A colonial construct about to be sorely tested
18 August 2022
Papua New Guinea’s parliament operates more as a collection of loosely affiliated Mafia mob bosses than a genuine democratic institution
ADELAIDE - China, tribalism, corruption and a province that wants to be its own nation pose a prickly pathway for Papua New Guinea over the next few years.
The desire of Bougainvilleans for independence is not going to dissipate on the basis of a deal concocted by Port Moresby to give the province autonomous status within PNG - an offer that falls well short of expectations.
This message has been delivered a number of times in clear and unequivocal terms by Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama.
What I see is a great opportunity for China to further its own interests and cause a great deal of discomfort for the US, Australia and other Pacific allies.
China could, for example, agree to underwrite an independent Bougainville in return for being able to build infrastructure like ports and airports.
Or maybe help fund the re-opening of the Panguna copper and gold mine.
Micro-states are desperately vulnerable to such wheeling and dealing and a new born Republic of Bougainville will be no different.
All in all, the next few years will be a very testing time for both Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.
Toroama’s deadline for independence is less than four years away.
PNG as a country is entirely a colonial construct and, as the recent national election demonstrated, tribalism still trumps democracy in many places and in many ways.
Tribalism and the wantok system retain much of their traditional potency, as has the tendency to defer to the bigman, especially those new, enriched bigman bearing gifts.
As a result, PNG’s parliament operates more as a collection of loosely affiliated Mafia mob bosses than a genuine democratic institution.
Not that we Australians have much to crow about given how our political parties operate, with branch stacking, threats, bribery and 'jobs for the boys' all deployed to win and retain office.
Our sanctimonious mooncalf must have been trying to emulate Queensland's former Minister for Everything.
Posted by: Bernard Corden | 19 August 2022 at 07:34 PM
The fate of our famous lintel is symbolic and metaphoric.
Thank you for using the older image Keith, I've missed it.
Posted by: Michael Dom | 19 August 2022 at 01:36 AM
You've fingered the problem Chris, and it ain't just in PNG. Who could have imagined that our Parliament has been 'modified' by a con man and the branch stacking etc. used to corrupt democracy.
If Liz Cheney does stand and split the GOP vote it will only illustrate how low politics in the US has gone. Regrettably, we in Australia are in a race to get to the drain hole first.
Is this how our ancestors thought it would be? No way.
Why is it thus? Well, those with their hidden agendas have been allowed to take over the puppet strings and been given free reign by their puppets to set up their tax havens and legal schemes to defraud the public of the taxes that should be available to run our nation.
Sounds awfully like to collapse of the Roman Empire doesn't it? How do we get rid of this canker? Both PNG and Oz need to look to our young people and explain what will happen if they don't see through the smoke and mirrors set up to delude them.
But it's even more dire than that.
Young people and our future leaders must be given alternatives by us lapuns. That's the lesson we have to learn. We can't just sit on our laurels and relax in our old age.
Posted by: Paul Oates | 18 August 2022 at 09:51 AM