Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Australian faces behind Papua New Guinea’s political parties for the 2017 National General Elections!

Australia is keeping a close watch on its neighbor PNG this election. Many of them are old hands who have been playing political games in PNG for years, but this election has seen a few new faces appear.

Many people already know the main culprits from previous elections and scandals. Susan Merrell has “worked” for almost every influential politician in PNG at some point. While no one has ever proved many of the allegation made against her she has displayed a willingness to switch sides seemingly at the drop of a hat. She has been much quieter this election, instead focusing on Fiji and with her new book "redeeming Moti" after many in PNG began to turn against her.

One of the most experienced political games-men in PNG is none other than Sir Mekere Morauta’s well paid and long serving Mark Davis. Whether it is spinning the death of university students or hiding corruption in the PNGSDP, Davis is by all account a talented and valuable agent. He was actually deported some years ago on account of some very serious charges and has since been working out of Cairns and Singapore. 

His official job is “Communications Director” for the PNGSDP which is just a fancy way of saying spin doctor. Every press release, statement and speech by Mekere is produced by Davis. After being deported he told Australian media, "I write media releases for the chairman and the chief executive criticizing the government.

The most recent revelation came from PANGU Pati candidate Bryan Kramer who posted saying the PNC has hired a man called Matt McCarthy to help run the campaign. According to McCarthy’s LinkdIn profile he has worked in PNG for over a decade, but until recently kept a very low profile. The scope of the work he does for the PNC remains unclear. What we have discovered is that he previously did work with the Port Moresby General Hospital until he was outed at the same time as the old CEO Grant Muddle.

Interestingly McCarthy was exposed by another Australian national who is currently doing campaign work, Keith Jackson. Keith has been influencing PNG politics for decades without ever swearing allegiance to any one party until very recently. He is now working full time out of Pangu’s Port Moresby office with a team that consists of both PNG and Australian nationals. 
He often helps coordinate discussions with mainstream media such as newspapers and television. He is also the editor of all the content put out under the Pangu banner, including Bryan Kramer’s articles. He doesn’t go by his real name, but introduces himself to the media as Dick Jackson.

Keith’s long time drinking buddy Paul Barker is also involved with Pangu and works out of the same office. Where Keith seems to manage traditional media like TV, radio and newspapers Paul Barker is manages the social media side of things. He is the administrator and creator of many popular Facebook groups and pages, such as PNG News (under his real name) and others under fake accounts. Barker is heavily involved with a “think-tank” called the Institute of National Affairs which is an organization that uses money donated by businesses to influence politicians.

Some of the businesses that donate to the INA are: Steamships (K200,000+), Rio Tinto (K25,000), Bank of PNG (K10,000+), Exxon Mobile (K10,000) and Oil Search (K10,000). He proudly brags about these “contributions” on his website, but clearly no one is giving money away for free. These businesses expect something in return and that is political influence. 

Barker is trying to be PNG’s first lobbyist (copying a concerning industry in the United States) where businesses hire someone to talk to politicians on their behalf to influence the way they run the country.

These are just the ones that are publicly known, and just the Australians. There is of course many other nations who take an interest in PNG such as China, Japan, New Zealand and the US. Everything here is already known to the public and can be found with some very basic searching. The truth is everyone in PNG politics is a corrupt hypocrite.


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