Morrison cancels Papua New Guinea trip

Andi Yu
·1-min read

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has cancelled his visit to Papua New Guinea after some of the country's minister switched to the opposition causing a leadership threat.

Mr Morrison's office confirmed the cancellation on Saturday saying he had deferred the visit after PNG prime minister James Marape asked him to.

The disgruntled PNG ministers have cited growing economic worries facing the indebted Pacific nation.

Mr Marape has been in power for just 18 months, after replacing long-serving leader Peter O'Neill in a similar process that involved prominent government ministers switching sides.

Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil and Foreign Affairs Minister Patrick Pruaitch are among those who withdrew support for the government on Friday, as opponents used their numbers to suspend parliament and start drawing up plans for a vote of no confidence that could oust Mr Marape.

Mr Marape said in a Facebook post that he would not be easily removed.

"It's not over until it's over, leadership has its moments," he said.

Mr Morrison was due to meet Mr Marape in PNG next week.

Opposition Leader Belden Namah called on Mr Morrison's visit to be deferred, telling PNG's national newspaper it was "bad diplomacy" and was "tantamount to an attempt ot influence PNG's political process".

"The visit should be deferred until the motion of no confidence has been tabled and the process of electing a new prime minister is completed.

"There are other matters that Morrison should consider before he comes to Port Moresby with cash and candy to support Marape's political survival," Mr Namah said.