SHILA YUKULI PAIA
ADELAIDE - In Papua New Guinea, members of parliament are not readily accessible to voters.
Their offices are not located in the electorates. They’re in Port Moresby. Most people in an electorate will get to see their MPs only during elections.
And even in Port Moresby, it can be hard to get through the bureaucracy and security to see your MP. There may be half a dozen personnel to navigate.
Oh, and often you can only access the member if you are someone special, like a celebrity or someone important. It can be sad and sickening to the stomach.
On Monday morning I met with the South Australian parliamentarian the Hon Katrine Hildyard in her office located on the main south road about 20 minutes from my home in the south of Adelaide.
Ms Hildyard’s executive secretary had made the appointment for 11.30am. There were no security checks!
I was respectfully led to the conference room and offered a glass of water and Ms Hildyard walked in at 11.35, looking beautiful in a bright red dress and lighting up the room with cool authority and a radiant smile.
She was genuine and modest and made me feel elevated with her energy and presence. I would be dumbfounded if MPs in PNG behaved with such attentiveness.
I had previously met Ms Hildyard at a business and professional women’s dinner in the South Australian parliament house a few weeks before.
The funds raised at that event were donated to my SoilChild poultry pilot project at the ATS settlement in Port Moresby.
The MP had given me her business card and showed real enthusiasm to support SoilChild. Indeed she has asked how she could help the project.
She is a straight shooter and didn’t waste time. She advised me on many ways I could take SoilChild to another level.
I will cover this in a future article on this incredible and inspirational member of parliament.
In the meantime, I encourage you to take a look at her Facebook page here. You will immediately learn that this MP is everywhere and participating in many things.
There is absolutely nothing and no one insignificant to her. Never in my life have I come across someone in such control of the political space. Not only that. An MP who is a genuinely decent individual.
I was speechless and in tears as I walked out of the conference room.