The Australian opposition has promised a big increase in Australian aid to Pacific island nations to end instability in the region.
The Australian Labor Party leader, Kevin Rudd, says a radical rethink of Australia's role in the Pacific would focus on economic improvement to avoid costly military interventions and a flow of refugees to Australia.
He said a Labor government in its first term would undertake auditing and planning with each Pacific neighbour and, if re-elected, it would commit to
a significant investment programme over time.
Labor would seek to reach an overall overseas aid target of 0.5 per cent of GDP by 2015-16.
Mr Rudd also says he is concerned about other nations supplanting Australia as the principal power in the region.