2 Responses

  1. Grant Walton
    Grant Walton October 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for your comments Elizabeth.

    There’s a lot to be said about the points you raise, and it would be great to see them explored further. Would you be interested in contributing some of your experiences/thoughts? We’re always looking for contributors to the blog. Feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss further, offline: grant.walton@anu.edu.au

    ANU and UPNG have been doing further research on service delivery and corruption in PNG and will be writing about our findings in the coming months. Some of what we’ll be writing on touch on the important issues you raise, but it would be great to hear from those with other experiences.



  2. Elizabeth Morgan
    Elizabeth Morgan October 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Thanks Peter and Grant – there are too few such insightful positive articles about PNG. As you both know corruption is a very complex issue in PNG and understanding the challenges facing collectivist societies which are in transition is not easy for those of us who have grown up and worked professionally in contemporary western democracies of the past 40 years. Understanding how long it took feudal societies to transition to our current Westminster system is important – and we are still by no means free of corruption – perhaps just more sophisticated about it. The Australian public service of the 60s to the 90s (of the 20th century) was also still pretty nepotistic – just ask women, Indigenous people, and people from other cultures, for a start, and people running funding programs at that time. Private companies and individuals making massive profits from prisons, unemployment, detention centres, hospitals and aged care, today, leaves some of us pretty appalled.

    It’s really important to listen to more stories like Peter tells from PNG.

    In a recent project I worked on in PNG, which aimed to inform an international donor about the service delivery reforms of the past 15 years, I think the evidence is there to suggest that change is happening and that PNG service delivery improvement is at a tipping point with strong policy foundations and strong leadership from many good leaders, politically and administratively, trying to make a difference. But still with many challenges – not the least of them being how to make a western governance system imposed on a collectivist society work; another set of complex political and public policy challenges which cannot ignore culture and social structures.

    We began exploring whether any work is being done to address incentives which encourage stronger positive actions and decisions by politicians and administrators, rather than punitive and lecturing approaches on weeding out corruption. The recent study by the NRI in 2014 on governance and service delivery improvements in PNG addressed this question and argued that a new approach to addressing corruption was needed (Reilly, Brown and Flower). The work of Ha-Joon Chang also offers other economic and political explanations for why we need to interrogate our existing understandings of what is happening in countries like PNG. The issues have implications for nation building and national identity in collectivist societies, goals which PNG is also striving to achieve. Would be good to explore this further and Dev Policy might be a good forum for doing so.

    Again many thanks – always enjoy your work Grant.

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