Govt won’t pay kidnappers ransom: O’Connor

The federal government will do what it can to free kidnapped Australian Warren Rodwell but says it is standing by a longstanding, bipartisan policy of not paying ransoms.

Human Services Minister Brendan O’Connor said Australian embassy officials in the Philippines are working with local authorities to do what they can to ensure Mr Rodwell’s release.

“Our focus is on ensuring we can do everything we can for Mr Rodwell in the circumstances,” Mr O’Connor told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

“The embassy is working with local authorities and we should allow them to do that work.

“There’s been a policy, a bipartisan policy, on not paying ransoms, for many, many years.”

Mr O’Connor said it was not in Mr Rodwell’s interests to have his case detailed in the media.

“I think what we need to do as a government is put the interests of Mr Rodwell first,” he said.

“Our concerns are for him and our thoughts are with his family and the embassy will be doing everything they possibly can to ensure his release.”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott earlier declared the government had the full support of the coalition in the Rodwell case.

Mr Rodwell, was taken from his Philippines home on the southern island of Mindanao on December 5.

A video published on Fairfax websites in Australia on Thursday shows the 53-year-old pleading for Australian and Philippine authorities to help his family raise the $US2 million ($A1.93 million) ransom being demanded for his release.

It’s believed the video was made a week after Mr Rodwell was seized and was then sent to his Filipina wife as proof her husband was still alive.

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