3 Oct 2011

Australia's Rudd criticises opposition about PNG links

7:07 am on 3 October 2011

Australia's foreign minister Kevin Rudd has taken a swipe at the federal opposition over its past dealings with Papua New Guinea during the final leg of his two-day visit to Australia's closest neighbour.

Mr Rudd dismissed comments from his opposition counterpart Julie Bishop about rebuilding the relationship between the two nations based on an economic and strategic partnership, instead of one based on aid.

He says he finds it a little bit ironic that the opposition begins to lecture this government about how to deal with Papua New Guinea.

Within three months of becoming prime minister, Mr Rudd visited PNG as his first official overseas trip, while his predecessor John Howard waited three or four years to visit the former Australian territory.

Mr Rudd says he did not discuss the Manus Island detention centre in any great detail during talks with the PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and Foreign Affairs Minister Ano Pala.