Ano Pala tries to crush free speech in PNG
Reports offer a rich research resource

Why are we here – and what should we do…


THERE MUST be more readers than just I, who despair that the discussion on the AusAID Review has died out without much input from PNG writers.

Papua New Guineans are themselves in the best position to bring about reform as recommended by the learned trio of Eric Kwa, Stephen Howes and Soe Lin. (What is the correct collective noun for two professors and a doctor?)

Attitude’s prolific writer, Paul Oates, has worked hard at providing a three-instalment analysis of the review, but his provocative words have failed to elicit the same response as, say, for an article on the Hiri Moale. A last word from Paul is for less aid, more trade.

My thoughts, previously aired, are that Australia will continue to toss bundles of bank notes across the Torres Strait in hope of keeping the near neighbours “friendly” and as a buffer zone between other less friendly neighbours, no matter who sits in the prime ministerial office in Canberra.

Not all taxpaying Australians are in love with PNG and the seeming “black hole” into which billions of dollars has flowed over the years since independence, with little visible effect.

This apparent “waste” will eventually bring about louder calls for better governance and revisions to system of aid.

As a newcomer to Attitude, I have been listing those whom I consider to be the “good guys” in PNG, to see if this forum can achieve something in the way of marketing our concerns to them and promoting the value of the reported recommendations.

Do any of our august fraternity know if Attitude is reaching the movers-and-shakers in PNG? Does it have personal contact with any, or is this a kiaps’ klab tasol? What is our objective: to do something constructive or just talk about it?

Notwithstanding all this, I am enjoying memories of the Hiri festival and would love to chat with Reginald about theories on common words of the Pacific islands languages and more especially those magnificent sea voyages done by intrepid adventurers of yesteryear.


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Phil Fitzpatrick

There's no reason, except for the obvious political one, that AusAID couldn't take applications directly from the provinces, or even the districts, for funding projects.

The national government would cry foul and those advocates of nationalism over clan-based parochialism would see it as hindering the push for political unity.

Perhaps if the funds were split, so the national government got its cut to fund their houses in Cairns, jet aeroplanes etc and the provinces got the other half to do some real work.

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