PNG: a country suffering spiralling violence
Bougainville Manifesto 6 - Armed conflict, 1988-89

PNG solution's twisted genius snookered everyone

CLAIRE HARVEY | The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney)

O'Neill and RuddSNOOKERED. Kevin Rudd has outplayed absolutely everyone.

Not just Julia Gillard, who in attempting to clean up the mess Rudd had left for her came up with a boats solution that should have worked but didn't get the chance - because it needed legislative approval the Greens and Liberals were never going to grant.

Not only Tony Abbott, whose look of chagrin in the past two days has been matched only by that on the face of Scott Morrison (why the hell didn't we think of this, my supposed crack team?).

Not only the Greens, whose outrage has seen Christine Milne's eyes narrow to hyphens and Sarah Hanson-Young's widen to zeroes at the pure outrage of it all.

Not only the Indonesians, whose agreement last week to restrict visas for Iranian visitors and organise a regional summit now looks almost quaint in its half-arsedness.

But also, and perhaps most importantly, Rudd's PNG plan has exposed the intellectual dishonesty of the "refugee lobby".

"But but but but but but but," they have spluttered, "but but but but ... " But PNG is a shithole?

Yeah. It is. And now it's our shithole - and you know what else? It's a signatory to the United Nations' 1951 Refugee Convention.

PNG can deliver the central, crucial element of the refugee system: freedom from persecution.

Yes, it may also deliver horrendous crime, rampant HIV, the ever-present risk of gang rape and endemic corruption, but it can definitely ensure you won't be hounded just for being Hazara.

The convention doesn't say anything about refugees having a right to live in the nicest place available in the world, or the place of their choosing.

It says a person is a refugee if he or she has a "well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion", and that person has a right to safety, freedom of movement, education, employment, welfare and, most importantly, the safe knowledge he or she will not be forcibly returned to the place of persecution.

So Rudd's deal with PNG will not discourage genuine refugees who urgently need to flee real persecution at home.

It will discourage people who simply want a better life.

That might sound harsh - but the pursuit of happiness is not the purpose of the Refugee Convention. The purpose is humanitarian relief for desperate people.

The refugee system has been corrupted by criminal people smugglers who endanger their customers' lives - and rob every genuine refugee waiting in a camp or a hotel for a visa.

That's what the refugee advocates can't admit.

Our guiding light should be humanitarianism for genuine refugees - not making excuses for every person who chooses to come here by boat, and pretending there is no crime or dishonesty at the edges of the people-smuggling trade. Rudd's PNG solution is genius. It provides haven for genuine refugees and enormous discouragement for everyone else.

Like it or not, that's true humanitarianism.


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Marcus Mapen

I agree with Peter Kranz’s comments regarding News Limited (but have to say this).

Considering all the ties Australia has with PNG, most importantly that PNG is the only country to become independent from Australia (correct me if I’m wrong) and Claire Harvey still deems PNG to be a shithole, then her Australia has to be full of shit.

Brian Ballard

I am curious as to the political persuasion of the author - its force leads me to a view that it may be on the LNP side, and written to severely stir the pot of mischief ;-).

The emotive anecdotal references I have also heard from those I call 'the bleeding hearts' who know not much and of LNP/swinging voter persuasion. Kindly disregard as beer/pub talk.

There is very little 'polite respect' in Australia for the office of PM or most politicians for that matter, by the media.

I note that the deal with PNG is for the queue-jumpers is for 12 months, and my feeling is a discrete arrangement with the PNG government to get Australia away from the debilitating hung parliament, as exists at present.

With Rudd seeming to be effectively stitching up deals everywhere it may be a Labour government that wins the next electoral bout.

Simon Kenema

What utter trash and verbal diarrhoea. Claire you may be the late Peter Harvey's daughter, but you definitely ain't got nothing on him when it comes to journalism. Absolutely zilch or as we say in PNG, zero balance stret!

Peter Kranz

PNG cousins should be aware that the News Limited papers and media outlets (run by one Rupert Murdoch) are the subject of revulsion around the world and the target of legal investigations in the US and the UK.

Many News Ltd UK journalists in the UK have been arrested for corruption and illegal practices.

This company is the owner of the Sydney Telegraph, Melbourne Herald Sun and The Australian. It is notorious for xenophobia, right-wing bias, and just plain lies and deception.

Read them at your peril, but certainly don't take them as serious journalism.

Peter Pirape Anage

Sssoooooo...thanks Claire and your kind for informing me and my kind that, we have - all along have been and continue to live in - a "shit-hole."

This beautiful paradise is in fact a "shit-hole" according to Claire's journalism in The Sunday Telegraph.

I feel for Claire, who appears to be nothing but a low-life with an anus for a mouth.

