National

PNG PM arrives for first Australia visit

By AAP Newswire

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has landed in Canberra for his first official visit to Australia since taking over from his predecessor Peter O'Neill in late May.

Mr Marape will receive a ceremonial welcome at Parliament House on Monday before holding separate talks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor Leader Anthony Albanese.

But he will not be addressing the parliament, which on Monday will begin its first full fortnight of sittings since the federal election.

Mr Morrison invited Mr Marape as part of his "Pacific step-up" strategy, aimed at increasing Australia's engagement with its Pacific neighbours through deeper economic and security cooperation.

Australia gives developing PNG more than half a billion dollars in aid each year and Mr Morrison said at the time of Mr Marape's election he was looking forward to working closely with him on "our many shared interests".

But Mr Marape has already made it clear he wants a deadline for ending the offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island.

"We would like it to be ended as soon as possible," Mr Marape says.

Around 450 asylum seekers remain in PNG and another 350 are being held on Nauru.

His visit comes just days after Greens senator Nick McKim tried to visit the Manus Island detention centre, but was deported and told by PNG Immigration officials he hadn't followed appropriate procedures.

Senator McKim denies he had done anything wrong.

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale congratulated his colleague for attempting to shine a light on a "dark chapter in this nation's history".

"What's gone on here is that somebody, a decent person representing the voices of millions of Australians, has sought to shine a spotlight on what are horrific human rights abuses being contributed in the name of the Australian government," Senator Di Natale told ABC television on Sunday.

Thousands of people attended rallies in Australia's major cities on Saturday calling for an end to offshore detention.

Friday marked six years since the Rudd Labor government reintroduced offshore detention for asylum seekers who arrived by boat.

Mr Marape will be accompanied by his wife Rachael and several ministers on his six day tour of Australia.