Australian team to observe referendum

National

AN 11-member Australian observer team will watch the referendum voting and counting processes across Bougainville during the upcoming referendum at the invitation of the Papua New Guinea and Autonomous Bougainville governments.
According to a statement from the Australian High Commission, former Federal Parliamentarian Jane Prentice will lead Australia’s team, which also includes current Federal MPs Ken O’Dowd and Sharon Claydon.
The team includes former Federal MPs Ewen Jones, Harry Jenkins and Gai Brodtmann, current New South Wales Parliamentarians Shayne Mallard and Gregory Donnelly, former senior diplomats James Batley and Ann Harrap, and former Assistant Commissioner of the Australian Electoral Commission Marie Neilson.
Australia has also deployed two Australian Federal Police officers as part of the New Zealand-led regional police support mission.
“The unarmed mission will provide neutral advisory support to the Bougainville Police Service to assist in ensuring a safe and inclusive referendum,” the Australian High Commission said.
“The Bougainville Referendum marks an important milestone for the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement.
“Australia’s observation mission will complement observer groups from eight other foreign nations and organisations.
“We look forward to the peaceful conduct of the referendum, and the announcement of the result in mid-December 2019,” the commission said.

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