Impediments to the effective use of our aid
Hope as 2M school textbooks come on stream

A Sims' eye view of the Attitude's denizens


REGINALD RENAGI suggests that scrapping the PNG Defence and Police would not be effective cost cutting because economically strong countries rely upon the Military to protect national interests.

Equally eye-catching in PNG Attitude 148 (the newsletter) is Reg’s six-point plan for improved government, which includes essentials such as having an independent Speaker and a non-politicised parliament. [Apolitical politicians, now that is a new approach to governance!]

John Fowke wishes to change AusAID from funding wasteful “capacity-building and produce-marketing programs provided by contracted service providers” and recommends the deployment of NGO’s and the Military “to ensure health, medical and emergency services are delivered”.

It seems the military may be needed because Medicins Sans Frontieres, who manage the Angau Memorial Hospital, are being harassed by drunks and criminals who remain unapprehended by the Police.

I love John’s preferred refinement of service providers: no “spoilt graduate pups from Oz suburbia, kiddiecrats” and (God forbid) no “mid-life-crisis-sufferers sent by the aid mafia.” [Right on!]

Paul Oates’ calls for Police action on a K15M fraud case, while Timothy King writes on claims by the UN that PNG Police grossly abuse suspects’ human rights and freedoms, probably because the law frequently allows violent criminals to walk out of jail and re-offend.

Sam Basil iterates an headline that there are “Laws for rich and poor” in as much as Ombudsman, Police, Public Prosecutor and Magisterial Service are seen to be politicised. [Heaven forbid, we do not want that lot in parliament!]

And my dear Joe Wasia feels that any change in PNG society must come from within, na bung-wuntaim olsem the Waimin tribe from Wapenamanda. [Possibly because of the good fortune brought about by reading the Good Book.]

Donald Hook highlights the appointment of three senior lawyers to advise the PNG Solicitor General, which is analysed negatively by Agatha Ayii and Paul Oates, who both feel certain that qualified “experts” are available within PNG.

Paul sharpens both sides of his quill by thoughtfully providing six points for inclusion in the contracts for the three lawyers. There are other writers who claim that locally produced experts often become “expatriate” and seek bigger money offshore. [It is also possible that some local law “experts” remain in country and dip their snouts into multi-million kina rip-offs, seemingly with political immunity.]

Our Keith Jackson is upset that 50 percent of AusAID money is wasted on consultants: with nearly 360 technical assistants delivering very little of substance.

The Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, says his country is committed to providing “value for money” advisers, but the PNG Foreign Minister Sam Abal feels that the size of the contract payments is a problem. [We are back to local “experts” again.]

The Lowy Institute reports on an Australian national poll concerning aid delivery, but Oates and Jackson agree that giving more aid to badly governed agencies, is not likely to achieve desired results.

There is no doubt PNG has Attitude! What a blog!

This is Henry’s first contribution to PNG Attitude, and we wish him many more. “Thanks for the privilege of allowing me to join in on your blog,” he writes. “I have submitted a tongue-in-cheek item for you to consider for posting. I sign my name to it and look forward to the flack. Please know that I just love what you are doing. Keep up the good work and advise me of any ‘Rules of Engagement’.

The only rules of engagement is that we fight fair and clean, as you do Henry - KJ


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Phil Fitzpatrick

Hi Henry. I don't think there's any wanky interest in people's creds on KJ's blog - he lets John Fowke on for goodness sake! Just me being idly curious. The exkiaps are easy to pick but it took me weeks to work out that Reg used to run the navy up there for instance. An abiding interest in PNG's welfare is all that's needed I think - or even just an interest in PNG. Hope to hear a lot more from you.

Henry Sims

Yo, Paul! The Report was good reading. So it appears the the size of funding (large according to Colin) is insufficient to show any visible results. This dilution will not allow mighty results to be evident.

Notwithstanding that >50% goes on ineffective technical assistance contracts, I am happy that good governance is in place and that if the reported recommendations are implemented, then things should look better. (Go Education!)
I for one am now satisfied with AusAID.

Paul Oates

Hi Colin - A review of the Review is with Keith now. It took most of yesterday to prepare so Keith needs time to edit my draft.

Henry, I'm sure your input is welcome at any time. You'll probably want to comment once you see the Review.

Colin Huggins


I hope I don't have to stand for too long?


Paul Oates

In regard to the Oz Aid review - stand by and watch this space!

Henry Sims

So, it seems we need to get in touch with Eric Kwa at UPNG and/or a senior at AusAID. Do we have any tips on doing this? Who is our senior person, or can any idiot do it? If so I am in.

Phil, I have had a rethink about your interest in my creds and wonder if I am causing concern not having been a "member of the ASOPA Class of'64" or whatever.

On my initial entry, I did ask Keith for the "Rules of Engagement" and received permission to join in.

Colin - I do not belong to any mutual admiration society, but thank you for filling me in on the size of the AusAID number (457M) QUESTION: is this all wasted?


Here's the Paraka threat letter -

Dear Sir,


I would like to request for immediate blocking of the following unsolicited internet Blog Sites that the general public are currently accessing and disseminating false and unfounded rumours about our Law Firm.

This request is a directive given in the form of a Court Order ordered and entered on 6th March 2010 that prohibits any Media Organisation (Daily Newspapers) including the Internet Service Providers (ISP's) from producing or spreading unfounded rumours about our Law Firm.


Furthermore any other blogs and junk emails transmitted with the following names should be blocked immediately as directed by the attached Court Order.

1. Paul Paraka
2. Paul Paraka Lawyers
3. Gabriel Yer
4. Isaac Lupari
5. Zachery Gelu

I am confident that you have internet security systems such as Firewalls, Web Content and Email Filters to block such unreliable internet sites and spam emails.

Your immediate action in ensuring that no further false rumours are circulated through your Internet gateway will be highly appreciated.

We attach a sealed copy of this National Court Order dated 6th March 2010 for your information and action.

Thank you,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Paraka Lawyers,

General Manager

Colin Huggins

Well gentlemen, we appear to belong to a mutual admiration society. Good to learn that Henry is a mate of Murray Bladwell, who every year organises a get together of chalkies at the Jindalee Hotel in Brisbane.

Now all I want to know is, what has happened in the last 12 months to the $457 million from the Australian taxpayers' pockets?

A rather simple question to be answered unless some people have much to hide. As Paul has said, "Would someone from AusAID – and many of its staff read PNG Attitude - care to respond?"

The silence is deafening - from AusAID, PNG spokespeople and Australian bureaucrats.

Oh yes that song, "We belong to a mutual admiration society", was the marching out song of my senior year at Joeys, Sydney.

Lets hope it may stir people who know where the $457 million went.


Yes, congratulations are due for a great web site.

Paraka lawyers have being trying to force PNG ISP's to block access to sites that have published details of the Commission of Inquiry report into Finance, even though it was tabled in Parliament.

But so far I understand without success. Knowing some of the PNG ISP guys, I doubt if they would bow to such pressure.

Has this site been threatened with the Paraka letter to "cease and desist" publishing information from the inquiry?

Seems to me that the more attention they bring to the issues of corruption implicating them, the more widely they will be published (the Streisand effect).

The report must have been leaked by a conscientious insider - so more power to that person. But beware of recent precedents concerning Wikileaks and the video evidence of US bombing of civilians (a soldier has been arrested for the leak), and the UK Guardian's reports of the Trafigura scandal, where notorious lawyers Carter Ruck attempted to censor reporting of Parliamentary debates.

Hopefully the internet can truly be a power for democracy and accountability.

PNG Attitude has received no legal requets from Mr Paraka's firm. Possible because we are Australia and not PNG-based.

That said, the internet is so pervasive that, in any event, Mr Paraka would be hard pressed to to keep the information from public view - KJ

Paul Oates

Fair enough, Henry. The advice I was given is that the 'AusAID review was conducted by UPNG Eric Kwa and some ANU people'. Don't know what the terms of reference were or where the report is?

Can some kind soul from the myriad of AusAID readers who avidly peruse this blog every day please enlighten us?

Henry Sims

In reply to Paul Oates' comment that I have got him started again. Why stop?

The issue is that AusAID is seemingly being wasted and that a transparent audit should be done by independent auditors on both sides of Torres Strait. So. An audit is being considered by "someone", but the silence is deafening.

Who is the "someone" and how do we contact them?
Another fact to prove surely is that the megamillions are being mis-spent. Do we have contacts who can view the expenditure records. Surely there has to be some auditing being done?

Henry Sims

Phil Fitzpatrick is curious about my PNG connection.
Nothing spectacular, Phil. I was a contracted Technical Officer (design drafting) with Elcom for the six years leading to Independence.

Did service as an inaugural member of Boroko Apex with Murray Bladwell et al and trained as an Assault Pioneer with PNGVR alongside Dennis Samin and others.

I learned to drink a lot, ran with the HHH, walked the Kokoda Track, built a 21-foot yacht (which I hope is still afloat on Moresby Harbour) and otherwise spent my early adulthood as one of the last of the Territorians, assisting the nation to (an early?) Independence.

This started a love/hate relationship with PNG in that I still have fond memories of my wantoks there, but would hate to live there now

Phil Fitzpatrick

Also a welcome to Henry. Curious about his PNG connection.

Harking back to my bit on progress with our anti-corruption campaign where I pinpointed lawyers as a major problem and given that I'm halfway through Evan Whitton's book on the same subject I did a bit of research on AusAID - sure enough, they've got a legal arm which, I presume, provides much of the spin.

Lawyers are basically people you hire to lie for you in a creditable way. May explain a few things?

Paul Oates

G'day Henry. May I join with Reg, Colin and others and welcome you to the blog,

Your point about examining how the Australian aid money is being spent is well made. Clearly many bloggers have the same misgivings. The problem seems to stem from an entrenched status quo on both sides of the Torres Strait where those involved can't seem to see the need to change anything... really. Everything is working very well, thank you.

