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Australia has taken 47 years to address issues

Albanese and Marape at Moem Barracks  Wewak (PM’s Office Media)
Anthony Albanese and James Marape at Moem Barracks,  Wewak (PM’s Office Media)

| PNG Business News

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape says that, for the first time in the 47 years since independence, an Australian government and prime minister are addressing all outstanding issues between both countries.

Marape was commenting on the visit by Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese in mid-January.

“We do not want the moment of the visit of PM Albanese to be wasted,” he said.

“There have been many bilateral meetings and visits, but this one was historic in that he also addressed our parliament.

“Australia is committed to addressing all the outstanding issues with us.”

Marape said he had already written a letter to Albanese thanking him for the visit and the issues he raised.

“If you listened to his speech, he talked about increasing the trade relationships between our two countries, including in agriculture and food production,” Marape said.

“He also talked about increased people-to-people relationships, addressing visa issues, exchange programs between our police and military, public service and interventions in health and infrastructure.

“This visit was not about requesting money. We never requested any money from Australia nor did they make a commitment to help us with money.

“This visit was all about the outstanding bilaterals we have with them,” he said.

“We want to fine tune and improve this relationship to one that will anchor Australia and PNG going forward.

“Our upcoming meeting between Australia and PNG Ministers in February will consolidate this and move things forward.

“We want to achieve results and do not want this to be another round of wasted bilateral visits.”

Marape said the relationship between our two countries is no ordinary relationship.

“Australia and PNG have a strong foundational relationship from our colonial shared history up to today.”

“I thank everyone for allowing the guest of our country, Australian prime minister Hon Anthony Albanese, to have a presence in our parliament and address our people,” Marape said.

Albanese also visited Wewak where he paid his respects to the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

Australia’s sudden interest in Papua New Guinea has got nothing to do with concerns over corruption.

Rather, it is a reaction to the USA’s paranoia about China’s influence in the region and how that might impact on its claim to economic and military superiority in the world.

To this end, it has convinced its little buddy, Australia to champion its cause in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Islands nations under the guise of beating up security concerns.

Australia has become a fully-fledged patsy in this game and is now trying to draw Papua New Guinea into the arena with sweet edged words and promises.

Quite frankly, Australia is in no position to criticise Papua New Guinea over corruption. It is itself as equally corrupt, especially over the last decade, but much more adept at hiding the fact.

And why should Australia want to do anything about corruption in Papua New Guinea anyway?

Australian companies operating in Papua New Guinea don’t mind the corruption at all because they benefit from it.

It’s much easier to pay bribes to a corrupt Papua New Guinean politician or bureaucrat to get what you want than jump through all those burdensome rules and regulations hoops.

And what is corruption anyway?

In Papua New Guinea corruption is simply an iteration of a social system that has existed for thousands of years.

Even before any Westerners arrived Papua New Guinean societies were corrupt. It’s just that it was never called that.

If you analyse the big man system and the so-called Melanesian way you will find little difference between it and what is disparagingly called corruption today.

In many societies corruption is a viable system of governance. In India, for instance, many of the state police forces are entirely self-funded through what we would call corruption.

As for the paranoia about China and its influence, we seem to forget that their links to the region go back much further than recent upstarts like Australia and the USA.

Melanesians probably originated from deep within Asia and people like the sea-going Austronesians, the Motu and Islanders for instance, originally came from Southern China and Taiwan.

Chinese seafarers have been pottering around the region for hundreds of years and were interacting with their descendants in the region well before any Europeans set foot here.

That said, what Papua New Guinea should be doing, or continuing to do, is play the USA, its little buddy Australia, and China off against each other.

If that sounds corrupt, so be it.

Kindin Ongugo

If there is a perception now that Australia is more interested in PNG after 47 years, the obvious reason is the corruption epidemic which is getting worse in PNG.

The effect of corruption in PNG will affect Australia eventually.

Australia's security is now being threatened with China's involvement with corrupt Pacific Islands officials.

Rising poverty in PNG resulting from corruption may lead to influx of PNG boat people across the Torres Strait.

This would be expensive to deal with in Australia.

It is beneficial to the Australian economy to have the Pacific-Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme which increases agricultural business activities in Australia.

Australia is trying to prevent the damage from corruption spilling over the Coral Sea.

Lindsay F Bond

Going forward, the relationship has its work to do. Good to see accomplishment not only in fishing ideas, but getting it together, 'going Strait'.


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