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.