PNG Post Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Nov. 8) – The nation has waited long enough. Both the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister and the Minister for Defense should now table the reports of the investigations into the clandestine flight of Julian Moti to the Solomon Islands aboard a Papua New Guinea Defense Force aircraft. That flight is the cause of the diplomatic standoff between Australia and Papua New Guinea, which is threatening Australian aid to Papua New Guinea.

The people of Papua New Guinea are entitled to know the whole truth about the circumstances surrounding the flight, who authorized it, why that authorization was given in breach of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands laws.

Papua New Guineans are also entitled to know what action or actions have been taken or are being taken against those involved.

This issue must not be allowed to drag on for much longer, certainly not during the Budget session of Parliament.

The Prime Minister ordered an investigation into the flight from within his own department while the Defense Force had ordered its own separate investigation. Both reports should be tabled in Parliament for debate.

Parliament should demand that the two reports be tabled on the floor so that Members of Parliament can read and debate them. We hope Members of Parliament will live up to the expectations of their voters by ensuring the Government is made fully accountable for what happened.

While on the subject of reports, Parliament should also demand that the Prime Minister tables the report of the investigations into the shooting of the Indonesian fisherman near Vanimo almost three months ago. The result of the investigations must be made known to Parliament and the House should also be told of the action or actions, if any, which have been taken against those involved. This is the first of the two serious incidents involving the Papua New Guinea Defense Force that warrant serious government attention.

The Government must deal with the issues of command and control in the Papua New Guinea Defense Force and why officers and men are being allowed to act in such a manner without discipline.

The Commander of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force should be summoned to Cabinet to explain what is happening in the force. There seems to be a complete lack of discipline in the Papua New Guinea Defense Force resulting in the officers and men behaving in any manner they see fit. This is unacceptable.

These are issues of bad governance that have given this nation such a bad name, not only with Australia, but internationally. Many of Papua New Guinea’s friends agree with Australia’s push to see Papua New Guinea enforce principles and practices of good governance in everything it does.

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