PNG Parliament pays respects to Gough Whitlam

MEMBERS of PNG Parliament yesterday stood in silence for one-minute in respect for a great Australian leader and prime minister Gough Whitlam who granted PNG Independence in 1975.
The first order of the House was through a motion by Leader of Government Business who moved that the House, especially leaders including the current Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and former prime ministers Sir Michael Somare and Paias Wingti pay tribute to the Aussie statesman who died on Tuesday, aged 98.
Mr O’Neill expressed the nation’s gratitude for the role Whitlam played in PNG’s attainment of independence in 1975.
Gough Whitlam was appointed as the Honourary Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu that carries the title of Chief, in recognition of his role in supporting PNG to attain sovereignty and his enduring support to the development of the nation.
Mr O’Neill said the people of PNG forever appreciated the steadfast support that Whitlam gave to the nation’s move towards self-government and ultimately independence.
"When he became prime minister, Gough Whitlam worked closely with our then chief minister Sir Michael Somare and other founding fathers to deliver self-government in 1973 and independence two years later.
Pais Wingti described Whitlam as a visionary who could read the world and during the Cold War period noting that China would play a very important role in the region.
"Gough Whitlam was a great leader of our region. He was also able to recognise the indigenous people."
Mr Wingti said Whitlam travelled to PNG as opposition leader in 1968 and everywhere he went, including Rabaul and Mt Hagen, everybody wanted Independence, and he responded that "whether you like it or not, you will have it."
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