AusAID uploaded a video to its YouTube channel last week of the newly appointed Minister for International Development, Melissa Parke, addressing staff and speaking on the importance of the aid program. It’s a short video, worth watching—it appears that in Parke the aid program has found itself a strong advocate within the parliament.
Though she didn’t get an invitation to PNG with the Prime Minister, Parke went with Bob Carr to Solomon Islands this week. While it was speculated that the trip was intended to convince the Solomons government to join up to the new regional asylum seeker solution–which would seem a strange task given Parke’s previous outspoken opposition to immigration detention–no announcement was made. Solomons PM Gordon Darcy Lilo said that his country was interested in a deal though. Other announcements were made on avoidable blindness and Australia’s ongoing support for the country post-RAMSI as Lilo and Carr signed an expanded development partnership agreement that was actually already announced earlier this month.