so easy to be absorbed into the Australian way of life and forget that just north in their home country, a rich and blessed country is fast eroding, going down the same path that many African nations took.

"Our plight is mostly caused by a greedy few, the bulk of the population being illiterate.

"They may lack education but they know right from wrong and they know that wrong things are happening."

The ACT NOW! Team

It has been an important week in the campaign to reign in rampant corruption and ensure our MPs put the people ahead of their own selfish interests and those of foreign companies.

On Tuesday many thousands of people took to the streets in Port Moresby and Lae in peaceful demonstrationsagainst government plans to weaken the powers of the Ombudsman Commission.

The public campaign against the changes has had an immediate impact with the opposition now declaring it will no longer support the amendments and the government postponing consideration of the bill in this sitting of parliament.

Solidarity within government has also started to fracture with Attorney General Dr Allan Marat forced to quit after voicing the peoples concerns about the bill and the impacts of the LNG projects and the new Ramu and Solwara mines.

Congratulations to everyone who has been involved in the campaign so far, but we all know much bigger challenges lie ahead and we must all encourage others to get involved.

Although things can seem very bleak at times, there are plenty of reasons to believe we can make a difference and contribute to making our beautiful country a safe and prosperous one for our children.

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