Mixed reactions on the deal
HERE are some mixed reactions from Papua New Guineans and others on the issue as captured on the “Sharp Talk” page and other various independent posts on Facebook.
Christopher Papiali – Madang:
Refugees are international issue right around the world. People who seek refuge in another country escape punishment, political turmoil while others seek better opportunities to live good lives. It is seen that several hundreds or even thousands of refugees enter Australia.
Kevin Rudd and his government cleverly knew that refugees are a real threat to Australian peace and its national interest so has decided to dump its domestic problem onto PNG. We have to know that transnational crime will increase coupled with disease and communication difficulties.
PNG does not have national intelligence office, no effective border security mechanisms, and we just have seen our “internal refugee issue with the Manam people in Madang. The Manam people have been greatly opposed by the mainland Bogia and Bunabun people because they fear their land and resources will be completely taken away by the Manam islanders.
Within the Mangem and Manduari care centres and the others in Bogia the number of settlers has increased tremendously for the last 10 years and the spillover effects are enormous. How can the national government solve international refugee issue when it cannot solve the internal one? We have made a big mistake by wholeheartedly accepting the list of requests from Kevin Rudd.
Great economies that have very effective national security systems like UK don't allow refugees because they put the interest of their citizens first. The decision to accept refugee settlement in PNG is an indication of neocolonialism.
When our neigbour New Zealand through the words of its foreign minister Murray McCully says, “PNG should not be considered as a Pacific country but it had in common with South Asian tiger economies”. We have to rise to the occasion now to reject outright the increase settlement of refugees in PNG.
Anthony Smare – Port Moresby
PNG has an expat population of around 20,000-25,000 people. Most of them are vetted, assessed before they are allowed in the country. With this refugee agreement, O’Neill has now committed PNG to accept upwards of 15,000 refugees per annum. I question whether any assessment of the social, economic, political and security impacts of this influx is? For example, every major resource project needs to have a social impact study done before the government permits it; development forums are conducted to take in the views of all impacted communities, and the attorney general goes through the arrangements with a fine tooth comb to make sure that such arrangements are legally and constitutionally compliant. Has such an assessment of the economic, social, political and security risks of this refugee arrangement been undertaken before its permitted? Have the communities of Manus and the areas that the refugees will be resettled in been consulted? If the resettled Manam islanders continue to experience difficulties with their cousins on the Madang coast, do we expect resettled muslim Iraqis, Pakistanis, Kurds, etc, to settle in seamlessly?
Susuve Laumaea – Port Moresby:
Our beloved “Land of the Unexpected” no matter how and what we are referred to as or described as by outsiders has overnight become the land of the Muslim asylum seekers? Why, for what and for whose benefits? Here we are trying to make free education and health care work, rebuild our vital economic infrastructures, revamp and reinforce the rule of law and growing the economy on the back of development of SMEs, the manufacturing and downstream processing sector supported by the renewable resources sector ... why do we want to bring on a complicated humanitarian problem upon ourselves when we still have to get our house and backyard in order?
Ernie Gangloff – Port Moresby:
At the end of the day when all is said and done, PNG has been asked to assist Australia. If PNG is able to help those fleeing danger or persecution to seek access to safe haven, to proper asylum procedures, and ultimately to help them with find solutions to their plights then we should do as we are part of the UN. With this new asylum policy, it is important that these long-established norms and international protection principles are upheld. One would hope that our legal team has considered these issues. Just do it the right way. It has the potential to be a win-win for both nations. Finally, does PNG have a refugee policy; does the Migration Act (now being reviewed) address this issue?
Susan Merrell – Australia:
PNG has said that it wants to slough off its colonial past and deal with other countries as an equal sovereign nation. Well Peter O’Neill has blown that for you. The message is “Don’t try to come to Australia because the best you can expect is to become residents of PNG – and no one would want that, would they?” The idea is to stop the boats by giving the refugees a very unpalatable alternative. How bloody insulting! And the PM of PNG endorses this! All of you who were so pleased to welcome back Kevin Rudd will now see that they should have been careful what they wished for. This is plain politicking. KR wants to win the next election and to hell with PNG. Aren’t you all insulted – because I am on your behalf!
Stephen Michael Leach – Australia:
Australian parliamentarians are losing the plot and diluting the authenticity of their argument against the asylum “solution” proposed by their prime minister by vilifying Papua New Guinea. PNG is not the issue here ... the Australian inability to figure out what to do with refugees is the problem. The inhumanity of the detention centres would be no less if they were located on Manus or in Alice Springs.