11 Nov 2005

Australian premier bypassed official farewell at PNG airport

9:35 am on 11 November 2005

MPs in Papua New Guinea have heard that the Australian prime minister, John Howard, bypassed an official farewell after last month's Forum leaders' summit, because of a protocol blunder.

The Foreign Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu told parliament there had been a lapse in protocol arrangements as officials escorted Mr Howard straight to his plane at Port Moresby airport, while the Deputy Prime Minister Sir Moi Avei was left waiting in the VIP lounge.

Sir Rabbie was responding to an angry question from an MP who wanted to know if the Australian delegation had purposely bypassed proper procedures, to board the air force jet on October 27th.

Foreign minister Namaliu said an investigation had been ordered to determine where the breakdown in communications occurred.