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The Australia-PNG relationship – it’s time to blow it wide open


WHEN someone in Papua New Guinea criticises the government or a politician in the media, the response is invariably primal.

It can range from blustering (followed by inaction and stalling in the hope the issue will go away) right through to sacking officials, intimidation, court action, legal tinkering and violence.

In Australia it works differently.

Here we have a government that is too frightened or preoccupied with trivia to do anything about serious issues in case they are adversely criticised and thus diminish their chances of re-election.

The only way this kind of political stasis can be galvanised is to use fear as a weapon.

To get the government to do anything about an issue these days it has to be well publicised.

The best avenue for this kind of publicity in Australia is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s long running investigative television program ‘4 Corners’.

Just about every issue that ‘4 Corners’ reports on seems to get a reaction from the government. It makes them panic and driven to act.

Politicians in the present government hate ‘4 Corners’ because it forces them to do their job.

In the minds of many people who take an interest in Papua New Guinea is its relationship with Australia.

Of special interest is Australia’s apparent lack of interest in corruption in Papua New Guinea.

How can foreign minister Julie Bishop congratulate a patently corrupt prime minister who has blatantly manipulated an election for successfully winning that election?

Why does Australia ignore Papua New Guinean politicians laundering money they steal from their people?

Why does Australia tolerate the blatant misuse of the foreign aid it delivers to Papua New Guinea?

Why does Australia stand by while infrastructure and essential services fall apart in Papua New Guinea, making its people unnecessarily suffer from poor health, poor education and a host of other preventable problems?

It can’t be just about Manus and asylum seekers; there have to be other reasons.

If we want these questions answered we need to expose them as issues and embarrass the government into providing those answers and maybe even doing something about them.

Which brings us to ‘4 Corners’.

The producers actively seek ideas for its programs from the public. They have telephone numbers and a page on their website for this purpose.

We need to get ‘4 Corners’ interested in the problems in the Australia-PNG relationship.

The more of us who contact them the more likely they’ll consider doing a program on it and maybe embarrassing the government into action’

Contact ‘4 Corners’ at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/contact and ask it to investigate.

You owe it to both Australia and Papua New Guinea.


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Lindsay F Bond

Maybe its a matter of what makes news, like, there are many Australians who are renters or 'landlords' who can get a handle on unpaid rent issues.
Also a hint of loss of face will impact sundry immigrant cohorts in Australia.
Also illegitimacy of government is topical this week.
So if not yet 4 Corners, there is some PNG news in "A Port Moresby real estate agency locked the doors of seven properties on August 14, saying the Government had been given enough time to address the matter."
See: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-16/png-government-staff-locked-out-of-offices/8813608

Mark Davis

40+ reported election-related murders (who knows how many more unreported), unknown number of reprisal rapes and other extreme violence, PNC Minister arrested and formally charged with murder, tens of millions of kina worth of damage caused in each of various Highlands centres, gross rigging of the electoral roll directly under Australia's "watchful" eyes, ballot paper duplication, ballot paper manipulation, tampering with ballot boxes, electoral officials charged with various offences, double declarations.

Blatant Interference in the election campaign by the Australian Prime Minister and the Australian High Commission in support of the utterly corrupt PNC regime.

A successful election, according to Ms Bishop.

l would hate to see an unsuccessful election. As for the media, magnificent work by Eric Tlojek of the ABC and Stefan Armbruster of SBS, but they are voices in the wilderness.

Paul Oates

Well said Robin. Talk about duplicity. Never seen a better example.

Who knows how this current nationality imbroglio will plan out? Our Foreign Minister might well end up having her wings clipped?

Allan Kidston | Former DIES Contract Officer

Well said Phil Fitzpatrick. I have taken up your suggestion & emailed the ABC requesting an investigation into how Australian politicians are doing us all a disservice in aiding PNG's descent into a failed state.

Robin Lillicrapp

The Australian Foreign Minister has shown herself willing to be critical of New Zealand interference in our affairs but fails, miserably, to find anything abhorrent about our nearest neighbour's blatantly corrupt regime.

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