Letter to the Foreign Minister

I wrote the following letter to Julie Bishop the Australian Minister for Foreign affairs last week. Sure it would be good for me if my books were sold to PNG but I do believe it would also be good for PNG school students. I will also post the reply to this letter if and when I receive it.

A letter to:–

The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP

Dear Foreign Minister,

I listened with great interest to what you said about aid to Papua New Guinea on the ABC 24 hour program about the 15th of this month. I worked for the PNG Department of Education for eight years and was Australian Team Leader of a science and agriculture education project for AusAID in the Solomon Islands for four years. Since retiring I have authored or co-authored 24 textbooks for Pearson Education Australia for South Pacific, including PNG, schools. It was very disappointing to hear that aid goals are no longer being met.

You are probably well aware that virtually all the books written for South Pacific schools are published by three Australian companies, Pearson Education Australia; Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand; and Macmillan Publishers Australia. These books are written mostly by Australians with experience teaching in PNG schools. Occasionally the books are co-authored with PNG nationals—particularly my books!

I suggest that you simply supply all schools with the books they need. All such books, for PNG in particular, are available now. The supply of actual books (as opposed to money for books) would go a long way to ensuring that the aid goals were met. I am also very aware that distribution is a problem within PNG, but assuring all teacher’s through radio, that books are available, should go a long way to ensuring that they receive them even in the most remote areas.

I think I am correct in saying that very few schoolbooks have been delivered in recent years through Australian Aid and schools must be crying out for suitable books.

You can most easily see all the books I am talking about (from all three publishers) at the Laikim Buk Educational book store here http://www.laikimbuk.com. My small contribution can most easily be seen here also at http://www.laikimbuk.com/products/search?keywords=Brian+Robertson.

I am aware that I benefit financially if Australian Aid is used to buy books that I have authored. But writing textbooks is honest work and it is an honest desire that I and all other authors have to see Papua New Guineans benefit from a supply of decent books for their schools.

I would be delighted to answer any questions you or your staff may have for me on this topic.


Brian Robertson