29 Feb 2012

Split in Australian Labor party over West Papua meeting

7:12 am on 29 February 2012

The Australian Green Party spokesperson for West Papua says the split in the Labor party over West Papua is disappointing.

Senator Richard Di Natale says the acting Foreign Minister Craig Emerson instructed caucus members to not attend the Greens hosting of International Parliamentarians for West Papua yesterday but was defied by several caucus members.

Mr Emerson told MPs they shouldn't attend the meeting and it was government policy that the province should remain part of Indonesia.

But several angry Labour MPs joined a cross-party parliamentary support group for West Papua despite the warnings.

Mr Di Natale says it's disappointing that there is division over protecting the fundamental human rights of its neighbours in West Papua and says Mr Emerson's stance is cowardly.