1 May 2006

Disclosure of Australian view on Solomons politics prompts official to be sent home

1:19 pm on 1 May 2006

An Australian official has been sent home from Solomon Islands after writing a private email suggesting Australia tried to influence the choice of prime minister before riots broke out in the capital Honiara.

The email refers to a conversation the official had with the Australian High Commissioner, Patrick Cole, who the writer said had spoken to caretaker foreign minister, Laurie Chan, and his father Sir Thomas Chan.

The Chans had reportedly assured Mr Cole that Mr Rini would not be elected as prime minister.

The official's email said the candidates for the prime ministership two weeks ago, Mr Rini, Job Dudley Tausinga and Manasseh Sogavare were depressing choices and things did not look good for RAMSI.