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New Vanuatu PM embarks on 68 point plan
After his first 100 days in office, Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil is shaking up foreign affairs.

He's tearing up a defence cooperation agreement with Indonesia, has told China to relocate a major aid project and is revoking the visas of a string of ambassadors.

Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney reports from Vanuatu.
Transcript
JIM MIDDLETON, PRESENTER: JIM MIDDLETON, PRESENTER: The new prime minister of Vanuatu has embarked on an ambitious 68 point plan for his first 100 days in office.

Along with the creation of a climate change ministry and another push to tackle corruption, Moana Carcasses Kalosil is shaking up foreign relations.

He's tearing up a defence cooperation agreement with Indonesia, has told China to relocate a major aid project, and is revoking the visas of a string of roving ambassadors.

Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney reports from Vanuatu.

SEAN DORNEY, REPORTER: One of the first acts of the new prime minister of Vanuatu was to haul his cabinet ministers, senior officials and even the diplomatic core out of the capital Port Vila to a part of the country they don't often visit the northern most province of Vanuatu which borders the Solomon Islands. It’s the first time that has been done and they held meetings with community leaders.

But Moana Carcasses Kalosil is used to breaking the mould. He is Vanuatu's first non-indigenous prime minister. He was born in Tahiti and his parents moved to Vanuatu in 1965, when it was still a colony jointly administered by France and Great Britain.

MOANA CARCASSESS KALOSIL, PRIME MINISTER OF VANUATU: I went to school here. Then my father was sick, the age of 14 I had to stop school and I start to look after the plantation. So I am a self taught man, with a lot of experience with whether it is building a road, whether it is to build a house or whether it is to manage a company.

SEAN DORNEY: He became prime minister by leading a mass defection in late March from a loose coalition government of six parties and independents that was patched together five months earlier after Vanuatu's national elections.

The then prime minister, Sato Kilman resigned, knowing he would lose a vote of no confidence.

Although Mr Carcasses's party, the Greens Confederation, is quite small, he convinced the two oldest parties in Vanuatu he could hold a new coalition together with their support. At the moment this coalition has a significant majority.

MOANA CARCASSESS KALOSIL: I have the support of the main two parties from independence, which is Vanua’aku Pati and UNP(Union des Partis Moderés). They decided to support me not only because of (inaudible) I think on the quality of leadership -omeone that can bring everyone together.

SEAN DORNEY: Back in the capital of Port Vila, the remnants of the former Government held a public news conference at which some supporters advocated a constitutional change to prevent naturalised citizens becoming prime minister.

But the new opposition leader, Ham Lini, does not agree.

HAM LINI, VANUATU OPPOSITON LEADER: I have very good relationship with him. And I think he is somebody who can do something.

SEAN DORNEY: The opposition leader is critical though of the cost of taking the whole cabinet and senior bureaucrats to the provinces. He questions whether it provides real benefits for the people or if it is just a stunt.

But prime minister Carcasses invited some of those with access to funds - the heads of diplomatic missions who provide aid to Vanuatu.

Australia's High Commissioner, Jeremy Bruer, opened a finance office funded by Australia's aid agency AusAID.

(Footage of Jeremy Bruer opening finance office plays)

(Jeremy Bruer speaks in Pidgin)

SEAN DORNEY: The donors were presented with a list of projects in need of funding, and a church youth group closed off the meeting with a song saying their province was poor, but the donors could solve all their problems.

(Footage of church youth group singing plays)

LYRICS (subtitled): But today with the help of the donors in Vanuatu we hope our dreams will come true.

SEAN DORNEY: The prime minister has invited all the representatives of the aid donor countries to come to this northern most province to see what they can fund. But there’s a notable exception - the Chinese ambassador is not here.

The reason is probably here back in Port Vila. This open ground, right next to the national parliament, was being prepared by a Chinese construction company to build a massive convention centre for Vanuatu through Chinese aid.

Prime minister Carcasses has stopped the work, and told the Chinese government it must be built elsewhere.

MOANA CARCASSESS KALOSIL: Majority of the citizens of (inaudible) are asking us ‘what are you doing government? We don't want a convention centre here. This is why we are requesting the people of the Republic of China, the government of China to relocate.

HAMI LINI: What that means is that they can't do the whole thing. But not only that but also it will ruin the relationship with Vanuatu and the Chinese government

MOANA CARCASSESS KALOSIL: What we want is for, and I’m sure the government of China want that, is their investments, their investments they satisfy the people first, not political leaders or someone else like this.

SEAN DORNEY: Another project that has been cancelled is a defence cooperation agreement with Indonesia, under which Indonesia was supplying uniforms and other assistance to the Vanuatu police.

Mr Carcasses has long been supporting of the Melanesian people of West Papua who want independence from Indonesia and claim they are being oppressed.

MOANA CARCASSESS KALOSIL: I remember calling the then commissioner of police saying ‘you are going to sign an agreement with the people who are killing the West Papuans. Are you going to sleep at night?’

SEAN DORNEY: The Free West Papua Movement has an office in Vanuatu and they are delighted.

UNIDENTIFIED FREE WEST PAPUA MOVEMENT MAN (subtitled): The government of Vanuatu makes it clear its position that Melanesia is only for Melanesia. Indonesia not allowed to come here whatever form. Whatever bilateral negotiation agreement with Indonesia, we must cancel it.

SEAN DORNEY: Also in Sola, prime minister Carcasses announced to foreign diplomats that he was revoking the diplomatic passports that the previous government gave to a string of roving ambassadors.

One of them was the roving ambassador to Russia, who struck a deal to get 15 per cent of whatever aid money she could attract. Nauru got money from Russia for recognising break away provinces of Georgia, and for a while it seemed Vanuatu would recognise one of those Abkhazia.

MOANA CARCASSESS KALOSIL: The Vanuatu foreign reputation went down and down. Lots of passport was given to strangers, more than 187. I am glad to announce that we the council of minister decided to a recall of those people, recall all the passports. And now we are doing an amendment of the act, the passport act that only a citizen of Vanuatu can possess a diplomatic passport.

SEAN DORNEY: Heading a government in Melanesia is no simple task. Mr Carcasses has already sacked his finance minister for allegedly negotiating with the opposition. But Vanuatu's first naturalised citizen prime minister is confident he’ll stay in power until the next election.
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