Thursday, 18 July 2013


The National 19 July 2013 P.19

I am not pleased to read in the media that millionaire trek owner and ex-army transport officer Charlie Lynn has taken Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to task for calling himself a survivor on Kokoda having trekked in 2006.

The Prime Minister may have called himself a survivor to remind us of the deaths on Kokoda in recent years. Please click

Mar 25, 2011 - NO NEED TO DIE ON KOKODA. Trekkers should
know what to expect on Kokoda. They will move with a group of trekkers
who may want to ...
Surely Charlie Lynn was not implying that Rudd had been pretending to be a soldier on the track in 1942. His words are those of a silly non-labor politician shooting off his mouth.

His first effort in past years was to claim in error that Australian soldiers were still buried on the track. This was not true and caused embarrassment.
The Labor Government has given more to the Kokoda Track than any other Government. It is hypocrisy for Lynn to be talking of licensing of operators, legislation and fake medals.
For years, trekking companies including Lynn's company have been bringing trek leaders into PNG on tourist visas to blend among the trekkers. Lynn talks of racial bias on PNG workers coming to Australia. Smuggling trek leaders is racial bias against the PNG Government.
I once trekked Kokoda for Charlie Lynn to survey the needs of schools.  I refused to accept $25 a week to deliver books to trekking companies. A decent wage would have helped the funding of AIDS Holistics with the Positive Living message.
Just what has Charlie Lynn done apart from earning millions and giving token assistance?
Of course porters are exploited and overloaded. That is surely an in-house matter between companies. Porters have been starved and exploited since 1942.
There is so much that trekking companies can do with the millions of dollars earned on the track. Only this week we read of trek owner Pam Christie providing ovens to villagers. Biscuits can be sold to trekkers.
The Kokoda Track Authority has a comprehensive code of ethics on Kokoda trekking.
Trekking numbers have dropped for several reasons. There was a disastrous aircraft crash up the Eora Creek valley. There have been deaths of trekkers. Kokoda is not a Sunday walk in the park.

There has been violence between villagers and damage to bridges and roads from the cyclone. Perhaps the hype has been difficult to maintain year in year out. People can die on Kokoda.

Tourism is dropping across the world, the result of political instability. Even the pyramids in Egypt can no longer attract hordes of tourists. It is safer to stay home.

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