Former diplomat to Solomon Islands Trevor Sofield tries to talk to Scott Morrison on election campaign trail

A former High Commissioner to Solomon Islands says he was bundled away from Prime Minister Scott Morrison when he tried to talk to him about the situation in the Pacific nation.

Trevor Sofield was the first Australian representative in the Pacific island state, which has become a focus this election campaign after it made a controversial security pact with China.

Mr Sofield, speaking on Thursday at a dairy products company in northern Tasmania where Mr Morrison was visiting, said he decided he would like to talk to the Prime Minister.


A man blocks former Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Trevor Sofield from speaking to Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Ashgrove Cheese dairy door. Picture: AAP

A man blocks former Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Trevor Sofield from speaking to Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Ashgrove Cheese dairy door. Picture: AAP

"I simply wanted him to know that I was very disappointed, and that's when I found I was surrounded by guys this big," he said indicating the size of the men who approached him.

"I had two other guys on either side of me and then right at the very end, one of his female minders went up to the owner of this establishment and asked her to order me off the premises.

"He grabbed me and pushed me out of the way as I tried to see the Prime Minister."

Mr Sofield, was Australia's High Commissioner to Solomon Islands from 1982 to 1985.

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"What sort of election and what sort of country have we got when a personal citizen can't talk to a Prime Minister who is meant to be on a goodwill visit to meet the electorate - and I'm one of them - and denied the opportunity?," he said.

"You've lost my vote because of the way Australia has mishandled the relationship with the South Pacific," he said of Mr Morrison.

High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Trevor Sofield. Picture: Steve Evans

High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Trevor Sofield. Picture: Steve Evans

Mr Morrison has faced repeated questions about his government's handling of the relationship with Solomon Islands since the nation's security pact with China upended the election campaign last month.

There are concerns the deal could lead to a Chinese military base in Solomon Islands, which is about 2000km from Australia's coast.

Mr Morrison on April 24 said China building a military base in the Solomon islands would be a "red line", but refused to specify how the government would enforce it.

Earlier this week, he said China's ambitions in the region were well known.

"We are very aware of what's happening in our region and of the pressures ... the Chinese government is seeking to put on countries right across our region," he told reporters on Monday.

"I am very concerned, as many other Pacific leaders are, about the interference and intrusion of the Chinese government into these types of arrangements and what that can mean for the peace, stability and security of the southwest Pacific."

- with Doug Dingwall

This story Morrison campaign trail fracas as former diplomat to Solomon Islands tries to talk to PM first appeared on The Canberra Times.