16 Mar 2012

PNG disappointed at Australia sanction threat over election comments

3:03 pm on 16 March 2012

Papua New Guinea's High Commissioner in Canberra says he's surprised and disappointed by Australia threatening sanctions if elections are delayed.

The new Australian foreign minister, Bob Carr, has said any failure by PNG to go to the polls in June as planned would be a shocking model for the Pacific region.

The High Commissioner Charles Lepani has told Nine News PNG has a robust system of democracy.

He says wielding the big stick of sanctions was akin to likening PNG's predicament to that of Fiji's, where military rule has been in place since 2006.

Mr Lepani says the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has pledged a full, free and fair election for late June, rejecting a suggestion from his deputy to delay voting for a year to reduce electoral roll fraud.