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Pacific states ‘angered by Morrison’s cultural insensitivity’

Image: Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison has shown “persistent cultural tone-deafness” in his government’s recent engagements with Pacific Islands nations, a leading Queensland academic has said.

Tess Newton Cain, a researcher in Pacific politics and policy at Griffith University in Brisbane, suggests Australia’s reputation has been “compromised” by Morrison’s antagonism towards climate change initiatives at the recent Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu.

“Since late 2018, Australia has focused a great deal of diplomatic and political energy on a ‘Pacific step-up’ [policy],” she writes in an editorial for East Asia Forum, an online policy blog published by the Australian National University in Canberra.

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