Wednesday 26 Sep 2018 | 09:27 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 26 Sep 2018 | 09:27 | SYDNEY

Melanesia: The curse of Prime Ministers past

By

Jenny Hayward-Jones

@haywardjenny

13 March 2008 08:16

John Howard is not the only former Primer Minister making trouble for his successor in the last fortnight. The former prime ministers and now opposition leaders of PNG and Solomon Islands, Sir Mekere Morauta and Manasseh Sogavare, have criticised the failure of aid to advance their countries. Both statements take a little of the shine off Prime Minister Rudd’s symbolic first official visits to PNG and Solomon Islands.

Morauta has called for a new approach from AusAID, saying nothing had really eventuated from hundreds of millions spent on capacity building. Sogavare said the dependence of Solomon Islands on foreign aid had not taken the country forward. To be fair to AusAID, both former Prime Ministers were more critical of the capacity of their own countries to harness resources effectively for the good of their populations than of aid itself. 

As former national leaders, they must bear some responsibility for the poor state of development in their countries, and this sort of criticism is just as much about politicking as it is about constructive advice. But their criticism leads me to look carefully at Rudd’s Port Moresby Declaration and ponder what really is so different about the Pacific Partnerships for Development that is going to achieve results where previous attempts have failed. More on this in a future post.