Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Do Australian politicians care about what's happening in Papua New Guinea?

From John Pasquarelli

Since PNG gained its independence in 1975, all sides of politics have barely been interested in what is happening to one of our closest neighbours. Now that the huge Exxon-Mobil LNG development has been signed off, PNG is entering a dramatic phase in its modern history as it becomes a big player in the international energy market. A Communist Chinese 747 recently landed in Port Moresby, discharging passengers in military uniforms and suits – to sign up lucrative contracts for the supply of LNG to China. PNG politicians and their acolytes will rush to gorge at the money trough whilst many PNG villagers will make do with their A$250 annual income.

Southern Highlanders whose lands carry the oil and gas, are flooding into Moresby as a cargo cult hysteria builds and PNG faces more pressure on its demoralised Police and Military forces. Twelve violent criminals recently walked out of Moresby's Bomana prison accompanied by a PNG woman posing as a human right lawyer! - the possible involvement of senior police and politicians is doing the rounds in local markets and the media – not the best PR for a country where there will be a huge influx of foreigners to work on the project. Do Australian politicians care?

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