Dr Temu says as far as the current O'Neill government is concerned, he's confident it has set priorities that reflect good leadership.
He is attending the Third PNG Leadership Symposium at Deakin University and spoke to Same Seke.
Presenter: Sam Seke
Speaker:Papua New Guinea's Minister for Public Service, Dr Puka Temu
TEMU: I'm very, very happy that Deakin University here in Geelong, Melbourne, Australia, is hosting this symposium for the third time in a row. And I'm very thankful because our Prime Minister was asked to send someone and asked me to come, and I'm very happy in this. There's a whole range of speakers which is very interesting from academia to real experiences, and also from the students are here as well. And I'm very happy that many Papua New Guineans are here, very, very happy that I think 50 per cent of the audience here are Papua New Guineans, some of whom are here in Australia and some of us have flown over from Port Moresby to come here and attend this very exciting issue on the theme of leadership in Papua New Guinea. And Papua New Guinea leadership in our context has its own challenges, and I guess important messages we can do what we need to do and need to give our best as leaders in different levels; in politics, in church, in family, academia, non-government organisations and business. So I think all of us need to work together to build a better country, Papua New Guinea, and also in the region, in the Pacific. I think we have similarities in leadership and society and makeup and cultures. But I think our effort is to at the end of the day improve ourselves in terms of governance and improve the lives of our people that we cover.
SEKE: Now Doctor you can see from the program you are one of the few actual leaders in government in Papua New Guinea here attending this symposium. What do we expect out of this as far as the government is concerned? The outcome of it, what next?
TEMU: I think the important thing is a university in Australia is leading this symposium three times in a row, and once upon a time we had what we call a wider ?? for a long, long time. I think to me as a politician attending this we need that connection, we need that connection between academia and leadership in politics. And we need to exchange ideas, we need to share knowledge and skills and we need to inform each other, I think this is very, very important. And because there is a wide range in issues going to be presented here, what I look forward to is that this forum contributes and raises the consciousness at different levels. And the challenge today for us in PNG now that we are moving into an era of economic growth, how do we provide leadership in PNG to make sure that all our citizens benefit from that growth that our country is experiencing.
SEKE: Now we have been having some controversy as far as leadership in Papua New Guinea is concerned. Now the current leaders in government or politicians in Papua New Guinea at the moment, what can you tell us about them as far as you're concerned or the government, the quality of leadership that we have in Papua New Guinea now?
TEMU: Yeah after 2012 general election 60 per cent of former politicians at the last parliament did not come back, 60 per cent. So we have 60 per cent new leaders on the floor of parliament, over 111 members of parliament. And before the election as you know we had near constitutional crisis before the election. But like what you and I know, leadership in Melanesia or in the Pacific has its own strengths, and we demonstrate strength at the top level leadership, but more importantly, at the leadership at the ground level, the people, because after the election we thought we were going to have a failed election but we didn't, very successful election. We formed a government of reconciliation and unity which held our country together. And so we passed amendments to the constitution to allow the vote of no confidence move from 18 months to 13 months to bring some political stability. And so we now have an opportunity during this ninth term of parliament in Papua New Guinea, 2012 to 17, an opportunity to better structure and build better foundations for the country in terms of the key builders; infrastructure, health, education, law and justice and economic growth, which are the prescribed priorities by the O'Neill, Dion government.