When the controversial prime minister of Papua New Guinea , Peter O'Neill, came to Townsville for the funeral of local businessman Sir Mick Curtain you would think that the media would have a big list of questions on many subjects to ask him . Like :
*Why have you failed to comply , for two years , with a warrant for your arrest on allegations of corruption ? Is it a political conspiracy ?
* Having survived a no confidence vote in July , in which it has been reported that votes were "bought " with cheques diverted from various funds , how do you think you will go in the next year's election ?
*What is your response to the recent ABC television documentary which showed that in the Highlands the local schoolteacher had not been paid for months and children were sitting on the school floor because no furniture had been provided ?
*Why have there been protests against you by students , doctors, pilots and port workers ?
* What is being done to improve the PNG health system , reports having highlighted gross inadequacies and concern about drug resistant TB spreading into Queensland via Cape York?
*What is your reaction to the Singapore court case , resulting in the jailing of two people, in which it was alleged this month that one million dollars , meant for PNG community colleges , had been laundered through the account of the founding PNG prime minister, Sir Michael Somare , which he has denied ?
* Why were the funds of the PNG anti corruption squad, Task Force Sweep , cut by your government ?
There are other questions that could have been asked in Townsville , including the claims that money diverted from PNG has been used to buy real estate in North Queensland. Manus detention and settlement of refugees in PNG ?So did the Townsville media raise any of these obvious questions with the PM? Apparently , not one .
However, the Murdoch Townsville Bulletin ran a piece which read like another North Queensland media cargo cult story about the possibility of a direct Air Nuigini (sic,three times ) service between Townsville and PNG providing employment and investment opportunities . Beaming O'Neill was quoted as saying he wanted the link yesterday .
The report did not mention the fact that Qantas is dropping its Cairns-Port Moresby direct flights from the middle of next month , Air Niugini , correct spelling , increasing the service , the Cairns office pictured above . It would have been interesting to know what PM O'Neill felt about Qantas pulling out of PNG. A few days later , the Townsville Bulletin had another go at the story in which it managed to correctly spell Air Niugini seven times and excitedly said the "buzz" is growing about possible flights to Port Moresby .