Abbott supports PNG

National

FORMER Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has urged Australians to pay more attention to Papua New Guinea.
He said this in the Australian parliament when paying his respects to well-known businessman Sir Mick Curtain.
“How many of us here in this House ever give much thought to PNG, our former colony, our nearest neighbour, a country of now some seven million people which has an economy that is growing at about nine per cent a year?” Abbott said.
“It is just a 20-minute canoe ride from our northernmost islands and, for better or for worse, history and geography means that our destiny is entwined with that of our northern neighbour.
“Sadly, most Australians – even Australians who regard themselves as well-informed – scarcely give PNG a second thought even though Port Moresby is probably the one capital in the world where our ambassador counts for more than the ambassador of the United States.”
Abbott said as many Australians who had been to PNG knew, there were many social problems.
“It is one of the reasons my government redeployed the Australian Federal Police to Port Moresby,” he said.
“It is nevertheless a vastly more sophisticated place than it was 30 years ago, and Mick Curtain was one of the people who helped to bring that about.
“He was not someone who sought comfort. He did not seek fame. He certainly never sought a rich man’s lifestyle.
“He sought to make a difference in the country of his birth and in the country of his adoption, and he did that abundantly.
“We need more Australians with Mick Curtain’s sense of adventure, with his sense of calling and in particular with his interest in the peoples and islands of the South Pacific.”

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