Julie Bishop

Australia to fund new initiatives in Pacific

Julie Bishop said US$6 million would go towards a pilot programme by researchers targetting mosquito-borne diseases in Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati.

The programme uses naturally occurring Wolbachia, a common insect bacterium, to stop mosquitoes from transmitting diseases like dengue, zika and chikungunya to humans.

The rest of the money would go towards initiatives to improve nutrition in the Pacific, such as increasing local production and public health communication.

Bishop confirms Rudd seeking nomination for UN secretary-general

It brings to an end months of speculation over Mr Rudd's bid for the role, currently held by Ban Ki-Moon.

Mr Ban's successor will take office on January 1, 2017.

Ms Bishop said it would be a matter for the Cabinet.

"Kevin Rudd has requested that the Australian Government nominate him and, as the Prime Minister has indicated on a number of occasions, that'll be a matter for Cabinet," she told Sky News.

Bishop promises to use Australia’s influence to push for Pacific key positions

The assurance was conveyed during a one hour dialogue led by Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, on Wednesday morning with ministers from 12 of the 16 Forum Island Countries.

Australia is a key member of the Umbrella Group comprised of Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Kazakstan, Norway, Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United States.

Julie Bishop refuses to elaborate on departure of Stokes

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) confirmed this week that Deborah Stokes departed her PNG post and said she would be taking up another overseas assignment.

Bishop did not give any further details about the unexpected departure when asked at a media conference in Melbourne on Friday.

“These are opportunities for a new high commissioner to be appointed to Papua New Guinea and for the current high commissioner to take up another appointment, and this happens all the time in our missions,” Bishop said.