Julie Bishop to seek clarification on PNG arrival visa ban
24 January 2014
AS PAPUA NEW GUINEA's foreign minister Rimbink Pato confirmed that the decision to change PNG’s visa system has been made and will come into force in March, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop said she will seek clarification on the plan to ban visas on arrival for Australian visitors.
Meanwhile prime minister Peter O'Neill has denied the decision discriminates against Australians.
“There is no discrimination whatsoever,” he said. “We have similar arrangements with other countries and will make sure similar arrangements are in place for other world partners.”
In November Mr O'Neill threatened to withdraw visa-on-arrival arrangements for Australians unless Australia reciprocated.
There has been tension between Port Moresby and Canberra over what many Papua New Guineans believe are unfair visa restrictions on their entry into Australia.
For many years now it has been the most common cause of criticism of Australia in PNG Attitude and is a source of real resentment.
In 2013, about 19,000 visas on arrival were issued to Australians visiting PNG for tourism and business.
Mr Pato said Papua New Guineans should have "some flexibility in travelling to Australia."
"There's so many of our people with interests in Australia in terms of family, in terms of business, in terms of friendships so it is important that this issue needs to be looked at," he said.
It's a pity the Australian emigrants will be negatively affected by this change of policy, however Australia has been practising the same on PNGean travellers so it is fair PNG practices the same.
Posted by: Francis S Nii | 24 January 2014 at 08:04 AM
Australia's attitude to PNG citizens is just yet another sign that although the White Australia policy is officially dead, it is now applied selectively.
Recently I had to contact Malcolm Turnbull's and Tania Plibersek's offices to get a medical visa for the wife of Simon Pentanu.
If some one of the reputation for integrity as Simon has cannot walk into "Fort S*** scared" and have a family or medical visa issued on the spot, then GoPNG have a very real case to argue discrimination.
Posted by: Tim Ashton | 24 January 2014 at 07:07 AM