Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 16:52 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 16:52 | SYDNEY

Australia election: What do the neighbours think?


Fergus Hanson


28 November 2007 15:12

The Rudd election has received a relatively subdued reception in the Pacific press; odd given their strong dependence on Australia.

The Solomon Star reported some hopeful words from the embattled and troublesome PM Sogavare, who appears somewhat ungrateful for the Australian-funded, billion dollar resurrection of his country:

Honourable Prime Minister [Kevin Rudd] as you are well aware the relations between our two countries have not been as warm and cordial as it should be under the leadership of your predecessor. In this regard my government is confident of working closely with your government towards the normalisation of our bilateral and diplomatic relations.

More Pacific reactions follow:

The Fiji Times reports some vague and slightly wishful comments from the country’s latest dictator, Commodore Bainimarama: 

Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama welcomed news of the Australian Labor Party's victory at the polls over the weekend. He said on Saturday night that he knew Labor was leading but did not know that Labor leader Kevin Rudd had won. "With the new government in place we hope to be able to have talks. We will talk about everything that needs to take us forward," he said.

Whatever the Commodore might hope, it seems hard to imagine the Rudd Government giving him any more breathing space than the Coalition did.

In PNG, The National reported guarded comments by PM Somare, who no doubt is waiting anxiously to see what new measures the Rudd Government plans to inflict on his hapless country.  The PNG Post Courier seemed a bit more focused on the practical implications of the victory:

Mr Rudd, while still an Opposition frontbencher, came to PNG and walked the Kokoda Track with Government Minister Joe Hockey. We hope that their down-to-earth experience of us, through the trek, will have given them a more sympathetic backgrounding than they would have received if they had gone the traditional VIP route at Waigani. Perhaps Mr Rudd will have something to say about the plans for mining next to the Kokoda Track by an Australian company. And the prospect of Papua New Guineans going to work on short-term visas to relieve Australian labour shortages.

In New Caledonia, we are reminded (link in French) of an issue that has additional resonance in the low-lying Pacific: climate change.

And finally in New Zealand, Helen Clark took a measured response in her press release on Rudd’s election win,  but the New Zealand Herald  speculated it had implications for New Zealand domestic politics:

Labour and National in New Zealand are both taking some comfort from the massive defeat by Labor over the Coalition Government in Australia - Labour because it shifts Australia to the left and National because of the time-for-a-change factor.

In a separate, not-too-subtle editorial, The Herald puts part of the coalition’s defeat down to climate change and US pandering:

Having declined to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, Mr Howard failed to discern the groundswell that was acted on by other conservative politicians such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Angela Merkel. Instead, he remained fixated on his self-appointed role of faithful sidekick to President George W. Bush.