Australian envoy to PNG summoned to explain spy scam


Tue 26 Nov 2013

Papua New Guinea
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PORT MORESBY, PNG --- The Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea will be summoned to explain the spy scandal that has rocked relations between Australia and other countres in the region.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told Parliament on Friday that he had instructed Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato to summon the Australian High Commissioner to explain the scandal, seek further clarification on the matter and also to explain PNG’s position on the Manus asylum deal and visa issues.

“It is a well known fact now that Australians have been involved in some intelligence collection work around the region, particularly Indonesia and also some work seem to be taking place in our own country,’’ said O’Neill.

“As I have stated publicly , friends do not do that to their friends and that the Australians respect our sovereignty, respect the rights of individuals especially tapping of phones without proper legal clearance to do so is illegal and we expect our friends to respect our laws.”

The Prime Minister said he had advised the Foreign Minister to bring all these issues up at next month’s Ministerial Forum in Canberra that there was a firm agreement between the two countries that there be no intelligence gathering.

“I have always stated that if anybody wants to participate in our conversations all they have to do is ask. They don’t need to come in uninvited so that will be one of the issues that will be on the Ministerial Forum,’’ he said.

“Why I want him to do that is because I also want to give the Australians the leg up so they understand the issues that are more important to us before we go to that meeting in December. I don’t want that meeting to be another meeting that we say and do things for one year and then come back and meet again, so I want it to be meaningful, results must come out of it and that is why the Minister is now doing the ground work.”

On the issue of the National Intelligence Organsation, Mr O’Neill said NIO had been run down for some time and the government had recently appointed former police commissioner Gari Baki to take charge of the organisation.

“We also have got some intelligence friends from Israel who have come in and done a gap analysis on NIO, so we are now working closely with the Israelis to beef up our intelligence gathering activities so that our country can be informed on a timely manner in terms of our security and intelligence issues.”

He said this when responding to questions from Manus MP Ronny Knight over the spy scandal that had now strained relations between Indonesia and Australia.

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