Sunday, March 18, 2012

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr backs down on PNG comment

Greens leader Bob Brown believes Australia should be offering Papua New Guinea greater assistance in having a fair election, rather than threatening it with isolation.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said last week that failure by PNG to hold its planned mid-year elections would be a 'shocking model' for the Pacific.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr

Senator Carr on Wednesday threatened a sharp Australian response if PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill heeded internal calls to put off mid-year elections.
'We'd have no alternative but to organise the world to condemn and isolate Papua New Guinea,' the senator told Sky News.
'We'd be in a position of having to consider sanctions.'
Senator Carr on Friday issued a statement saying his comments had been 'misunderstood and used out of context'.
In any case, Senator Brown said Australia should support PNG.
'Instead of making the statement Bob Carr made, we should be offering PNG even greater assistance to make sure the election ... is fair, above board and not corrupted,' Senator Brown told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
PNG's Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah has reversed his position on the general election, saying the mid-year poll will now go ahead as scheduled.
Mr Namah inflamed speculation of a delayed poll two weeks ago when he publicly called on Mr O'Neill to delay the poll for 12 months to install anti-fraud election technology and because the electoral roll was only 60 per cent complete.
Senator Brown said there were a lot of concerns about PNG's election process, although he understood 30 observers were going to the country.
He said Australia's nearest neighbour has big problems - the world's second-worst maternal death rate and huge HIV aids problems.
While it has a large resource base, it does mean 'there is potential for money to flow to outside interests, including Australian corporations, at the expense of local people'.
There is also the problem of the takeover of land by foreign companies.

'This election is an opportunity for the people of Papua New Guinea to assert their own control over their own land,' Senator Brown said.
'If their politicians are doing the wrong thing, then throw them out.'
Senator Carr said Australia's approach to PNG is to be supportive.
'PNG is a robust democracy with a proud history of holding elections as provided for under its constitution,' he said

No comments:

Post a Comment