For some reason, any examination of the AusAID program by, er, AusAID itself seems to come up with the logical conclusion that everything is going swimmingly and all objectives were met and sometimes even exceeded.

From a personal point of view, this view sticks in my craw for two reasons. Firstly, there are many of those who read and contribute to this blog who managed to achieve results in rural PNG prior to 1975 with almost nothing in the way of resources and only the good will of the local people.

The second unassailable fact is that despite the millions (or is it billions) of aid money being given to modern day PNG, the country keeps sliding into ever worse circumstances.

We have a new High Commissioner and a new head of AusAID. There is certainly now an excellent opportunity for a full and frank look at our whole aid program for PNG.

But to have any credibility however, the review must be carried out by independent (non government), auditors in a transparent manner and without any chance of there being future financial involvement with the aid program.

It must also have input from all sides of the debate and prepare a publically released draft report for discussion within say, three months. I understood a review is beng considered but the silence about it is deafening.

In the unlikely event that a review of this nature was to be opened up to interested parties, I suspect there would be any number of PNG Attitude readers who would be only too happy to assist, if necessary on a volunteer basis and at no cost to either country.

They might also have some knowledge about the PNG, her people, her languages and culture and the problems being faced at the 'kunai roots'. They might also be easily able to demonstrate an ongoing concern for the benefit of the PNG people.

Good heavens, Henry, look what you've done? You've got me started again.

Henry Sims

Thanks for the welcome, Renagi. I do hope to be able to challenge, in good taste, some of the views that I disagree with, even though I have not grasped all the implications of this blogging forum.

Possibly, in sharing a good idea for debate, may I recommend breaking the subject down into its smaller parts and resolving each component in order of importance. Just like the Chinese did when they built the Great Wall; brick by brick on a strong foundation.

There is a lot of discussion on AusAID, its size, sufficiency, abuse, ineffectuality, theft thereof and more.

May I open by suggesting that Australia needs to have friendly neighbours and that probably AusAID will continue to deliver to PNG in the future to ensure this.

It is not because the Oz taxpayer is infatuated by PNG, but our politicians are prepared to 'buy' the goodwill of PNG as a barrier from 'uglier neighbours'.

My guess is that Australia does not covert PNG's riches, but seeks a good buffer zone.

The tough terrain and a few good men stopped the Japanese invasion years ago and probably it will slow down any future attacker, so the aid will continue.

So now the issue comes down to how that aid is (mis)used. If it is not reaching the grass roots, then we have to start looking at why.

This is hard to do from across the Torres Strait, so the ball is in PNG's court. What are the facts?

Colin Huggins

I, like my mate, Reg, welcome your views on the current PNG situation.

However, I would like just someone to tell me where $457 million has disappeared to?

From the education viewpoint, it seems to have not touched base. Likewise for health and so on.

I wait for someone to respond to Paul's question: "Would someone from AusAID – and many of its staff read PNG Attitude - care to respond?"

Who knows, I could be in the same taxi-cab and the driver may just ask some questions? I would like to give him an answer.

It has been correctly reported that the average Aussie probably wouldn't have a clue of what the present situation in PNG is like.

The football World Cup is all the news now, then tomorrow the State of Origin rugby league and next it will be Wimbledon.

Most Australians have heard of the Kokoda Trail/Track ( I wish that the name could be decided) but virtually that is all the average Aussie knows of PNG.

Today, for example, I had lunch with three former workmates and I told them about the $457 million of aid. They were flabbergested - so there are another three who will talk and want to know what this money did or where it went!

KJ may recall these peope in realtion to a raffle some time ago to raise funds for the Oro Province.

Yes, gentlemen, where is the money? What has it achieved? Answers would be appreciated from AusAID, the PNG government and the Australian government.

Reginald Renagi

Hi Henry Sims! Welcome to PNG Attitude. Thanks for your comments.

Welcome to the club of like-minded people who are friends of PNG and Australia and others in our region.

The readers/bloggers share many different interests, and love to express their feelings openly with good taste, and consideration for other good people's views, no matter if they find it disaggreeable to their own ideas.

PNG Attitude is one of the best forums there is for sharing good ideas about how PNG can become a better country with Australia's friendship and support and the support of others in our region who may come to its aid in future

What makes KJ's blog quite interesting is that readers write on just about everything and anything that has a positive link to both PNG and Australia.

What I really like about KJ's blog is the many good readers and writers who come up with some good stuff: like KJ himself, Paul Oates, John Fowke, Bruce Copeland, Rossco Wilkinson, Donald Hook, Joe Wasia, Colin 'Huggiebear' Huggins, Des Martin and many others.

They all contribute very much to being creative and suggest some interesting and different ways to keep strengthening our two country's relationship.

Again, Henry welcome to our family of friends of PNG and Australia.

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