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Dadae fears PNG disintegration may be ‘inevitable’

Sir Bob Dadae
Sir Bob Dadae


NOOSA - Papua New Guinea’s governor-general Sir Bob Dadae says the country’s disintegration is ‘inevitable’ if Bougainville continues to press for secession and other provinces seek autonomy.

Dadae called on the Marape government not to entertain requests from provinces to break away and seek independence.

Speaking at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Port Moresby, he said PNG is at the crossroads between prosperity and disintegration and facing one of its toughest periods since independence.

Presumably referring to Bougainville, he said disintegration was inevitable as “one of its 600 islands” continues to press for secession with three other provinces “granted the nod to pursue the highest form of autonomy” similar to that currently prevailing in Bougainville.

He said PNG must do all it can to remain as one nation, observing the requirements of the national constitution and allowing no shortcuts.

NBC News also reported Dadae as urging people to reflect on the many Papua New Guineans who lost their lives serving the country.

He said people should respect the decisions and sacrifices of their forebears and leaders in bringing the country to independence.

Dadae said every Papua New Guinean must respect them by living in peace and unity.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

The current standoffs between the states and the federal government in Australia over how to deal with Covid-19 and climate change are clear indicators of the potential problems associated with federations.

Bar NSW, the states are making the running on effective measures to deal with Covid-19 and all of them are way ahead of the federal government in tackling climate change.

The states also differ in their approach to dealing with China.

The federal government is not representing its constituents but representing its corporate supporters and its own ideologies.

As such it is embarrassing Australia on the international stage and putting the nation in great peril.

Imagine what a federal government in Papua New Guinea could do by ignoring its constituents and states (provinces).

Would they do that? You bet they would.

Paul Oates

Hey you blokes,. Fair go! Lay off Sir Bob. He comes from Derim in the Kabwum area and I used to live and work there so he's sort of a wantok.

Federalism eventually was accepted by all Australian Colonies as a way of achieving nationhood. That was possible because of the basic cultural background being much the same for all. That is in direct contrast to PNG and this was never really recognised when federalism was imposed on the new nation.

Provincial government was never going to be successful while ever funds came directly from Waigani. The UK has an interesting way of trying to keep the various parts together. Scotland and Northern Ireland don't pay for education and yet the English do. I understand that aspect also might extend to other disparities between the countries that makeup the same nation?

How are the Federated States of Micronesia set up? Would a loose cultural association between Melanesian States be something to work towards? The central issues like defence might work but taxation and the distribution of tax monies...Hmmm. ..... even the Australian States rail about the agreed to split up of the GST.

Then there's the problem of foreign influences and trading off one against another or others. I can't see those going away any time soon.

The unifying influences of history are external threats and charismatic leaders. The first I can easily see but overall acceptance of someone from one region being accepted by all is a Quantum Leap unless there is no jealously between those regions that make up the nation/s

Chris Overland

Sir Bob Dadae is pointing to what I have described as a wicked policy problem.

The wickedness arises because there is no obvious solution which will appease both determined separatists and those equally determined to maintain the current constitutional arrangements.

Sir Bob appears to be advocating a hard line approach on resisting separatism, specifically in relation to Bougainville.

However well intentioned Sir Bob may be in advocating this, it is an approach that is doomed to fail.

In the case of Bougainville, PNG lacks both the political and military capacity to resist or overcome the inevitable unilateral declaration of independence that would follow refusal to honour the outcome of the recent referendum.

Put bluntly, Bougainvilleans will, if necessary, resort to armed struggle to achieve this end and there is nothing the PNG defence force can do about it.

Better to bow gracefully before the inevitable than engage in a pointless conflict that, even in the unlikely event that the determined Bougainvilleans could be subdued, would be a national disaster for PNG.

As I have written before, the Federal model (in its various forms) may be sufficient to avoid the disintegration of the country.

The cost of this will be a significant devolution of power to the states that emerge, with the central government's role reduced largely to managing foreign affairs, immigration, customs and excise, defence and certain other functions such as banking and aviation regulation.

I am sure that James Marape will be well aware of all this. I suspect that he may feel that this intervention by the Governor General is unhelpful at best or, perhaps, even provocative. Certainly, Sir Bob would be ill advised to make such comments on Bougainville.

Mr Marape's advice to Sir Bob might well be to stick to the praising and platitudes that are the stock in trade of vice regal figures across the world and leave the political problems to those elected to manage them.

Harry Topham

Sir Bob Who? I know figureheads keep a low profile but not one boo from this gentleman over past years when the country was crying out for leadership.

You gotta cut him some slack, Harry. He's only been in the job for four and a half years - KJ

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