10 Sep 2004

Claims of Australian phone bugging in PNG - paper

2:45 pm on 10 September 2004

There are claims in Papua New Guinea that the Australian police have bugged telephone lines in the capital.

The Post-Courier newspaper quotes sources as saying that telephone dropouts in Port Moresby last month were caused by the Australian Federal Police setting up a possible bugging system.

The newspaper reports the sources as saying that equipment was installed at the telephone exchanges in Port Moresby in order to track conversations on telephone lines belonging to government departments, including that of the Prime Minister.

The Post Courier reports an Australian High Commission official Matt Anderson as saying, Australia doesn't comment on intelligence and security matters relating to other countries.

The newspaper reports a number of PNG government officials, including a senior officer and security officials from the Department of the Prime Minister, have confirmed the installation of the eavesdropping devices.

It reports that legislation recently enacted by the Government on the so-called Enhanced Co-operation Programme could allow the bugging of telephones if state security was at stake.