MEDIA STATEMENT

20 May 2019

Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch today congratulated Australian Prime Minister,
Hon. Scott Morrison, on his sound general election victory over the weekend.
Mr Pruaitch said Mr Morrison’s victory was due to Mr Morrison’s decisive leadership
style and his ability to convince Australian voters of the importance of good
management of the Australian economy in these uncertain times.
“Countries in the Asia-Pacific, including Australia and PNG, could face challenging
times as a result of worsening US-China trade relations, rising tensions in the Middle
East and slowing global growth,” he said.

Mr Pruaitch said in terms of PNG’s strong bilateral relationship with Australia he
would like to see the Australian Government resolve the issue of refugees held in
Manus, most of whom are in poor mental health after languishing there for the last
six years.

“The Australian Government,” he said, “has been aware that the refugee issue has
become problematic following a PNG Supreme Court decision that it was
unconstitutional for PNG to indefinitely hold refugees in a detention centre.
“New Zealand has already offered to take many of these refugees and I hope Mr
Morrison will look closely at that option and other avenues to urgently relocate these
refugees.”

Mr Pruaitch said that in contrast to Australia and other Asia-Pacific nations, PNG’s
economy has performed poorly in the past six years. PNG’s Alternate Government,
which has formalised a Vote of No Confidence against the current PNG Government,
would look to Australia for guidance and support in helping to reinvigorate the PNG
economy.

“Australia has a large aid program that Papua New Guinea is very grateful for and
PNG remains an important market for Australian goods and services,” he noted.