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Back off Julia Gillard, says Peter O’Neill

PRIME MINISTER PETER O'NEILL today snubbed pressure from Julia Gillard and Bob Carr that Papua New Guinea should hold its elections in June, saying the timing of polls was up to PNG.

Australia has repeatedly called on PNG to adhere to the 23 June deadline for elections as set out by its constitution.

Yesterday prime minister Julia Gillard tried to increase the pressure by contacting O'Neill directly.

Her office issued a statement saying they "discussed the importance of holding national elections on time".

Gillard said she "welcomed prime minister O'Neill's statements that he supports the election proceeding on time."

But today O'Neill shrugged all that away.

"We appreciate the support of the Australian government, but it is for us to determine where we go with the elections in the coming months," he told the ABC.

Comments

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Samuel Bariasi

With respect for Australian government, who has been our help since independence, internal state affairs are for our leaders to decide and act upon.

Election issues are our problem to look into because there is not much of a problem which requires international support.

Australian leaders urging us to comply with their requests is way too bossy.

Australia is very influential in our region in terms of foreign policy but whatever national interest it has, it has to respect the sovereignty of other independent states.

I believe our PM made the right decision in telling them to back off.

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