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ABC News Breakfast -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) British journalist Vaughn Smith

ending that story by Philip

Williams. Richard Myles is the

parliamentary secretary for

foreign affairs and joins us

now from Canberra. Richard

Myles, good morning. Thanks for

your time. What level of

support is the Federal

Government offering Julian

Government is offering exactly Assange? The Federal

the same support to Julian

Assange as it would to any

Australian citizen overseas who

is caught up in a legal

process. We've been monitoring

the process, we have been

making offers to Julian Assange

of consular assistance and we

will continue to do that. I

have heard comments overnight

that Australia ought to be

doing more and because of his

State thrs is a difference in

the way in which we are

treating him. Nothing could be

further from the truth. We are

blind to what has occurred in relation to Julian Assange, all

we see is an Australian citizen

oversea s caught up in a legal

process and we are providing

him precisely the same consular

support we provide to any Australian in those

circumstances. What's the

message from the Americans

given that that's one of the

key issues here is if he is

extradited to Sweden whether in

fact that then leads to an

extradition to the United

States to face espionage

charges? We've been monitoring

the process of the Bradley case

in America, there is a dialogue

with the US and obviously the

content of that is confidential

but that is from the point of

view of providing consular

support to Julian Assange but

at this point in time there is

no indication from the US

authorities or the US legal

system that he is being

indicted and that there would

be an extradition and I know the comments of the US

ambassador in the last 24 hours

are saying in essence had

decision has been made in

London in the last 12, 24 hours is not an issue for

America. Does the Federal

Government need to come out and

Assange, his supporters give their support to Julian

including John pilinger say the

lack of support from the

Federal Government is what's

most wrong with this saga. The

Federal Government and all the

institutions of the Australian

Government is supporting Julian

Assange as an Australian

citizen overseas caught up in a

legal process and he is getting

the support associated with

that and he's getting it in

exactly the same way as any

other Australian citizen in his

Australians caught up in legal circumstances would. For

processes, we don't go into the

rights and wrongs of the

circumstances which have led

them to be in court, what we do

is provide consular assistance to them in the process that

they find themselves in and

that is exactly the support we

are providing to Julian Assange

today. Richard Marls, let's

move on to the Prime Minister's

speech that she gave to the Minerals Council last night.

The PM had the opportunity,

given the fractious

relationship with the industry

at the moment, to take a more

conciliatory approach. Why

didn't she do that? I think

the Prime Minister was making

the case out in a robust way

which is what we would expect

our Prime Minister to do, that

the minerals of this country

are the sovereign property of the people of Australia and

that the role of the Government

is to make sure the benefit

that flows from those, and

there is a considerable benefit

at the moment, flows to every

Australian. I think she's

perfectly entitled to say that

and I think the Minerals

Council dinner is exactly the

place to say that but there can be no doubt about the way in which the Federal Government is

working with the mining

industry to support them in the

role they are - the very good

role they are playing in

relation to our minerals

resources boom but I think it's

also right to make the points

that she did and I think she

did that in a very robust and

upfront way which I think would

have been appreciated by the

Minerals Council but I think is what would have been expected

by any one of the Australian electorate. The mining industry

now is warning of a racist

innue yendo over the

Government's handling of its

enterprise migration

agreements. You're the parliamentary secretary for

foreign affairs, is that of

concern to the Government? I

don't think there is any racist

innuendo at all in terms of

handling of the EMAs. We've

been very clear that the

handling of the EMAs is about

facilitating these projects

occurring. They're massive

projects, they bring to

Australia enormous opportunity

and frankly we've been going

about this in a way which

promotes Australian jobs.

inappropriate about that but There's nothing racist or

nor is there a racist attitude

in terms of saying that we do

want to have EMAs in place which facilitate these projects

being completed and to be

honest, this is not something

which is any different to the

way in which countries around

the world are going about the

exploitation of their minerals

where they have a similar

resources boom so we're doing

this in the way that you would

expect. It's obviously

completely blind to race and I

don't think there is any sense

of that from countries abroad. You haven't experienced

that from any of the discussions you've had with

your counterparts in Asia? Not

at all. Let's move on and

you're going to make a trip to

the Pacific nations shortly.

What do you make of the

situation in Papua New Guinea?

Look, a think the important

point to note in relation to

PNG is that the PNG Government

have made the very important

decision to hold elections on

time and in accordance with the

constitution and the writs were

issued in relation to that now

couple of weeks ago and in all

that has transpired over the

last few weeks and indeed the

last few days, everybody has

been consistent in saying that

the elections must be held on

time. Now, PNG has faced a very

difficult set of circumstances

over the last 12 months.

They've had their - the giant

figure of PNG politics in Sir

Michael Somare who was in

office become unwell, was in

Singapore for a number of months, his capacity to

continue in the job was

unknown, indeed his own family

thought that - and did a press

release saying they thought he

would not be able to continue

in that role. This is a

difficult situation for any

country to deal with. They have

dealt with it in the way that

they have. We have made it

clear we think the constitution has been put under strain in

PNG but the way through this

was always to have elections in

accordance with the

constitution and on time and

that's what PNG is doing and I

think our Foreign Minister

yesterday said that was an

enormous source - or should be

an enormous source of pride to

PNG. I know that it is. Our

focus is on providing all the

support we can to people and

the Government in PNG to make

sure the elections are able to

be held on time and they will

be. You're heading to Samoa to

the celebrations of 50 years of

independence there. How strong

is the relationship between

Australia and Samoa? We have a

very, very good relationship

with Samoa and I think Samoa is

a Government performing

extremely well in the Pacific.

It's a country which is doing

well in terms of their economy

and their development. They are

about to graduate from being a

least developed country and

indeed that would have already

occurred but for the 2009

Samoan tsunami and I think that

event has also been obviously a

very tragic event but a very

significant moment in Samoan

history and a significant

moment in the relationship

between Australia and Samoa as

we provided a significant

amount of assistance to Samoa

in the face of that enormous

tragedy and we did that very

quickly. I was in Samoa not so

long ago where the point was

being made that this was really

a turning point in the relationship between Australia

and Samoa. We're heading - when

I say we, myself and Julie Bishop, shadow foreign

spokesperson, are off tonight

for celebrations tomorrow. It's

a significant moment actually

not just in Samoan history but

in Pacific history because this

is the first country in the

Pacific to celebrate its

independence and so this 50th

anniversary of Samoa's

independence from 1962 I think

is actually a moment to take

stock and look at the whole

Pacific and it will be very

significant gath Ofring the