Talks with Morrison ‘Insulting’, says PM
Australian approach called condescending
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has hit out at his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison and Mr Morrison’s deputy Michael McCormack for making “insulting and condescending” remarks.
This is after the leaders’ retreat when discussions broke down several times and lasted almost 12
Mr Bainimarama described Mr Morrison’s approach during the retreat as frustrating.
Australia maintained their stance regarding coal - nor did they commit to any target of below 1.5 degrees.
On his Twitter handle, Mr Bainimarama said: “We came together in a nation that risks disappearing to the seas, but unfortunately, we settled for the status quo in our communique.
“Watered down climate language has real consequences – like water-logged homes, schools, communities and ancestral burial grounds.”
He told The Guardian’s Kate Lyons that Mr Morrison was only in Tuvalu to make sure that the Australian policies were upheld by the Pacific island nations. “I thought Morrison was a good friend of mine; apparently not.
“The prime minister at one stage, because he was apparently [backed] into a corner by the leaders, came up with how much money Australia have been giving to the Pacific. He said: ‘I want that stated. I want that on the record.’ Very insulting.” Despite the recently inked Vuvale Partnership between Fiji and Australia, Mr Bainimarama said Mr Morrison’s behaviour would push Fiji and other Pacific Islands to China.
“After what we went through with Morrison, nothing can be worse than him. China never insults the Pacific. You say it as if there’s a competition between Australia and China. There’s no competition, except to say the Chinese don’t insult us. They don’t go down and tell the world that we’ve given this much money to the Pacific islands. They don’t do that. They’re good people, definitely better than Morrison, I can tell you that.
“The prime minister was very insulting, very condescending, not good for the relationship … They [Australians] keep saying the Chinese are going to take over. Guess why? You don’t have to be a highschool graduate to know that,” Mr Bainimarama told The Guardian.
“That’s what was in our official drafts, but your prime minister didn’t want that because it means the Australians will have to come up with a lot of sacrifices. But we’re supposed to be here for the Pacific Islands, not only for Australia.” On his Twitter handle, Mr Bainimarama retorted the remarks made by Mr Morrison’s deputy.
Mr McCormack, while attending a business function in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, had said that despite climate change people living in Pacific island countries would survive.
“They will continue to survive, there’s no question they’ll continue to survive and they’ll continue to survive on large aid assistance from Australia,” Mr McCormack said.
“They’ll continue to survive because many of their workers come here and pick our fruit, pick our fruit grown with hard Australian enterprise and endeavour and we welcome them and we always will.” Mr Bainimarama said: “If this is the Australian government’s idea of a ‘step up’ in its relations with the Pacific, it’s certainly not a step forward. It’s a big step backwards.”
He also told The Guardian: “It’s very insulting, but I get the impression that that’s the sentiment brought across by the Prime Minister.”