11 Sep 2014

Australia apologises to Solomons Deputy PM

8:20 am on 11 September 2014

The Australian Government has apologised to the Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister after its customs and immigration officers subjected him to a body search at Brisbane International airport last week.

Manaseh Maelanga was returning from the Small Island Developing States conference in Samoa when the incident occurred.

Mr Maelanga has accepted the apology but asks that Australia reciprocate the hospitality its leaders recieve when visiting the islands.

"This is something for the future, I think it is good for countries to respect leaders from other countries. When a leader comes over there, treat them like they are a leader. Where they have to go through certain protocols like VIP's and not being searched and all of this."

Manaseh Maelanga

In recent years, Prime Ministers of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and PNG have also been subject to body searches at airports in Australia despite the normal protocol accorded to national leaders.