Published: Sun, January 20, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Australian PM wraps up Pacific tour meant to bolster ties

Australian PM wraps up Pacific tour meant to bolster ties

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, has used Scott Morrison's visit to his country to slam the Australian government's attitude to climate change, pointing out that "here in Fiji, climate change is no laughing matter".

The Australian Prime Minister also highlighted that Australia has committed $300 million in climate and resilience support for the Pacific and in Fiji, Australia has spent $30 million on the climate related events in the last 2 years and something he has assured will continue.

"From where we are sitting, we cannot imagine how the interests of any single industry can be placed above the welfare of Pacific peoples", Bainimarama told Morrison yesterday, though he also congratulated Morrison on stepping up and actually visiting the Pacific, given that no Australian Prime Ministers have travelled there in over a decade.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Australia can not put the interests of one industry ahead of the lives of Pacific islanders.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the coalition government has no climate policy.

"While at the same time respecting the need to address the real impacts of climate change, both here in the Pacific and elsewhere around the world".

"If there is anything that Australia should be known for and I believe is known for, it is that when we make commitments we stick to them", Mr Morrison said today in a speech at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva.

Several NRL teams will play official trial fixtures in Pacific nations over the next three years, after an announcement was made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday morning.

Scott Morrison will not budge on his current stance on clean energy commitments.

When asked Wednesday in Vanuatu whether Australia would caution Pacific island nations about partnerships with China, Morrison said his visit was "not about that".

Mr Bainimarama said the relationship had been "rocky" after his 2006 military coup, but the return of free elections in 2014 had led to a thaw with Australia.

As well, the Vuvale agreement - Vuvale is the Fijian word for family - will see more ministerial and high-level meetings between the two countries, border assistance and training and sport cooperation.

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