31 May 2010

Australians support development in the Pacific

7:15 am on 31 May 2010

A new poll in Australia shows significant public support for the country's foreign policy but underlines a desire for more effort to be made in the Pacific.

The Lowy Institute poll of just over a thousand people shows a strong streak of altruism among the Australian public and a clear willingness to see aid money spent on helping people out of poverty.

The poll supports the large amounts of funding going into Papua New Guinea but also back the maintenance of Canberra's sanctions on Fiji.

And a research fellow at the Lowy Institute, Fergus Hanson, says 61 percent of people say it's very important that Australia improve its relationships with its immediate neighbours in the Pacific.

"I think it shows the importance that the Australian people attribute to building strong relationships with the region and also playing a part in their development."