11 Apr 2005

PNG Prime Minister not expected to be subjected to Australian security checks in trip this week

8:54 pm on 11 April 2005

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, is due to transit through Brisbane again this week, but is not expected to face the same security checks he had at the airport last month.

Sir Michael is travelling to New Caledonia for a three-day state visit, during which he will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of New Caledonia.

When returning to Port Moresby from New Zealand last month, Sir Michael passing through Brisbane, and was offended when he was asked to remove his shoes as part of a security check.

PNG has demanded an apology but Canberra has refused.

Port Moresby officials say Australia needs to admit it erred by subjecting a national leader to such a search.

A PNG Government official says Australia has been well informed about the trip to Noumea and he is confident that Australia will not repeat the search of Sir Michael.

Meanwhile, an expert on security, Dr Sinclair Dineen from the Australian National University, says the discontent shown by some over the treatment of Sir Michael may be indicative of a broader resentment.

"And that resentment may also be being stirred up by certain sorts of players on the ground. But I find it hard to imagine that just that one incident would have triggered the kind of broader protest it appears to have done."