The National, Wednesday July 31st, 2013
By GABRIEL LAHOC
MORE people in Morobe are against the new asylum deal struck between Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd.
The deal which will see Australia increasing its financial assistance to PNG in return for the processing of all asylum seekers who travel to Australia by boats and the resettlement of those who are found to be genuine refugees in PNG.
Citizens from around the province and its provincial capital of Lae since Monday have expressed strong opposition to the deal which was not even debated in parliament prior to
being agreed upon two weeks ago in Australia.
“Despite the extra financial assistance from Australia, the Morobe tertiary students union is against this move, PNG has its own woes and issues to deal with and Australia’s problems should be solve by themselves,” Olio Offo Morobe tertiary students union president said.
“I am against it because ninety-eight percent of land in PNG are customary land and we all know how bad land ownership issues in the country is likes and I don’t think the PM’s people in his electorate in Ialibu-Pangia will want to see foreigners coming in to be settled on their traditional land,” Seedy Donald, a local from Bulolo.
“Just by assessing the public opinion in the newspapers and on radio shows the majority of citizens are against this deal because of a variety of reason but interestingly the majority of the Members of Parliament are for the deal, this is not democracy and something is wrong,” health officer Nick Batah said.
“This deal will give more problem to PNG which has its own problems already to deal with, what benefits are they talking about, if it is for money that is not the answer as these benefits will come and go but the PNG problem will always remain,” John Raka, team manager for Tavur football club in the National Soccer League, said.
A local, Forex Dick, said: “We have not addressed our own issues on poverty, beggars and homelessness and now we are trying to take care of foreigner, this is a big joke.”