Scott Morrison defends handling of Pacific relations after Trevor Sofield incident

Scott Morrison has defended his handling of relationships in the Pacific after a campaign intervention from a former Solomon Islands high commissioner thrust the issue back into the election spotlight.

Trevor Sofield, who was Australia's first high commissioner in Honiara, was bundled away from Mr Morrison as he attempted to raise concerns about the Solomon-China security pact during a campaign pit stop in northern Tasmania.

"You've lost my vote because of the way Australia has mishandled the relationship with the South Pacific," Mr Sofield told reporters after the incident.

Campaigning in Melbourne on Friday, Mr Morrison said he only learnt that Mr Sofield was at the event after he had left.

He dodged questions about whether the former diplomat had been disrespected, insisting he was following security protocols when he was whisked away from the event.

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Mr Morrison defended his handling of relationships with Pacific nations, an issue that has been called into question after Beijing struck the security pact with the Solomon Islands.

The Prime Minister recounted a discussion he had with Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, where he admitted that Australia hadn't treated Pacific nations with respect.

"I said to Frank, 'Frank, I know that Australia has not always done it the right way in the Pacific'," he said.

"'In the past Australia has acted like a bit of a colonial overlord and stomped around and I don't think it's treated the Pacific people and families with respect'. And he agreed with me."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is campaigning in Melbourne as the campaign enters its final stretch. Picture: Simone De Peak

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is campaigning in Melbourne as the campaign enters its final stretch. Picture: Simone De Peak

This story 'Australia hasn't always done the right thing': PM defends handling of Pacific relations first appeared on The Canberra Times.