Australia prime minister: Concerns about domestic political instability are 'overly stated'

  • Australia's national policies have not been impacted by the recent change in government, the country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison told CNBC on Monday.
  • "There's a continuity and a stability in the policy agenda being pursued by our government," he said.
  • He added that his government will increase its involvement in the Pacific Islands — a move widely believed to temper China's growing influence in the region.

Concerns about political instability in Australia are "overly stated," the country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison told CNBC on Monday.

Morrison, a Liberal and formerly the country's Treasurer, assumed his new role in August to become the nation's fifth prime minister in five years. His predecessor Malcolm Turnbull lost his title in a leadership vote, becoming the fourth premier to be removed from office by his own party since 2010.

Australia's policies on major areas such as trade, infrastructure investment and defense have remained the same since the Liberal party first took power, Morrison stated. "There's a continuity and a stability in the policy agenda being pursued by our government."

His administration remains committed to open trade and boosting security on areas such as cyber-security, he said.

The country is now bracing for a federal election next year and it's unclear how the ruling Liberal party will fare.

"It's very reasonable to say that we have a big job ahead of us, that's no surprise," Morrison said. He added that he had faith in his party's ability to maintain a strong economy and ensure national safety following Friday's terror incident in Melbourne.

Stepping up Pacific involvement

Going forward, the leader said he plans to increase Canberra's involvement in the Pacific Islands, a resource-rich area that encompasses tiny states such as Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.

"Australia is a principal participant in the Pacific and we are stepping up our involvement there, both strategically and economically and socially as well," said Morrison, who will be heading to Papua New Guinea for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum later this month.

"It's always been a very important part of the world for us and we are significantly expanding what we're doing there."

His government is expected to create a $1.46 billion fund for developing infrastructure in the Pacific — a move widely believed to temper China's growing influence in the region. Beijing's footprint in the Pacific has been expanding in recent years with increased trade, development assistance, infrastructure spending and a steady stream of Chinese tourists who flock to luxury resort islands such as Fiji.

Canberra is also in a unique position to de-escalate any issues in Asia Pacific because it has a strong relationship with the U.S. and China which are both active in the region, Morrison said.

Australia will not be taking any sides in territorial matters such as the South China Sea dispute, he added.

Watch: Australia wants to 'get on with business' with China