30 Mar 2005

Australian airport explains Somare screening

7:39 pm on 30 March 2005

Brisbane Airport Corporation says it had no choice but to subject the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, to airport security screening.

Sir Michael was returning to Port Moresby from New Zealand when an airport security alarm led to a request that he remove his shoes for x-ray treatment.

Sir Michael says he'll be making a formal complaint to the Australian Government over what he regards as an insult to the leadership of the region.

He's also suggesting that Australian politicians, who are not checked in PNG, may now have to undergo the same procedures.

The airport spokesman, Jim Carden, says in the absence of prior notification through federal officials, or Sir Michael's officials, it had no choice over the security screening.

"We are just the airport operator required under federal law to apply the law equally to everybody, and it's unfortunate when there are these rare occasions when there's a disagreement or a lack of communication about what is required."

Jim Carden.