Gender based violence and HIV in PNG

The hard job of trying to be fair to AusAID


WHEN SOMEONE known only as ‘Peter’ suggested on PNG Attitude that some people might be a trifle unfair when reflecting on AusAID’s manifest flaws, I thought: “Fair enough, let’s look at what is being offered to PNG on Australia’s behalf.”

So, seeking evidence to contradict my opinions, I investigated a website ‘Peter’ identified as presenting more positive stories, which we link to here.

Now I know it’s easy to cherrypick details that align with preconceived notions but, in this case, not only was it easy to select information to support my argument, there appeared to be little available to contradict it.

Quote: Educo has considerable experience in promoting and fostering political processes, in particular strengthening institutions of political accountability and improving government responsiveness. Our firm has successfully implemented large projects such as the five-year $5.7 million Ombudsman Commission Institutional Strengthening Project in PNG.

So if $5.7 million has been spent strengthening the PNG Ombudsman, exactly how has that helped the PNG Ombudsman Commission over the last five years? This is the same Ombudsman Commission that has reportedly been poorly resourced and cash strapped to the extent that is had difficulty in performing its role in PNG.

Then the following information is provided under ‘Educo achievements’ in the $11 million Justice Advisory Group Project to provide “independent advice on the law and justice sector” and “promote sector coordination”:

Quote: Educo has produced a performance monitoring framework for the law and justice sector, as well as studies and reviews covering fraud and corruption, village courts, community-based corrections, restorative justice, police, sector planning and coordination, facilities and infrastructure management and a sustainability strategy for sector performance monitoring.

In May 2006, AusAID assessed Educo's management performance on the project at "an average of 100% against all indicators". That’s pretty good – 100% - but exactly what were the indicators and which ones over achieved and which ones didn't work at all. In other words, what did $11m actually achieve for PNG in the long term. Alas, no details.

So ‘Peter’, unfortunately I am still none the wiser as to which of my criticisms were misconceived.

I am, however, more convinced than ever that my suggestions should be given practical consideration by those in AusAID who are organising this project.

I am also further disenchanted with the apparent ease with which highly paid AusAID consultants are able to justify their claims against Australian taxpayers with extensive ‘goobledegook or, in layman’s terms, sheer and simple ‘bulldust’.

Here are a few more interesting facts and figures from the informative Bertelsmann website (which you can link to here):

PNG aid per person. $50.20 [I wonder what the average PNGian would say if they knew this?]

Basic Administration. The country suffers from an inefficient, corrupt bureaucracy, serious problems with maintaining law and order, weak discipline within the army and police forces, and poor governance. Most analysts consider PNG a weak state in which the state apparatus cannot implement even the most basic policies. The government's most basic operational machinery is either dilapidated or non-existent in many rural areas and the highlands, where tribal conflicts continue. [What is the use of trying to fix governance issues when the 'state apparatus cannot implement even the most basic policies'?]

Rule of Law. The ombudsman office suffers from a lack of capable staff and resources. [So what happened to the $5.7 million for strengthening the Ombudsman spent by Educo and paid for by AusAID?]

Management Performance. Under the Strongim Gavman Program 40 Australian officials will be placed in the PNG bureaucracy to assist with reforms in the areas of economic and public sector governance, border management, transport safety and security, and law and justice. The political leadership will respond with proposed changes to mistakes made and failed policies, but more often than not, policies remain stuck in the same routines. Senior politicians who interfere with the implementation of public policies often block new policies that threaten their personal interests. [So what objectives are to be achieved by the two lawyers recruited by AusAID? What has been achieved after $11 million spent on the Educo Justice Advisory Group?]

Anti-corruption policy. In theory, the government is committed to battling corruption and nurturing good governance. In reality, however, corruption is endemic. It is a problem at all - including the highest - levels of politics, bureaucracy and society. It is almost impossible to carry out an effective anti-corruption policy in practice. The Ombudsman Commission conducts investigations of political leaders suspected of corruption, but once a politician resigns, the Commission can no longer legally investigate the case. [Again, what happened to the $5.7 million?]


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Paul Oates

Hi Peter - I've been away and did not see your comments until just now. I left PNG in 1975. My time as a kiap gave me an abiding respect for both PNG and her people.

Everyone is entitled to have an opinion or three about managing government funding. My opinions are based on the experience of managing and auditing large government projects.

