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Australians need an education and information campaign on the Pacific

By Jeffrey Wall - posted Friday, 8 July 2022


This weekend the Prime Minister heads to Fiji for the annual Pacific Islands Forum which brings together the leaders of the forum nations including Australia and New Zealand.

The fact the PM is being called on to cancel the trip by so called experienced and informed commentators shows how poorly informed Australians are on our regional neighbourhood.

Any cancellation would be interpreted by regional leaders as a snub. It is of no relevance to them that he has already made three overseas trips since being sworn in just over six weeks ago.

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This is a vital trip for the PM. It is one he MUST undertake.

Australia is not an observer at the Forum. It is an equal partner. An equal partner in a body that has been fracturing. At least a temporary peace has been achieved.

Australia has a vital role in ensuring that peace continues. We cannot do it by not attending!

At the same time as the Forum meets, China is once again attempting to undermine the Forum full stop. Most Forum members have resisted China's clumsy efforts at locking them into very dangerous "security agreements".

Australia needs to work overtime at the Forum to ensure China fails - again.

China is seeking to have a meeting with Forum Foreign Ministers held around the same time as the leaders meet.

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Australia and New Zealand have a unique opportunity to achieve a united front against China's interference in our region.

Last week the G7 nations set up a multibillion dollar fund to directly counter China's influence.

Australia and NZ need to lead the way in securing for the Pacific a share of the billions. That won't be done if we sideline ourselves from the Forum's premier leaders group.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Wall CSM CBE is a Brisbane Political Consultant and has served as Advisor to the PNG Foreign Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu Prime Minister 1988-1992 and Speaker 1994-1997.

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All articles by Jeffrey Wall

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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