Australia

New Caledonia govt requests congress session on nickel question

This comes amid a stalemate in mediation talks that followed protests last month by truck drivers over the government's policy to not approve exports of low grade ore to China after a decline in exports to Australia.

The drivers were aligned with small miners and the territory's veteran miner SLN who opposed the stance on the issue by the government's leading party, Caledonia Together.

France TV in New Caledonia reports that six of the eleven members of the collegial government have voted in favor of a special session of Congress on the subject of exports to China.

Plan to ensure Australian fisheries remain best managed in world

Senator Colbeck said the 2015–2020 Strategic Plan represents an evolution in the way the FRDC invests in research, outlines a new focus based on three key national priorities, and empowers stakeholders.

“The Plan aims to drive change to benefit Australia’s fishing and aquaculture sectors more broadly. It will ensure these sectors continue to have excellent performance in environmental sustainability as well as business productivity and profitability,” Senator Colbeck said.

Tuvalu disheartened by Australian climate attitude

Enele Sopoaga, who also chairs the Small Island States group, says he is disappointed by the failure of last week's Pacific Islands Forum meeting to make a stronger statement on climate change.

Australia and New Zealand did not commit to tougher emission targets called for by the SIS.

Mr Sopoaga says Australia's approach at the Forum and joke by their Immigration Minister about climate change have shone a light on their indifference.

Pacific lawyers gather for conference

There are about 1700 lawyers in the Pacific, excluding Australia and New Zealand, and about 100 of them are expected at the two-day conference being run by the South Pacific Lawyers Association.

Its chairman, Ross Ray QC, says the meeting will include sessions on issues such as document drafting, case analysis, commercial law and legal aid.

He says the conference is a good opportunity to promote ties between the different law societies across the region.

Malcolm Turnbull to be sworn in as PM after ousting Tony Abbott

Mr Turnbull won a party room ballot 54 votes to 44 last night, less than six hours after announcing he would challenge Mr Abbott.

The ballot also saw Julie Bishop elected as deputy leader over Kevin Andrews 70 votes to 30 — keeping the position she has held since 2007.

Mr Turnbull, who will now become Australia's fourth prime minister in two years, spoke to reporters outside his apartment this morning.

"It was a long night, and it's going to be a big day today," he said.

Australia inciting Pacific instability with climate change stance

“Australia and New Zealand have shown themselves to be the worst of neighbours with their self-serving approach to climate change. They will be remembered for their callousness in the face of the grave threats facing Pacific islands, as people are forced to leave their land and lose their livelihoods through climate change,” said Ritter.

“Australia and New Zealand have inadequate national targets are, they are frustrating global talks, they are beholden to big polluters - and now they are blocking a united Pacific voice.”

Aust and NZ make no additional commitments on climate change

Leaders of small island states maintained their position of temperature target of 1.5 degrees and loss and damage while Australia and New Zealand refused to budge from the 2 degrees target.

Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga, one of the most vocal leader from the Smaller Island States told PACNEWS despite the Forum position, his country will push for the 1.5 degree target, loss and damage and an ambitious and legally binding target in Paris.

Kiribati's Tong slams Dutton over joke

On Friday, Mr Dutton was making small talk with Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who had just returned from the Pacific Islands Forum in Papua New Guinea.

Noting that a meeting was running late, Mr Dutton remarked it was running to Cape York time, to which Mr Abbott replied: We had a bit of that up in Port Moresby.

Mr Dutton then quipped: Time doesn't mean anything when you're about to have water lapping at your door, a comment caught on a television microphone.

We are co-operating with PNG on Manus case

The three, who worked for a security contractor at the asylum seeker processing centre on PNG's Manus Island, are accused of raping another employee at the Australian-run centre.

Shortly after the alleged rape in July, the three were flown out of the country.

PNG police efforts to have the three extradited have so far been unsuccessful.

PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said the three guards must be returned to be tried under the law in PNG, where rape convictions carry the death sentence.

Australia to give $19million surveillance aid to Pacific Island countries

Prime Minister Tony Abbott revealed this to the media tonight after the Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ retreat in Port Moresby.

“Australia will be increasing its Ariel surveillance of the Pacific (Ocean) and will be committing additional $19million a year so the fisheries (industry) can be properly patrolled and policed,” Abbott said.

Australia will also be giving a new patrol boat to monitor illegal fishing in the PIF nation’s exclusive economic zone. 

He said a “stronger economy is vital and fishing and tourism is a mainstay of Pacific economies.”