Scott Morrison still planning to visit PNG

Scott Morrison still intends to visit Papua New Guinea despite a political challenge against the country’s prime minister.

Mr Morrison said he was looking forward to visiting James Marape next week and would not comment on the political turmoil.

“I’m not going to speculate on those events,” he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

“It’s my intention to be with prime minister Marape next Wednesday as planned.”

Dozens of PNG politicians crossed the floor of parliament on Friday in a mass defection against Mr Marape.

Several high-profile government members including the deputy prime minister and foreign minister are among those who withdrew support for the government.

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 alliances.

Opposition members used their numbers to suspend parliament while a motion of no confidence targeting the prime minister was prepared.

The PNG leader insisted he had the numbers to stay on, declaring: “It’s not over until it’s over.”

Mr Morrison still plans to fly into the political storm.

“With all of these sorts of things, you monitor events as they unfold,” he told 2GB radio.

“These are reports we’ve also received today, but that’s my plan.”

The prime minister plans to take part in a virtual ASEAN summit this weekend before heading to Japan and then visiting PNG on the way back to Australia.

Mr Morrison wants to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and progress on a vaccine.

He also hopes to watch the State of Origin with Mr Marape in Port Moresby next Wednesday night.

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