Tougher criminal laws in PNG are long overdue
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Australia should learn how to butt out of PNG affairs

KEITH JACKSON

Bob Carr - good at giving lecturesI HAVE TO TELL YOU that I’m opposed to the death penalty in any circumstances, but that I’m also opposed to Australia interfering in the internal affairs of Papua New Guinea.

Which is what Australia’s foreign minister Senator Bob Carr has just done (again) in some latter day version of Pax Australiana.

And Carr doesn’t even have the benefit of being a member of a credible, competent government that can command the allegiance of anything but a rump of the Australian electorate.  Maybe he should go back to figuring out how he might get that to work.

Carr has just paid a lightning visit to Port Moresby to offer the PNG government the benefit of his views.

“I said to him [Rimbink Pato],” quoth Carr in his usual high-handed manner, “I said to foreign minister Pato, Australia is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.

“We never cease to make that clear.”

Except to the United States.

Senator Carr arrived in Port Moresby yesterday ahead of the arrival of prime minister Julia Gillard next week.

Maybe she can add to the air of patronisation currently floating above Australia-PNG relations.

Comments

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Trevor Shelley

With most Australians Bob Carr has little to no credibility and a lot of us remember the mess he made of NSW. In addition there have been lots of other embarrassing statements from him while he is travelling abroad carrying the Australian banner. With some luck we won't need to worry about him again come Septembers election!

Janet Dykgraaff

Hopefully it will also be about you, PNG, being a good neighbour to Christian West Papua, in its struggle to become independant and stop Indonesian colonisation [through forced children's conversion to Islam!].

Surely the UN will intervene too, one hopes.

David Kitchnoge

Nice one Gavera - are you now saying murderers have a right to violently take innocent people's lives away and we have an obligation to dance around them and urge them on?

Oh yeah these guys abide by your Christian principles at the first place so we should go kneel and wash their feet while they continue with their deeds unabated.

If capital punishment has little deterrence value, then at least the punishment should fit the crime. Do you feel the anger and outrage the community is feeling about the recent spate of atrocities throughout the country?

No one is spared. It’s happening everywhere and more frequently and someone needs to stop it. And who better than the government.

Not all murderers and rapists would be subjected to capital punishment. Each one will be judged on its merits and appropriate punitive action, including capital punishment, will be considered. Or are we not capable of thinking and judging for ourselves?

In terms of the Melanesian solution you are referring to, capital punishment is as Melanesian as it can get: eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

Mr Kua and O'Neill-Kua-Dion government are big enough to explain themselves on how they govern the country so I'll leave it to them to do that.

Gavera Gavera

David Kitchnoge - As for your Attorney General, he is busy reacting to everything happening all around him. He is like a puppy dog who has discovered his bark.

Being a politician requires a bit more than he has to give this nation. We need people who will weigh all issues carefully before they open their mouth and bark - otherwise it will be all bark with no bite or the man from Sinasina is barking up the wrong tree.

PNG is a Christian country and there is a whole lot of principle to be considered in the Melanesian context before Kerenga Kua's clumsy, amateurish and simplistic prescriptions are applied.

In this sense there needs to be serious public debate on the subject. The death penalty is an irreversable act, and the consequences are dire in the event of a mistake.

The method of putting one to death is also important for the sort of society we want to see for our children. What about the fundamental issue of the right to life given by God, and who has the right to taake it away?

Would the State be engaging in legalised murder? What about the executioner's interests - what facilities are there to counsel and rehabilitate a mentally and emotionally disturbed or affected executioner?

What are the underlying causes of a lot of these serious crimes? What is the role and responsibility of politicians in creating a socially harmonious society, apart from just passing increased penalties?

What are the serious role and responsibilities of politicians like Kerenga Kua in eradicating some of the underlying issues like poverty?

What has the O'Neill-Kua-Dion government done to address the real issues and challenges facing this country than simply feeding us reactionary same old same old with their mouths, while their hands are busy doing something else.

The changing of personnel and rearranging of the furniture in so far as the SOEs are concerned canoot be seen as major "reform". It's nothing new. Its the old being rearranged with politically responsive people in place.

The O'Neill government's hour has come to prove its true mettle. So far they are failing the people.

Kerenga Kua is becoming a huge disappointment in that he ought to be the first to start a community consultative process.

God forbid that a Simbu executioner shall execute an Engan criminal! And if that is what Kerenga Kua is suggesting, then he needs to think again. Perhaps, the Australian Foreign Minister has a point after all.

David Kitchnoge

I think we've come off that big brother syndrome and PNG will make it's own decision on this issue regardless of what Australia thinks.

Our Attorney General was already discussing ways to execute judicial killings on EMTV's Tok Piksa program last night.

Paul Yabob

David Wall, you may have been birthed just yesterday, which may constitute a genuine excuse, but apart from trying to win the Ashes Series or the World Cup in any sport, when has Australia been genuine in anything in its brief 200 years of existence?

If Terra Nullius be considered "genuine help" then soon you will equally contend my hairy brown backside is of Aryan descent! That will be news to my poor dead mother! Indeed, indeed!

Paul Oates

I have little doubt Gillard will try to use this wonderful 'opportunity' to grandstand to the Australian electorate while casually mentioning aid money, women's rights, aid money, law and order, Manus detention centre, aid money, Fiji and the MSG, and ... oh yes.. aid money.

The Australian public will be treated again to an edited version with the usual colourful photo opportunities that can make the pictorial headlines but achieve very little in practice for our two nations.

The old political tactic is always to get the electorate to look at something elsewhere if things are a bit smelly at home.

Goodness. It's a good thing John Fowke hasn't had any influence on me of late. I might be becoming a tad cynical in my old age.

Alex Harris

Well spotted Luke.

More aid? More asylum seekers?

Michael Yapis

Nothing genuine, but all in the interests of Australia. PNG can do without Australia.

Luke Johnson

The Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Senator Matt Thistlethwaite, was in PNG two weeks ago.

The Governor General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, was in PNG a week ago.

The Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, is in PNG this week.

And the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is in PNG next week.

Is this all just fortuitous coincidence or is it a carefully crafted and coordinated political and diplomatic effort leading to a significant announcement by the Australian prime minister when in PNG next week?

If it's the latter, does anyone anticipate any particular announcement?

Emmanuel Narokobi

I always think that genuine double standards constitutes interference.

David Wall

I always think that genuine help does not constitute interference.

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