Steve Gallagher

Displa meri ya em tok "shit-hole" long kantri blo mi ya, tokim em kam na raitim sampla more news lo hia.

Honestly, bai mi sanapim PNG flag lo em osme ol wantok bin sanapim PNG flag lo narapla meri America ya!

It is an insulting and unacceptable word to us patriotic PNGans. We love our country and we will always defend it no matter what.

Michael Dom

Thank you Kevin O'Regan, Peter Krantz and Jo Cooper.

It's sad that there are people who think in that untoilet trained manner and write diarrhoea like that.

Sadder still that someone makes money from selling that kind of excremental excuse for journalism.

We all have our private opinions and sometimes angry or hateful thoughts, but we usually have the good sense to draw the line at speaking aloud what we know is insulting, let alone publishing it.

(I wonder if Keith will publish what I've just written!)

I often remark that my country is going to the dogs. The fact that I am a Papua New Guinean patriot does not make that statement good, it simply expresses my bad feelings and it sure feels better to direct my anger and frustration somewhere or at someone else, usually politicians (and mostly justifiable!).

But no one needs to read their home trashed by someone else. I would have thought that in this day and age even a journalist from such a greasy arse-wipe as The Sunday Telegraph would know better than to do that, but I've been wrong before.

(I apologise for the word pun on 'shit-hole', but she started it!)

B Toutu

Excuse me for stepping on your toes you ungrateful cow... this is my country you and your lot are condemning.

You owe Papua New Guinea a loud apology for statements such as these.

Obviously you have never been to paradise because you are still snorting in your shithole.

Jo Cooper

And there shines the unquality 'newsrag' tabloid for you - the Sunday Telegraph, another Murdoch publication.

Calling the staff who work there 'journalists' is too much of a stretch. Michael - back in the pre-internet days, this fodder became same day toilet paper or fish & chip wrapping.

Please find my sincere apologies that you had to read this drivel often inflicted on us poor Australians too.

David Kitchnoge

Well done Peter O'Neill, the Prime Minister of a shithole!

That's the mark of a true statesman.

Paul Pusal

In your most extravagent, wildest dream of a PNG Utopia, put a price tag on (don't be conservative). Whatever you think its going to cost multiply it by 5.

The only reason PNG should get into this is if the Australian taxpayer foots the bill for ordinary Papua New Guineans to have new hospitals, schools, universities, road infrastructure, bridges and stimulates the local economy so we have enough jobs for its ever increasing population.

Only then can we say this deal is "acceptable". If Australia wants us to look after its problems, it will cost ya.

Peter Kranz

Michael with his writing and his poetry has risen head and shoulders above the ilk of the average Australian journalist writing about PNG (with some notable exceptions).

It's we Aussies that owe you good people an apology.

David Wall

I would imagine that what was said privately between Rudd and O'Neill probably went along these lines:

'Don't worry Peter, after we announce our policy hardly any boats will turn up anyhow, after the refugees fully realize that if they arrive by boat PNG is where they will finally end up, and just think of all the perks we are giving in exchange for your agreement!'

O'Neill in answer would have said:

'Good point Kevin, I'll go along with it provisionally for a year, and see what happens.'

Ralph Diweni

OK Claire, PNG is such a shithole. Why then is Australia so interested?

Damn you Claire. When you do actually visit PNG, I'd like to know. I'll welcome you to the shithole.

Emma Wakpi

Claire Harvey - Really?!!! That's my country you're talking about!!!

My goodness, as expressed by Michael and Kevin I am at a loss to describe her immaturity and that of her paper right now. I am incensed that someone can say that and have their editor approve it!!

Like Michael said thanks a lot Peter O'Neil!!!!

Kevin O'Regan

Michael, I have been too stunned to comment over the weekend over this whole sorry saga.

I share your anger with stupid comments from idiot journalists trying to seek their moment of glory.

For me Papua New Guinea has been my chosen home the past 30 years with no regrets.

We are not all like this and I apologise on behalf of stupid people whom should shut their gobs ....

Michael Dom

Is this the mark of an Australian female journalist - to call my country a shit-hole, specifically her country's shit-hole?

Is this a statement representing the understanding that a journalist of The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) has for it's closest neighbour?

Kevin Rudd, congratulations, well done on representing Australia to what your citizens call a 'shit-hole'.

Peter O'Neill, I hope you are pleased with this article and your part in it's creation.

Claire Harvey thank you for your revelation. I'm impressed at your very apparent bad karma.

Thank you to The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney), for publishing this Australian opinion about my country Papua New Guinea. It is very enlightenning to know what some of you think.

To all the good Australian people who have ever visited, lived or still live in and love my country, I apologise that Claire Harvey has called your lives a 'shit-hole' experience; Mi sori tumas olgeta gutpela wantok.

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