AUSTRALIAN prime minister Tony Abbott arrived in Port Moresby last night on a three day visit to hold talks with prime minister Peter O’Neill.
“Papua New Guinea is Australia’s nearest neighbour,” Mr Abbott said. “We share historical links, democratic values and an interest in promoting a secure and prosperous region.
“Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea is strong and wide-ranging. We cooperate closely on business, trade, aid, security and defence issues. Importantly, PNG is a vital partner in our determination to tackle people smuggling and stop the boats.
“I will join Prime Minister O’Neill for a one-on-one meeting before participating in a meeting with Papua New Guinea’s Cabinet.”
For two hours this afternoon, Mr Abbott will also share afternoon tea with young and emerging Papua New Guinean leaders at the Australian High Commissioner’s residence in Port Moresby.
They include PNG Attitude contributors like Martyn Namorong and Nou Vada, both of whom asked their Twitter followers for advice on what they should talk to Mr Abbott about.
On behalf of PNG Attitude readers, I proposed that Martyn ask Mr Abbott what advice he'd give to Peter O'Neill on the best ways to fight corruption, and also ask the Australian prime minister to offer a few words on corruption to the PNG people.
Martyn has agreed to do this and we will report the outcomes.
During his visit, Mr Abbott will open Australian funded facilities at a Port Moresby school, visit an Australian funded vocational training program at Port Moresby City Mission, meet with Australian Federal Police officers and lay a wreath at Bomana War Cemetery.
Sports Minister, Justin Tkatchenko, said the purpose of Abbott’s visit is “to create new relations for the benefit of PNG and Australia as the Australian government has a different way of looking at things.
“I am sure that visa issues will be on the agenda as well as the Manus asylum seeker camp, Mr Tkatchenko said. “They will have private talks on that.”
Mr Abbott will also visit the new wharf site at Motukea and the Papa-Lealea Exxon Mobil LNG site on Saturday. He leaves Port Moresby on Sunday morning to return to Australia.