In a speech to the Australia-PNG Business Council,Abbott said a key focus of his meeting with O’Neil was on how to use Australian expertise to make Port Moresby safer.
“I’m disappointed that our 73 police have not been more operational,” he said. “You won’t be surprised to learn that one of the principal subjects that Prime Minister O’Neill and I discussed earlier this morning was making them as operational as possible.”
“PNG has many opportunities but all of those opportunities will be better maximised if we can have as harmonious and tranquil a society as possible.”
Speaking to the media, Abbott said he believed AFP personnel should be embedded with the local authorities instead of playing an advisory role.
“There are some law and order issues in places like Port Moresby. Everyone knows that,” he said.
“Peter O’Neill and the PNG government is determined to use our assistance to make the best possible use of Australian police to help the royal PNG constabulary become more operationally effective and efficient.”
“The important thing I think is to embed Australian police in the PNG police. And, at the moment, our police are advisers rather than participants in policing here in PNG.”
“What we need to come up with is an arrangement which makes them participants, not mere bystanders to actual operational policing in PNG.”
Abbott said he had canvassed some “mechanisms” with O’Neill in their meeting to achieve this objective.