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Paladin scandal ‘raises questions’ about PNG-Oz relationship

ImagesCHRISTOPHER KNAUS & HELEN DAVIDSON | The Guardian | Extracts

Link here to the full article on reaction in PNG and Australia to the Paladin scandal

SYDNEY - A former Papua New Guinea official has warned the Paladin scandal is undermining Australia’s efforts to stamp out corruption in the Pacific nation.

Paul Flanagan, a former Australian treasury bureaucrat who worked as a senior adviser to the PNG government, said news of the Paladin affair had spread quickly through the nation’s parliament, where it had become a “hot issue”.

The scandal was painting Australia’s efforts to strengthen anti-corruption measures and improve procurement standards as hypocritical, he said.

“Any sense of hypocrisy totally undermines the ability for those who are trying to implement positive change,” Flanagan said.

“Whether it be here, or whether it be other examples of some of the discretionary grants, I just hear from some of those leading bureaucrats as well as parliamentarians, they just love quoting back how Australia doesn’t live up to its own standards and the standards they’re asking PNG to step up to.”

The fallout from the Paladin affair has continued to build pressure on the Australian government this week.

The PNG prime minister, Peter O’Neill, issued a statement placing blame for the handling of the $423m contract squarely at Australia’s feet.

PNG MP and former prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, went further, saying it appeared the contract was being used “as a way to peddle influence” and demanded Australia explain itself.

“At the very least it should explain why its usual procurement systems and processes have been abused or bypassed and why all the secrecy and spin,” he said…..

“This has raised a lot of questions in terms of the bilateral relationship between Australia and PNG,” said Arianne Kassman, executive director of Transparency International PNG.

“Having transparency should be paramount in any bilateral partnership. And deals like the $423 million with Paladin is concerning… for the taxpayers of Australia.”

Kassman said the public needed an explanation about “how deals like this are being allowed to take place’”.


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Lindsay F Bond

Another item to venture on quest: "...use of another limited tender by the Department of Home Affairs for a major contract adds to criticism of the way it is handling contracted work in Australia’s offshore detention centres."

With due respect to the company that delivered four much appreciated bridges in Oro Province, with no slight to a name, nonetheless where gasps are uttered at mere oversights of potentiality of travel expenditure 'rorts', might not grasps of utter enrichment be at stake where any 'can-strut' gets a win-fall to satisfice political expediency.

Lindsay F Bond

One item to venture on quest: 'Kassman said the public needed an explanation about "how deals like this are being allowed to take place".'

A literal life languishes lilts at mist,
what littering lies on newsroom floors,
pedantic process of listing flaws,
littoral-ly sensed in sighting shores
a tilt at more sure language citing gist.

[Explanation: The littoral is 'lands' close to shore of sea, lake or river.]

Peter Warwick

What are the questions? What questions are raised.

Can you list them Q1, Q2, Q3 etc so normal rational people can see what you are asking. The general approach to the English language is that if you ask a question, then a response is expected.

Otherwise just another silly post. Just a post with no substance. Something to do when nothing else to do.

Ah to live such a literal life of constant puzzlement - KJ

Will Self

I suggest you all have a listen to a Background Briefing program on ABC radio about three years ago on money laundering and Australia's reputation and involvement. It was a stunning statement of hypocrisy and selective corruption in Canberra.

Paul Flanagan

As news of key developments shaping the PNG/Australia relationship are often treated as second tier stories or not covered at all, it is positive that this article was the lead story for The Guardian's (Australian edition) morning email on 21 February - see - .

Extraordinarily, as mentioned by Dr Schram, as of yesterday, even with former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta's concerns, there has been nothing published on Paladin in the PNG national press.

Dr. Albert Schram

Great coverage, badly needed in PNG where nothing has yet appeared in the national newspapers.

Of course, the collusion of Australian firms with PNG politicians should raise some eyebrows in PNG too, but it doesn't.

Bigmen are expected to take massive bribes, and there is widespread tolerance for these practices, and complete impunity.

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