HENRY Sims writes that "an audit is being considered by someone but the silence is deafening."
He goes on - "Who is the ‘someone’ and how do we contact them? Do we have contacts who can view the expenditure records. Surely there has to be some auditing being done?"
I have been writing with an on-the-spot observer's critical eye about Australian aid-project implementation in PNG since 1997.
My scrawls have encompassed quite long papers, circulated, in one case published as part of his then newspaper column (with acknowledgement) by PNG's Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane, himself an Attitude aficionado.
In another longish piece I evoked the response from the late Harry Jackman - "What's this, Fowke, preparing for a PhD?"- ignoring the fact, well known to the late HHJ, that my only paper qualification is a Class 3 truck-drivers licence.
There have been emails and other communications, and opinion
pieces published in PNG and in
And even at one stage there was the suggestion that we might at some time meet for a discussion, received from Ms Elizabeth Copus-Campbell - at that time in charge of the PNG desk at AusAID, Canberra; now bosmeri olgeta at AusAID in Port Moresby.
Whilst some of my approaches were acknowledged, there was never any hint of a desire to engage - not even a succinctly-put "do shut up you old fool!" Never, from 1997 until today.
In the course of this long one-way campaign, I encountered a small number of sensible, pragmatic and switched on Oz-based academics with interests in PNG affairs.
It was one of these who dubbed the AusAID/DFAT complex as "The Citadel of Solypsism" - and this it most certainly is.
There have been deep, dark rumblings from within the bureaucratic
walls over the past twelve months, following the news that
Perhaps the precipitate resignation of the head man at AusAID was connected with this demand and the answer given.
Observers have seen some shadowy shuffling, but the
functionaries of this closed order maintain closed lips, at least when when not
sipping whatever has relpaced chardonnay on the list of the upwardly-mobile in
One feels that they probably think of people like me as "part of the problem" which they, in their sparkling-bright, post-colonial suits of ideological clothes are sent "up there" to combat - and for this reason, beneath their dignity to address.