Nobody has spoke to us - Manus governor

Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin slams Australia over plans to redevelop a joint naval base on the Pacific island, saying he's never been consulted on the plan that the United States is also backing.

Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin told the ABC's Pacific Beat program that the deal to redevelop the Lombrum naval base was unnecessary and that he does not believe the base serves the interests of locals.

"To be honest PNG is not at war and we do not need any help right now, simply by coming to Lombrum is accommodating the interests of Australia and America," Mr Benjamin told Pacific Beat.

His comments echo those of others from Manus who are critical of the deal, including former MP Ronnie Knight, who told Pacific Beat earlier this month the plan was "bulldozed through" without local consultation.

During the APEC summit US Vice-President Mike Pence said the US would also be involved in the project, with PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill thanking the US for their support.

the Opposition is already considering pursuing legal avenues against the plan, due to the lack of government consultation with the local community.

APEC Navy Base United States MAnus | ten daily

The United States has stunned many in the Pacific, announcing it will partner with Australia in developing a joint naval base in Papua New Guinea.
The revelation was delivered during a stinging speech by American Vice President, MIke Pence at the APEC Summit, warning pacific nations not to accept over-burdensome loans from China -- loans often sneeringly referred to as 'debt diplomacy.'

"Today it's my privilege to announce that the United States will partner with PNG and Australian on their joint initiative on their base on Manus Island," he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier foreshadowed the announcement in an earlier speech, "Australia is stepping up. We will step up. [We are] stepping up to a whole new level."

China would see this as an affront to their strategic ambitions in the Pacific region.

Head of US marine force in Darwin stood down for drink-driving on nightclub strip

US Colonel James Schnelle is stood down from his job of commanding the largest contingent of Marines ever to rotate through the Top End after being caught drink-driving, a Darwin court hears.

Colonel James Schnelle, 48, appeared in Darwin Local Court this morning, charged with medium-range drink-driving.

The court heard he failed a random breath test on Darwin's Mitchell Street in the early hours of a Sunday morning late last month.

No conviction was recorded, but the court heard Colonel Schnelle had been stood down from his job of commanding the largest contingent of Marines ever to rotate through the Top End.

Colonel Schnelle is the highest ranking US Marine in Darwin, and is a decorated commander with three service awards.

"This is a man of very high character, he has no convictions anywhere in the world and has contributed immensely to society," Colonel Schnelle's lawyer told the court. "The US Marines are going to deal with him very harshly." His lawyer said any conviction would affect any assignments or promotions he could hope to get in future.

US Marine charged with violent assault returns to Brisbane

A US Marine charged with the violent assault of a female public servant in a car park at Enoggera has had his bail amended to allow him to return to Brisbane.

Taylor Wyatt Elwood, 20, was arrested at Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane's north-west on July 3 after allegedly dragging the woman, aged in her 60s, out of her parked car and assaulting her.

He was further charged with allegedly assaulting an off-duty police officer who intervened, and wilful damage to the woman's car.

The woman was taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment of facial injuries and later released. In July Mr Elwood was permitted by the court to relocate to Robertson Barracks in Darwin as part of the US Marine Rotational Unit.

Japanese PM to make historic visit to Darwin 75 years after World War II bombings

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a historic visit to Darwin this November to help cement modern day relations with Australia.

Shinzo Abe is scheduled to be welcomed to the Northern Territory by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in November, before both men fly to Port Moresby for the APEC meeting of regional leaders.

Japan's massive $34 billion INPEX gas pipeline project will be the focus of Mr Abe's visit, but closer military ties are also expected to be high on the agenda when the two leaders meet.

Mr Abe's is the first visit to Darwin by a Japanese leader since forces struck the key military port, killing more than 250 people across multiple bombings in 1942 and 1943.

Top end diplomatic tango: Japan and US compete for attention. In mid-November Australia's top end will be the stopover point for regional leaders straddling two major meetings, the East Asia Summit in Singapore and the APEC gathering in Port Moresby a few days later. The ABC can reveal that during the brief period between the two summits, United States Vice-President Mike Pence will stay in Cairns, at the same time that Mr Morrison hosts his Japanese counterpart in Darwin. Mr Pence, who met with Mr Turnbull during a visit to Sydney in 2017, is expected to fly into the APEC summit each day from northern Queensland rather than staying overnight in Port Moresby.