30 Nov 2007

Mending fences a prime aim for Australia's new secretary for the Pacific

2:48 pm on 30 November 2007

Australia's new Parliamentary Secretary for the Pacific says he will try to mend some fences in the region.

The Prime Minister Elect, Kevin Rudd, has appointed Duncan Kerr to the role, which will involve policy and face-to-face work throughout the Pacific.

Mr Kerr says there's no doubt relationships with some Pacific countries have been difficult.

He says Australia needs to recognise that it needs to use its influence wisely, and with respect for its neighbours.

"We are a significant force in the Pacific, we are the largest and most economically powerful country of our neighbourhood, We have to exercise that power in a way which harmonises with the interests of our neighbourhood, builds constructive relationships and mends some of the damage that has been done in our region by a little bit of ham fisted diplomacy."

Duncan Kerr, Australia's new Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Pacific.