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 Big trouble for PNG’s O’Neill—police alert

06.05.19. Oh dear! Gone is the euphoria and massive spending at the APEC spendathon late last year. PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is probably hiding under his desk today as a mob calls for his political head. Gosh, what happened to the 500 brand new vehicles, the Maserati Quadroporte’s and other expensive livery? PM for the present, O’Neill is probably doing burnouts in one of them on that kilometre of road to nowhere that China built—as the peasants throw rotten bananas at him.
Ben Packham for The Australian reports that  The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary said public movement would be restricted on Port Moresby’s streets from today, with an extra 1000 police deployed in a citywide operation. 

Source: News Corp

Police alert on PNG crisis

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s leadership was hanging by a thread last night amid a surge of defections from his coalition and calls for generational change in the government, in a political crisis that could threaten a $16 billion gas deal and force the reframing of one of Australia’s most important strategic relationships.
Australian officials are closely watching developments in Port Moresby, where Mr O’Neill is likely to face a vote of no confidence on the floor of parliament when it resumes tomorrow.
Opposition parties claimed to have secured the backing of 57 MPs in the 111-seat parliament.
Mr O’Neill’s People’s National Congress said 60 MPs remained with the government.
The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary said public movement would be restricted on Port Moresby’s streets from today, with an extra 1000 police deployed in a citywide operation.
Former finance minister James Marape, whose resignation from the government set off a wave of defections, yesterday said those lining up against Mr O’Neill were part of a “revolution of like-­minded” young leaders who would set the country on a course to economic success.
“I am building a younger generation of leaders to maximise the full potential of the country so that when my time is up, these younger leaders can make our country the richest black Christian nation on planet earth,” Mr Marape said.
Mr O’Neill received a boost on Saturday when Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel, who earlier called on Mr O’Neill to resign, announced he would stick with the government.
“In this difficult time I want to say PNC remains a solid team ­despite some of our good brothers leaving us,” Mr Abel said.
Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director Peter Jennings said Mr O’Neill had been a “mixed blessing” for Australia: “He has certainly been a tough PM to deal with at times and there has been a sense of worry that he has allowed himself to get too close to China, which clearly is a concern to us.”
Lowy Institute Pacific program research fellow Shane McLeod said Australia, which recently sealed a deal with Mr O’Neill to build a joint naval base with PNG and the US on Manus Island, had invested heavily in its relationship with Mr O’Neill.
“There would be uncertainty over what comes next but Aus­tralian officials are also familiar with a lot of the players in this situation,” he said.
Opposition MPs were yesterday locked down in a Port Moresby hotel where senior political figures hoped to lock in support behind a move on Mr O’Neill and come to a consensus on who would replace him.
Opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch told local media that all agreements signed by the O’Neill-Abel government would be reviewed, including the $16bn Papua LNG deal signed less than a month ago with Oil Search and its partners, ExxonMobil and France’s Total.
Mr O’Neill raced home last month from a visit to China, where he was attending a Belt and Road Initiative conference, to deal with the threat to his leadership.
Among the most recent defections were Enga Governor and political powerbroker Sir Peter ­Ipatas, Health Minister Sir Puka Temu and Defence Minister Solan Mirisim.
PNG, which has an estimated population of about eight million, is Australia’s biggest aid recipient, receiving $541 million in development funding last year.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Pensioner Pete 06/05/2019, 7:38 am

    Quote: “PNG, which has an estimated population of about eight million, is Australia’s biggest aid recipient, receiving $541 million in development funding last year.”

    What is missing from this quote is that the major recipients of this aid in PNG are the politicians, this ‘aid’ is used to purchase expensive vehicles and mansions in Cairns and the Gold Coast. I fail to see (as do many others) how this donation by the Australian taxpayer is helping those in real need in PNG.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan 06/05/2019, 10:20 am

      A bloke could probably state that the politicians of PNG are the most crooked pack of bastards ever to steal anything not nailed down, and no one would argue about that. Have a think about this though, Economist Ross Garnaut of global warming and climate Guru to Gillard et al is persona non gratia in PNG because he supposedly buggered up their economy, so if a bunch of crooks can label an even bigger crook a “crook” then he must be crooked beyond all expectations. He was a also a director of Lihir Gold and allowed the tailings from the mine to be pumped into the sea and the pollution slick extended for hundreds of miles. So much for being an environmentalist.

  • Penguinite 06/05/2019, 9:00 am

    Back in the Lafage days (rhymes with Farage) it would have been “avec sa tête”.

  • Cliff 06/05/2019, 11:14 am

    Love to know what’s become of all those Bentleys and Lamborginies.

  • Peter Sandery 06/05/2019, 12:28 pm

    This situation has been brewing for months, yet the Australian MSM, up to today barely made mention of it or the ramifications of actions which have led to this situation. In the latest Weekend Australian for example there was a couple of column inches on the matter. Greg Sheridan et al have been conspicuously silent on this issue as has the likes of Paul Kelly and the ABC’s excuses for current affairs reporters.
    Australian officials may be familiar with a lot of players in the situation as reportedly mentioned by Shane McLeod, my information based on 40 plus years in PNG and intelligence which I am continuously in receipt of since my return to Australia is that Australian DFAT officials, almost to a one have very little real understanding of the underlying issues that generate the corruption, kleptocracy and nepotism that unfortunately is an increasing part of the Papua New Guinea scene.
    To those who look down their noses at the PNG scene at the moment, I would like to say that in the last 10 years that I have been resident in Australia, north Queensland in particular, I see the same ominous signs both in that State and Australia that were precursors in PNG to that country’s rapid decline to almost failed state status.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan 06/05/2019, 1:45 pm

      You could probably write several large books about the basket case it has become but to me just two words sums it all up. Gough Whitlam. Poor old Billy Hughes must be spinning in his grave.

  • Graham 06/05/2019, 1:30 pm

    Same old question, why do we (Australia) keep shoveling taxpayers money into this shithole with a bottomless pit?

  • Cliff 06/05/2019, 10:15 pm

    Ever since 1975, PNG has been descending into becoming another Africa, if in slow motion, and that slow motion is only because of the amount of money Australia has poured into the place to impede the acceleration into African style chaos and anarchy. I agree that Whitlam should shoulder the blame – against all advice, he insisted on a far too early transition into full independence.

    If the millions of dollars in Australian aid was to stop, spare a thought for the real estate agents and hookers in Cairns and the Gold Coast – one of their main sources of income will disappear overnight when the PNG pollies have to return to POM and trade their Australian property portfolios, their Bentleys and Lamborginis for… well, let’s say ‘something else’.

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