Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Peacock could help break political impasse in Pacific region.



Download PDFDownload PDF

Bob Sercombe MP

Shadow Minister for Overseas Aid and Pacific Island Affairs

Peacock could help break political impasse in Pacific region 17 October 2006

The Office of National Assessments has described the Pacific region as Australia’s most immediate foreign policy challenge.

Fiji warned this week that the poisonous diplomatic row between Australia and the Solomon Islands, which has spread to Papua New Guinea, threatens regional stability.

It is clear that Australia’s relations with key Pacific Island neighbours have reached a political impasse.

Nobody disputes that corruption must be addressed in these countries. Nobody disputes that the rule of law must prevail.

But Labor believes that an urgent circuit breaker is needed.

There are many serious statesmen in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, who together, might be able to chart a path forward.

Former Liberal Minister Andrew Peacock - who is widely respected and experienced in the region - would be ideally suited to chair such a group of eminent persons to get relations in the region back on track.

Today, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Overseas Aid and Pacific Island Affairs Bob Sercombe will address the issue as a Matter of Public Importance in Parliament after Question Time.

“We need a circuit breaker to overcome the animosity that has developed, particularly with Papua New Guinea,” he said.

“Unless there is some genuine attempt to repair this damaging row, then Australia may come to deeply regret the depths to which these relationships have sunk.”

Contact: Sue Cant 0419 177 560

October 17 2006