An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Wenge Kicks Out The ECP

Latest news in case you missed it. The Enhanced Cooperation Package that Australia has tried to set-up in PNG has returned full circle to its original sticking point; the immunity of the cops. It has been judged unconstitutional by the PNG Supreme Court and the cops have now been stood down and are likely to be withdrawn.

As to my opinion on this, I think the way the whole thing was set-up from the beginning it was bound to come unstuck. Australia were arrogant and tried to get the constitution changed so as to make it all legal in the first place - just like they did with RAMSI in the Solomons. But Somare and co here were certain that the constitution would not be changed. They came to what has turned out to be an unconstitutional arrangement.

Whether Australia (just like the U.S. who didn't sign up to the International court which funnily Australia did) really needed it's cops to be above the law is another discussion. Personally I think it really was not all that necessary, and was an arrogant position to take. Huge White seems to agree with me on this. Probably the first time I agree with a view he has taken.

Discussing this last night, I agree with my mate who said and they could have gone down a completely different route from the beginning by recruiting police from Australia with experience and placing them directly into all levels of the PNG Royal Constabulary (sort of like a volunteer program for cops but with better pay) and not set up a massive bolt on the side operation.

With proper support from a new joint police department the cops could have carried out duties with their colleagues and "skills transfer" (I hate that term, but it is better than "capacity build", argg). New necessary equipment could have been identified from the ground up and been purchased and brought in where it was needed. But alas Downer and co would no doubt pooh pooh this idea.

Another point is of course that Wenge (with backing from the local police) is just protecting his own corrupt self interests in kicking out the cops. He can't have police from Oz sniffing around and seeing the kick-backs that are coming from the Asians and others. There seems to be no other motivation for him to launch the whole legal challenge other than to protect himself and his corrupt police mates.

Hopefully the whole thing can get back on track. I am sure though it will be long after I have left PNG that it will occur. Interesting to note as well in the latest Australian budget PNG is getting a major increase in Aid money. Two years ago it was at $300 million (the level it had been for a long time), now with increases in last years budget and this years it is up to $492 million. This money is different from the ECP, which was $800 million (mostly in salary though).


In other semi related news this e-mail was in my inbox on Thursday morning.
Sent: Wed 11/05/2005 19:04
Subject: Advice : Travel Advice for Perth has changed

This is a message to let you know that Perth is dangerous at this time of year.


The next morning this was sent.
Sent: Thu 12/05/2005 10:16
Subject: Message sent in error to travel advisories list

Dear travel advice subscriber,

Some e-mail subscribers may have recently received a message referring to Perth.

This was a test message sent in error by an external contractor while testing a new mail system.

The privacy of your e-mail address has not been compromised and we have taken action to ensure that this cannot happen again.

Our apologies for any confusion.

Alan Walsh
Website Manager
Images of Australia Branch
Public Diplomacy Division
Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ph +61 2 6261 3980
Fax +61 2 6261 1221

One word, Classic. It even made BBC News. I am sure the contractor will be getting his arse kicked. Speaking from experience working on e-mail servers in a big organisation I know that these things happen quite often. Test emails going to the wrong list. It is a slightly different story when the list happens to include world news organisations. Doh.

Speaking of news, and more digressing, how funny is the quote from the Victorian Ambulance service in the story about the teenagers iPod exploding.
"We treated him on the scene for minor breathing difficulties but he was fine and then we scooted out and helped save the rest of Melbourne," she said.