The cultural sensitivities of cannibalism
Somare steps aside as PM

2010 may be a turning point for PNG: ABC


LAST WEDNESDAY PNG’s public prosecutor said he would ask the chief justice for a leadership tribunal to hear allegations of official misconduct against prime minister Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Michael has been fending off the charges for two years and, if a tribunal is formed, he'll have to step down until they're dealt with.

Then on Friday afternoon the Supreme Court ruled June’s appointment of the governor-general unconstitutional and invalid.

“It's a part of what some see as a disturbing trend of increasing political instability [in PNG]”, says ABC correspondent, Liam Fox.

“That was when another court ruling threw out laws that had effectively prevented MPs from changing sides. Before they came into effect in 2002 votes of no confidence and changes of government were regular features of PNG's political landscape.

“So far Sir Michael has managed to fend [the opposition] off with the help of a speaker prepared to allow lengthy parliamentary adjournments. Nonetheless many fear the court ruling marks a return to the bad old days when regular changes of government stifled development.”

According to Fox “that would be an incredible shame because the country stands on the cusp of a potentially transformational resource boom. This year the economy grew by around 6 per cent. That's expected to increase to 8 per cent next year largely on the back of increased mining activity.

“So 2010 could end up being something of a turning point for PNG,” says Fox. “It could signal a return to the political instability of the past or it could herald an unprecedented economic boom. But it's hard enough predicting what's going to happen next week, let alone next year in the land of the unexpected.”


Meanwhile, PNG Treasurer Peter O'Neil has called Pauline Hanson a racist after she was reported as saying PNG’s serious problem with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and is putting Australians at risk.

So who cares what Ms Hanson thinks? Presumably only some sections of the Australian media. Why give her any attention at all? She is not an elected public figure nor do the vast majority of Australians have any interest in her.

I'm surprised that any PNG politician can find the time let alone the interest to comment, given the far more important concerns affecting their government and their nation.


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