CANBERRA, 18 MAY 2017 (ABC) — The President of the Marshall Islands has questioned Australia’s standing in the Pacific over its inaction on climate change.


Dr Hilda Heine delivered this year’s ST Lee Lecture at the Australian National University in Canberra on the topic “Climate Change Crisis”.


“It is hard to explain the feeling of being the President of a country reading a report that supposedly condemns your country to oblivion,” she said.


Dr Heine said Australia is risking its reputation as the world looks to reduce carbon emissions.


“Now is not the time to be debating the science, trashing solar power, or building new coal mines,” she said.


“I can assure you it does influence the way Australia is viewed in the Pacific.”


Dr Heine also took aim at Australia’s freezing of its foreign aid budget, comparing the country to an older sibling bullying its younger brothers and sisters.


“This not only does your country disservice, it openly weakens your ability to be a force for good on the world stage.” [/restrict]