21 May 2004

Australian government thinktank recommends tougher action in South Pacific

4:46 pm on 21 May 2004

An Australian government think tank has called for Canberra to ask tough questions about the long term viability of some South Pacific states.

An annual assessment by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says after the intervention in Solomon Islands, Australia has decided to take a stronger approach in dealing with South Pacific governments.

The author, Peter Jennings, says their approach may come under fire for being too forceful.

"The Australian policy approach is more muscular, it is going to be more forceful, it contains a higher level of expectation of South Pacific governments in terms of what we think is appropriate for them to do and that is likely to be criticised in some circles for being too powerful but I think it's frankly much more preferable to sitting back and simply watching the region continue to slide into instability."

Peter Jennings of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute