Papua New Guinea. According to Countryaah.com, Papua New Guinea Independence Day is September 16. Papua New Guinea’s relationship with Australia deteriorated significantly during the year. In March, an Australian research center released a report claiming that Papua New Guinea was heading towards “economic powerlessness, government collapse and social hopelessness”. The report, which pointed to widespread crime and corruption, urged the Australian government to take action in its former colony. Prime Minister Michael Somare was very upset by the report.
The ChevronTexaco oil company’s decision to leave Papua New Guinea was another tough blow for the government, which saw the planned gas pipeline from Papua New Guinea to Australia threatened. Somare’s unstable coalition, supported by 13 parties and about twenty independent members of Parliament, seemed unable to solve the difficult economic and social problems.
The Australian government decided to increase control over its aid, which accounted for one fifth of Papua New Guinea’s budget revenue. Australian officials were asked to place strategic positions on Papua New Guinea’s public administration. According to analysts, Australia mainly wanted to tackle the corruption in Papua New Guinea, even though it was not stated straight away. Australia also requested to send a few hundred police officers to Papua New Guinea to strengthen the law and order in the country. The Papua New Guinea government saw the play as degrading and Somare reacted very hard. After lengthy negotiations, however, the two governments agreed that about 230 police officers and about 70 officials and lawyers should be sent to Papua New Guinea. Somers, at the end of the year, tried in vain to get through constitutional changes that would give the government a three-year deadline, during which distrustful voting must not take place in parliament. The old deadline of one and a half years was about to expire.