The only measure of the success worth using is the achievement of a previously stated project objective using a recognised and pre-determined benchmark. Anything else is mere smoke and mirrors or just downright bulldust.

AusAID seems to be fixated about increasing inputs rather than publicly assessing outputs.

To compare the achievements of the field service prior to Independence with what could now be achieved with the current resources is to compare apples and oranges.

It is a fact that prior to 1975, the was an effective system of responsible government that provided law and order, administration and government services in all rural areas of PNG.

Whether the same can be said of today's PNG is up to the beholder but if not, I only ask "Why not?"

Bruce Copeland

In today's Sunday Chronicle there was a five page report by Peter Pena, lawyer for Julian Moti.

On reading the report, I was quite surprised at how very wide ranging it was and how it concurs with my understanding of the situation. It gave a deep condemnation of misconduct of the Australian government and bureaucracy.

I believe the Moti case was conducted in vindictive and amateurish ways by the Australian Federal Police.

Roger Ley, Managing Director, Educo Pty Ltd

I've posted my response, which has been moved to the home page. Anyone interested can read it here:

Peter Warwick

Paul Oates has a tendency (as quoted on another blog) to build straw men only to shoot them down. There are some success stories with AusAID and it appears that Educo has had considerable success in the particular project under discussion.

Paul, it is simply impossible to complete a project as Educo has done, and see a reduction in corruption the next day. The OC requested this project because it assessed that it did not have the capacity to combat the corruption issues it was required to handle.

Not every kina spent by AusAID produces a readily identifiable tangible result instantly.

Implementing complex computer systems that can improve case management, internal reporting and work planning does not result in perfect results that afternoon.

The results are evident in that the OC has been able to better handle its case management and the public awareness program obviously worked.

But, for Paul, there has not been a reduction in the street crime rate or an increase in rubber exports, so therefore the project was a failure.

Did Pauls time as a kiap produce a well ordered, progressive, safe and successful result in the areas in which he worked on the afternoon he left them.

Reg Renagi got it right when he said that PNG needs another 100 years before ít can place itself on the world stage as a successful, decent, safe, healthy and prosperous nation.


I actually did have to employ some of our local street boys (rascals) at 2 mile to provide protection for may family 3 years ago after I was held up at gunpoint twice, and my wife was threatened with rape.

This is not a happy memory.


Keith - I respect your position. However having worked in PNG for some time I have been abused and physically threatened when using my real name in making genuine points, and I feel I must protect my family who are still there.

It's all very well being safe in Australia, but when you have people in Moresby threatening to "send their boys around to sort you out" it is a different kettle of fish.

Incidentally, when was the last time you or Paul actually lived in PNG?

As you ask, May 1976. Most recent visit, November 2007 for two weeks.

PNG Attitude accepts that some correspondents may need to avoid using their full or real names because of security or similar concerns. However, we do encourage the use of full names for reasons of credibility and transparency - KJ


Is being known "only as Peter" something of a sin? Maybe I should just adopt a symbol like "the artist formerly known as Prince". Keith Jackson, who runs this blog, has my email. Incidentally he is known as "benelong" by email!

Aside from this trivial point, let Roger respond in due course, as I believe you have impugned his and Educo's integrity.

Your criticism was that NO PNG Ausaid-funded project has seen successful results and you asked for any examples that might prove the contrary. I gave many examples of projects which I thought WERE successful (although you claim you are none the wiser). You have only responded to two examples.

What about the rest?

I have emailed 'Peter' in these terms -

"I much prefer correspondents to use their full name. It gives what they write more credibility and, dare I say it, demonstrates a modicum of courage.

"Benelong is my email address. Everyone knows who the hell I am. And if they don't they can read my bio on site.

"I don't know who you are. For all I, and readers, know you could be an employee of Educo or AusAID" - KJ

Roger Ley, Managing Director, Educo Pty Ltd

One of our former consultants has referred me to your blog.

Please accept my apologies that you found a lack of useful information on these projects on Educo's website. We summarised the information because visitors to websites usually don't want to spend much time reading a lot of detail.

The Ombudsman Commission project finished in 2002 and the Justice Advisory Group project in January 2009, so it'll take a little time to go back through the reports, but I'll post a detailed response to your comments on this blog shortly.

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