Recent Notes 10: Mary Boio's world cup
Recent Notes 12: Why Mary wears black gloves

Recent Notes 11: Just a little lunch money


Teddy Winn is researching for his doctorate at James Cook University in Townsville and has been seeking to better comprehend how Papua New Guineans understand and respond to corruption. He’s already reached a clear understanding, as have other researchers, that “widespread corruption may be causing some Papua New Guineans to believe that corruption is a way of life”. He quotes a female public servant who said that “every ordinary public servant nowadays asks for ‘lunch money’ or ‘side coins’ to perform their otherwise mandated responsibility”.

Writing in DevPolicy Blog (now mandatory reading for anyone wanting to keep abreast of PNG and Pacific affairs), Winn says PNG’s anti-corruption bodies and many laws against corruption and are perceived as well-intentioned but largely ineffectual. “Despite these efforts, findings from my research suggest many citizens are simply giving up. That is, they now think corruption is a norm that cannot be changed.”


Joel Jenkins writes in his excellent Bogan Intelligentsia blog that the Australian government has shifted up a couple of gears in promoting the Voice to parliament even as the forces of darkness under Corporal Dutton seem to be succeeding in their efforts to sink the vote. There’s more than a little racism and political bastardry in those wanting to prevent another important step in levelling the playing field for Australia’s Indigenous population whose forebears arrived in the Great South Land 50,000 years before the Brits ‘discovered’ it.

“If the referendum fails,” Jenkins writes, “it will be due in no small part to the Albanese government’s weakly defined relationship with Australians, and the uninspiring leadership it offers them.” You can link here to his essay, ‘The Voice that favours the bold’, that demonstrates how the Albanese government “fluffs around refusing to admit there is a housing crisis that deserves more debate, stonewalls on raising the rate above the poverty line, and opens new coal and gas against the grain of the nation’s imperatives.”


My good friend Emeritus Professor Ben Selinger AM has been pondering how to persuade Australians to vote ‘yes’ in the impending Voice referendum. So we had a short email discussion:

Prof - Why was I thinking of you yesterday? That was it - the referendum. As taught by the master, I just developed a one liner for Albo:  ‘How would Jesus vote?’

KJ - I reckon Jesus would vote informal as it’s unlikely the referendum ballot papers will be rendered in Aramaic.

Prof - Thanks for pointing out the discrimination.


Australia’s national governance has been long viewed “as the metaphorical light on the hill in a neighbourhood beset by weak institutions, corrupt political elites and declining standards of governance,” write Sinclair Dinnen and Grant Walton in DevPolicy Blog, say. “However, a spate of recent scandals and revelations suggests an altogether less rosy picture about the health and workings of critical parts of Australia’s system of government and the quality of its own governance.”


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Philip Fitzpatrick

As a socio-economic system, capitalism normalises everything aberrant in human society, from endemic wars to racism to corporate greed and more.

Under capitalism, even advances in technology and productivity become new tools to further exploit the many for the benefit of the few.

True, Phil, and it's getting worse.... - KJ

Bernard Corden

re: Recent Notes 11 - 'Just a little lunch money'

'One of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption' - Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, political activist & muckraker

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