The issue of human rights in West Papua was high on the agenda at the recent Pacific Islands Forum in the Federated States of Micronesia. Despite the sensitivities for member countries like Australia and Papua New Guinea, leaders at the forum also agreed the issue should stay on the agenda for next year's meeting in Samoa.
Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor of Papua New Guinea went on the record to say: 'It's an issue that needs to be pursued and it's not going to go away.
Former Chief of the Australian Defence Force Chris Barrie recently argued that 'Australia's defence force is lagging significantly behind its US and UK counterparts in preparing to deal with the challenges created by a changing climate.'
Barrie says 'Australia's regional leadership and presence — important matters for the ADF — have been overtaken by the highly proactive New Zealand Defence Force and the US Pacific Command in Hawaii, who have been ordered directly by the American government to e
Next month Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will host a meeting of Pacific leaders to discuss Pacific regionalism and the future of the Pacific Islands Forum. The key subtext of the meeting will be the re-integration of Fiji into regional economic, security and political structures, following its 2009 suspension from the Commonwealth and the Forum.
Fiji's September 2014 elections have opened the way for re-engagement with the FijiFirst Government led by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.