Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Wednesday defended Australia's high commissioner in the Solomon Islands, saying Australia won't accept his expulsion from the Pacific island country.
The Solomon Islands government alleged that Australian High Commissioner Patrick Cole had been "talking too much to the opposition," and had been expressing his opposition to a government-appointed commission of inquiry into the civil unrest in the Solomons' capital of Honiara in April.
Cole has been declared persona non grata by the Solomons government and is expected to leave Honiara within days.
Howard said Cole had done nothing wrong and was representing Australia's interests by expressing his concerns about corruption in the Solomons.
"We don't accept for a moment the expulsion of our high commissioner Patrick Cole, he was doing the right thing, he was representing the interests of Australia, he was concerned about corruption in the Solomon Islands," he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.
"He's concerned that the proposed commission of inquiry will subvert the legal process and could work to the benefit, improperly, of people who have been charged under the legal system of the Solomon Islands," he said.
Howard was referring two Solomons MPs accused of inciting April 's riots.
The Australian government held serious concerns that the commission would undermine court cases against the two MPs and shift blame onto police, including Australian officers serving in the country.