you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

Papua New Guinea attacks Australian opposition party for disrespect

Peter O'Neill and Kevin Rudd

Peter O’Neill and Kevin Rudd

Papua New Guinea has warned Australian politicians to show it more respect, a day after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott went on the attack over foreign aid flowing to the country.

Mr Abbott had accused Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of subcontracting out the nation’s aid program to PNG as part of the asylum seeker processing deal, questioning whether this “free gift” would be spent accountably and prudently.

The PNG High Commission in Canberra issued a brief statement on Wednesday urging politicians to show restraint in their comments.

“The High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea to Australia, today warned Australian politicians to observe international protocols and courtesies when discussing relations with other friendly sovereign nations and not impugn the dignity of our leaders who are attempting to assist Australia in this very complex regional and international issue of Asylum Seekers,” the statement said.

The media release, issued by High Commissioner Charles W Lepani, did not name Mr Abbott or specify any other politician it was aimed at.

But it came after a day of political argy-bargy in Australia over controls on Australia’s foreign aid to PNG. The prospect of greater foreign aid to PNG is linked to Mr Rudd’s deal, last Friday, to send all asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat to PNG.

Mr Abbott said on Tuesday the Rudd government appeared to have “subcontracted out to PNG the management of our aid program at least in that country”.

“Now it seems we are basically just handing over cash to the PNG government. Australian aid should never be a free gift to a foreign government,” he said.

Mr Abbott’s deputy and foreign affairs spokeswoman, Julie Bishop, said PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill seemed to believe Mr Rudd had agreed to hand over “absolute and total control to Papua New Guinea”.

“In relation to the half a billion dollars that is provided to PNG, which is estimated to be $507 million next year, how is that money to be allocated and what say does the Australian government have over issues such as accountability, governance and transparency?” Ms Bishop said on Tuesday.

The attack came after Mr O’Neill boasted on Monday that he had achieved a “realignment” of the country’s aid program from Australia with the PNG government setting the priorities.

Following the PNG High Commission’s statement on Wednesday, Julie Bishop sought to emphasise the Coalition’s issue was with Mr Rudd’s truthfulness, not with the PNG government.

“Our concerns are with Mr Rudd’s behaviour and his failure to be open and honest about what he has promised under this arrangement.”

Mr Rudd confirmed on Wednesday the government would adjust development assistance “to support our friends in Papua New Guinea”.

But he described Mr Abbott’s claims about cash grants to PNG as a “wild political assertion in order to obtain political office”.

“What he said was that the Australian government was providing unaccountable cash grants to the government of Papua New Guinea,” Mr Rudd said during a visit to a Melbourne school.

“That is a bald-faced lie … Every single dollar that we provide any country in the world through development assistance cooperation is done on the basis of that bilateral agreement, which we monitor the implementation of, to ensure that it is spent on the right purposes: hospitals, schools and the rest.”

The Australian National University‘s leading PNG/foreign aid specialist, Professor Stephen Howes, told Fairfax Media’s Breaking Politics program it was normal to have dialogue between the country giving the aid and the country receiving the aid.

Professor Howes said Australian aid had largely been focused on maintaining existing infrastructure such as roads, but PNG wanted the aid to be targeted towards building new infrastructure.

Debate over the PNG deal came as Indonesian authorities searched for survivors after the sinking of an asylum seeker boat off the coast of Java believed to be heading for Australia.

Indonesia’s Search and Rescue Agency said on Wednesday 161 people were rescued of which 115 were adults and the remainder were children. At least four were confirmed dead. The fatalities are believed to include young children.

Mr Rudd said the tragedy underlined the need for his hardline new policy to deter boat arrivals.

Mr Abbott argued Mr Rudd had started the problem by unwinding the Howard government-era Pacific Solution in 2008 and only the Coalition could be trusted to deal with the issue.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald – In veiled swipe at Tony Abbott, PNG lashes Australian politicians for ‘impugning the dignity’ of its leaders

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.



  1. Pingback: Australia provides Papua New Guinea extra funding | Craig Hill - July 30, 2013

  2. Pingback: Australia to continue Papua New Guinea asylum seeker scheme | Craig Hill - September 9, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 15,358 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

United States outmanoeuvres Russia once again? 

United States outmanoeuvres Russia once again? 

In a recent briefing, the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Avril Haines warned, “I would characterize it as the Russians aren’t winning, and the Ukrainians aren’t winning, and we’re at a bit of a stalemate here.” So, where is the Russia-Ukraine war heading? What is Russian President Putin planning next? Is Europe ready for […]

China is defying global order to expand power, US admiral warns

China is defying global order to expand power, US admiral warns

The Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are destabilizing international order in an effort to expand their global power, Adm. John Aquilino, commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, warned lawmakers during a House hearing on Tuesday. In his written testimony submitted to the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Adm. Aquilino explained that the Department […]

China – Autocracy and decoupling technical tests

China – Autocracy and decoupling technical tests

We have noticed that the embrace with China had become suffocating in the last twenty years. The West universe of consumers and China the factory of the world. We started with modest and low value-added materials and products, to refine the trajectory and revolution to the most refined and complex technologies, such as 5G and […]

Four ways China is growing its media influence in Southeast Asia

Four ways China is growing its media influence in Southeast Asia

As President Biden welcomes leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to a special summit this week in Washington, D.C., his administration is affirming Beijing as the U.S.’s main rival and underscoring the region’s importance in U.S.-China competition. The two-day event is part of the U.S effort to woo ASEAN members caught in a […]

Confronting Russia will deter China, says Japanese defense minister

Confronting Russia will deter China, says Japanese defense minister

A strong international response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is critical to deterring China from embarking on territorial conquests in Taiwan or the South China Sea, said Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. “China has been carefully observing the current situation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and they are paying particularly close attention to what […]

How Russia-Ukraine copied Finland war without lessons

How Russia-Ukraine copied Finland war without lessons

Finland is a unique country with a distinct language and culture. However, its possession was always contested between Sweden and Russia. Though Finland mainly remained under Swedish control in 1809, it was annexed by Russia. Using the end of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution in late 1917, Finland declared its independence from the […]

China plans system to take out asteroids hurtling toward earth

China plans system to take out asteroids hurtling toward earth

China plans to develop a system for monitoring asteroids that pose a threat to earth, highlighting the nation’s growing ambitions for its space program. The country will also explore ways for taking out asteroids that endanger the planet, Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the China National Space Administration, said in a TV interview, according to […]

Russia-Japan tensions flare anew over the Kurils

Russia-Japan tensions flare anew over the Kurils

Formally, Russia is not at war with Ukraine, where it claims to be conducting a so-called “special military operation.” But with Japan, given that Moscow and Tokyo never signed a peace treaty officially ending World War II, the two Asian neighbors remain technically at war. And after Japan recently described four Kuril islands whose ownership […]

Solomon Islands has Washington in state of alarm after a security pact with China

Solomon Islands has Washington in state of alarm after a security pact with  China

A tiny island chain in the South Pacific has Western governments scrambling after it agreed to a security pact with China that the United States and its allies fear could enhance Beijing’s military power in this strategically important region.  The deal between China and the Solomon Islands, a nation of 700,000 people that had deadly […]

China says its ‘future helicopters’ will be equipped with ground-breaking technologies

China says its ‘future helicopters’ will be equipped with ground-breaking technologies

Militaries all around the world are looking at integrating modern technology into their military weapons. China, as usual, appears to be making serious efforts to prepare for the future battleground, this time, with plans to include artificial intelligence and high-speed features in its future choppers. During a recent public lecture, a prominent Chinese military helicopter […]

%d bloggers like this: