#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: The ABC interview that led to Lal being taken in

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The ABC interview that led to Lal being taken in

A leading Fiji academic says the expulsion of Australia and New Zealand High Commissioners is sending a message that the military government is solidifying the nation's sovereignty, and will stand up to the "big bullies" implementing the travel bans.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Dr Brij Lal, Fiji citizen and expert on Fiji politics from Australian National University

LAL: This doesn't come as a surprise at all. I think Fiji was looking for an opportunity to, in quotes, 'teach Australia a lesson' for the position it has taken against the military regime here. I mean what the Australian consular officials did in Colombo was simply to reiterate Australia's longstanding policy which was that bans will be imposed on those who choose to serve in the interim administration. So two things are happening here. One, the message being sent to the Fiji people, the people of Fiji is this military government is standing up for the sovereignty of the country, defending its honour and reputation. And secondly, in the South Pacific region, this sends that Fiji is standing up to the two big bullies, Australia and New Zealand. So there is a domestic gallery to which the interim government is playing.

COUTTS: Is there an argument, the recently appointed Chief Justice Anthony Gates, claims that Australia and New Zealand are actually hostile in their interference in the judiciary. Transparency International recently says they do have an argument that their bans are perhaps interfering in the judiciary, not allowing the judges and the legal staff to travel backwards and forwards freely. Is there an argument there?

LAL: Well, I think the whole question of who is hostile to whom can be debated. What the interim administration is saying that they want to place good people on the bench and that the policy of Australia and New Zealand banning these people, in the event that they take up these positions is hindering the effective performance of the judiciary. It is not only our foreign judges who are not taking up positions on the bench, even local judges. Quite a few of them were sacked, summarily after the abrogation of the Constitution. Even they are not going back to the bench. So I think there is a larger question here about peoples confidence in the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.

COUTTS: Now Stephen Smith, Australia's Foreign Minister, says that they will consider and may announce a proportional response to the expulsion of Australia's High Commissioner to Fiji. What could a proportionate response be?

LAL: I really have no idea, because here we have no news of what's happening. The blog sites are all blocked, the newspapers are censored, radio and television news censored, so we don't have any sense of what the international reaction is going to be. Certainly Fiji's High Commissioner, acting High Commissioner to Australia, is returning home. Who knows what else might follow. For example, the Consular General in Sydney. Fiji has a number of important trading links with Australia. I just hope that commonsense will prevail. I mean this is a kind of a knee jerk reaction really. One gets a sense that they shoot first and think later. I just hope that when cooler heads prevail, that commonsense will return and that Fiji will restart its dialogues with these countries, with the Pacific Forum, because really there is no other way - Radio Australia


Anonymous said...

Shame on Bhaini-in pajamas, time for Fiji people to take a stand. This man's head must roll!!

Anonymous said...

Na Dina,

So "Baini-in pyjamas" head must roll? You're already off yours so he can join you in the corner.

Better change your name to Na Lasu.

Son of Fiji said...

I live in Fiji, and I can tell you the blog sites aren't blocked.
Who's fooling who?
Brij know's full well that the only thing censored here is political crap, and so it should be.

Anonymous said...

"they shoot first and think later"...."they were looking for an opportunity to teach Australia a lesson"..."a question about peoples' confidence in the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary"...

Oi Brij, can't be too surprised personally to see you receiving some army hospitality up at the camp.

What were you thinking? That you're in a democracy or something?

You can't sit in Canberra sniping at the dictatorship for months on end and expect a salusalu when you do the same thing in Suva.

Anywhere else in the undemocratic world, you'd be beaten to a pulp, locked up and they'd throw away the key.

Just be thankful that all you get in Fiji is a free trip to the airport and a confirmed seat on Air Pac.

It's more than the rest of us get, that's for sure!

Wame Waqa said...

Thank you Dr. Brij Lal, for saying what you said. The world has to know that fiji has a stupid person at the helm. He is willing to throw every tom dick and harry overboad to save his dark soul. I cant undresyand that there are still some people out there supporting him. Well, as they say, " Birds of feathers, stick together" Grow up you guys. Some blogs are really blocked.

Anonymous said...

Yes, no website is blocked in Fiji, although doubtless Frank would do it if he could.

So what gives, Brij? The bigger the BS the more believable?

You've made your bed with your new "mates" in Oz so lie in it. But don't lie to your old gang back home.

Want to play journalist? Well at least get your facts right .

Anonymous said...

Brij goes on about local judges being sacked.

Their jobs went out with the constitution which, as you'll remember, Frank never wanted to get rid of until the Aussie appeal court judges forced him to.

This guy is as shifty as his new mates in Canberra. Tell only part of the story and leave out the main point. And just don't answer the Transparency International question because it doesn't suit your agenda.

Brij, you might be the darling of the ANU today and the Aussie media's latest martyr. But you're a fraud.

Anonymous said...

Blogs aren't technically blocked if you're prepared to wait 20 minutes per page or more for them to download.

But they're effectively blocked.

In any case, everything else Brij said is true. So what's the problem?

The problem is that the truth hurts, and those in control can't take it.

Anonymous said...

oink...oink Mr Na Lasu/aka anonymous,

At the very least, we're not ones to be contsantly looking over our shoulders to chcek whether the 'assigned body guard' might just pull that trigger!!

Piggy's head must rolllllll & we as loyal Fiji citizens with 'blue passport & Fiji imprinted on it' can't wait to see him take the stand just like what happened to good 'ole Saddam H'. oh, by the way, wonderr whether he goes to sleep at night peacefully....tweety birdie says Bhaini in pajamas is having nightmares...ouch

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