27 Aug 2005

Indian parliamentarian dodges Australian stop for Fiji trip

7:35 am on 27 August 2005

The speaker of India's lower house of parliament will travel a longer route through Japan to Fiji to avoid being frisked at airports in Australia.

The veteran lawmaker, Somnath Chatterjee, is due to leave India for Fiji on Tuesday and says he'll travel via Tokyo but not through Australia" to avoid being searched.

He will travel to Fiji for a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting, which is due to hold elections for a new chairman on 2nd September.

In April, Mr Chatterjee called off a visit to Australia because Canberra refuses to exempt VIPs from security checks.

In March this year, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Michael Somare complained to the Australian government after being asked to remove his shoes during a Brisbane Airport security check.