Republicans have responded to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald (PNG outrage: Governor-General for sale, Tuesday May 4th 2004) with deafening silence.
The report reveals that “a political party and members of Papua New Guinea’s parliament have demanded cash in return for supporting candidates for the post of Governor-General”. One businessman, John Nilkare, has apparently abandoned his candidacy claiming the process is corrupt and demeaning to the position of the head of state. According to the Herald report Mr Nilkare said a political party had requested about $10,000 ($A) to provide the votes that could get him elected by parliamentary vote.
Mr Nilkare is quoted as saying “This is a high office, the Queen’s representative. This should not be something you go down to the shop and buy”. Another candidate, Sir Matiabe Yuwi, supported the claims that the post was being politicized. “We are setting a bad trend for our young leaders of tomorrow”, he said.
But here is the best part. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “Mr Nikare said the appointment should be made by the prime minister, as in Australia”. The article concludes “This is PNG’s third attempt to elect a governor-general since November, a process beset by legal challenges. How much more honest and straightforward are things over here on this side of the pond where we adhere to the time honoured method of appointment of our head of state, recommendation by the Prime Minister to the Sovereign." Would those advocates of an elected head of state for Australia care to comment?