Fiame Mata’afa - 'Australia and New Zealand keep telling us that we’re not old enough, not capable enough'
JACK BANISTER | The Citizen
MELBOURNE - Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, has urged Australia and her own country to “become adults” in their relations, which she said have been marred by “petulance” in the past.
“I think we need to have a more mature relationship. Because quite frankly, it’s been one of patronage, in a way,” said Ms Mata’afa, delivering a keynote address last week to a development conference hosted by La Trobe University in Melbourne.
She illustrated her concerns in the context of increasing diplomatic competition between China and Australia within the Pacific region.
Ms Mata’afa, who is the daughter of Samoa’s first prime minister and has served as the country’s deputy prime minister since 2016, said “people keep on telling us, including Australia and New Zealand, that we’re not old enough, we’re not capable enough, to run our own relationships with China.
“When it comes to us, they say, ‘you really need to be, you should remember that we are your older brothers, or sisters, here in the Pacific, and you have to be careful of those Chinese people’ ”.