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Monday, 13 November

13:02

Bring them here "IndyWatch Feed Politics.au"

Last week, Jacinda Ardern rolled over for Australia on refugees, accepting their bullshit story that Donald Trump would somehow take them. Now, she's going to use the East Asia Summit in Manila to offer them a new home in New Zealand:

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull faces further pressure from Jacinda Ardern as the New Zealand leader repeats her offer to take 150 refugees from Papua New Guinea's Manus Island and Nauru.

[...]

"I will be raising with Prime Minister Turnbull, as I have consistently done, that we have great concerns over the situation on Manus Island but also for the refugees on Nauru."

She saw no difference in principle between the cases on the two islands.

"Our hope is to lend a hand as far as we are able in helping resolve this situation."

Good. Because what Australia and its PNG proxies are doing here is horrific: torturing people for years, then abandoning them to starve to death in the jungle or be murdered by hostile locals. Its a human rights disaster, contra Gerry Brownlee, we need to help.

The good news is that, in theory (and explicitly in PNG, because they Are Not Being Detained), the refugees are free to leave to any country which wishes to take them. We should call Australia on that. And if they don't like us offering a new home to 150 people, then we should offer one to 500. If they don't like that, we should offer one to all of them, whether on Manus or Nauru. And if they still don't like that, it should be "fine, you're a citizen. The next Australian PM will give us what we want, or get the same".

Because ultimately, this is about who decides who gets to come to New Zealand. And the answer to that question can only be "New Zealand". Not "Australia", and certainly not Malcolm Turnbull or Peter Dutton. To riff on John Howard, we will decide who comes to New Zealand, and the circumstances in which they come - and we will be far less arseholey about it than our racist arsehole neighbours.

And remember, as long as Australia is torturing refugees in concentration camps, don't buy Australian.

07:41

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT BLAMES PNG GRASSROOTS FOR CORRUPTION PNGBLOGS

by PNGI BLOG
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in February this year, issued a country report on PNG. One of the issues addressed is corruption.

The old saying that the fish rots from the head down, is reversed by DFAT. They suggest that in PNG, the rot begins at the tail, within grass-roots communities, slowly travelling up the spine, to rot the head senior politicians and public officials.

This is how the argument is framed by DFAT:

Corruption in PNG takes a number of forms. What outsiders call corruption may often reflect the wantok obligations of the individuals concerned. For example, virtually all politicians need to reward their supporters in material and tangible ways, ranging from providing projects to villages and districts which voted for them, to ensuring contracts are directed towards leading supporters. MPs (and candidates) are also under considerable pressure to assist their constituents pay school fees, funeral costs, bride prices and other expenses. Most PNG citizens accept such practices as being more or less consistent with their expectation of their elected representatives. Politicians who violate the basic understanding that while they benefit from incumbency, their supporters should receive a share are unlikely to be re-elected. These practices can create a permissive environment for much more systematic exploitation of the government system for personal benefit, with little or no pay-off for local communities.

Before we single out the Australian government, it ought to be noted other international donors, draw similar conclusions. Take the World Bank:


A particular characteristic of the traditional culture of PNG is a system of relationships/obligations between individuals connected by a common origin, hailing from the common geographic area, sharing a common kinship and common language [which] can provide a strong incentive for nepotistic and corrupt practices.

Remember, these views are not inconsequential. The Australian government and World Bank are not only major donors and funders, they also have considerable influence on policy and government action.

How they have managed to see everything upside down is a question for another day. But lets put things the right way up.

First, there is no evidence...

06:00

Facilities deserve a place in development Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

There are many ways to build a house. One way is to choose your own architect, surveyor, plumber, electrician, carpenter.  You will get your family a great house, but it will take lots of your time, progress may be slower and you may not be able to control for costs. Another option is to work on the design and simply find a contractor to deal with the details and deliver the house to you at a cost you can afford, while you keep an eye on whether they are delivering on time and on budget.

A debate is emerging in Australian aid circles about different ways of delivering aid programs. Drawing on the analogy above should Australias Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) manage lots of smaller separate contracts to deliver development outcomes, or should it combine numerous small projects into a single large contract, managed by a single firm. These big multi sector programs, which are increasingly in use in DFATs larger aid relationships, are often called facilities. They were the subject of questions by Opposition Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Senator Claire Moore in Australias Parliament on 26 October (p.53-59).

The firm I work for, Abt Associates, is implementing three facility type programs for the Australian aid program, all at various stages of implementation the KOMPAK program in Indonesia, the Partnership for Human Development in Timor Leste and the Papua New Guinea Governance Facility. I would like to share what we have we learned about facilities in addressing complex development problems.

To assess the merits of this approach it is helpful to recall why DFAT started down the facility path.

The first rationale is to improve efficiency in aid delivery to spend less on the management (car fleets, financial management, procurement and HR systems) so that more scarce aid funds can go into the programs themselves. It is assumed that one slightly larger finance team can do the job that three of four finance teams used to do when the contracts were all separately managed.[1]

The second rationale is to free the relatively fewer aid management staff in DFAT to focus on strategy, relationships and performance, rather than tying up their time in managing lots of smaller contracts.[2] Another efficiency benefit, which often isnt highlighted or measured, is...

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