30 Apr 2005

PNG parliament told country should look to Asia, not Australia

6:12 am on 30 April 2005

An outspoken provincial governor in Papua New Guinea has made a scathing attack on the Australian government, in a speech to parliament.

The news agency, Australian Associated Press, reports the Morobe provincial governor, Luther Wenge criticised Canberra over its response to an airport security search conducted on the PNG Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, at Brisbane Airport.

Mr Wenge told parliament yesterday that the government should look to Asia, not Australia, for the future development of PNG.

He has launched a constitutional challenge to the immunity provided to Australian police and other personnel in PNG under the Enhanced Cooperation Programme, aimed at improving law and order, financial accountability and national security.

On the 24th of March, airport security officers at Brisbane asked Sir Michael to remove his shoes during a routine customs check whilst he was transiting through after a trip to New Zealand.

Sir Michael has described his treatment an insult to leadership in the Pacific but has appealed to the people of PNG not to pursue the issue further.