#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Rudd needs to change attitude towards Fiji - study

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rudd needs to change attitude towards Fiji - study

Australia should "eliminate some of the negatives" in its bilateral relationship with Fiji's military regime, a new study suggests.

A paper released by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), says the Fiji government's attitude had hardened in the face of international condemnation.

Author Professor Richard Herr of the University of Fiji said there was no guarantee Fiji would respond in a manner that would satisfy the Australian government.

The current approach had produced an impasse with no suggestion that Fiji was about to back down.

Professor Herr said short of a regime change in Fiji, Australia could either wait for events to take their course or re-engage at a political level.

"...it is time for a fresh approach by Australia to prepare the grounds for a more effective re-engagement with the government of Fiji," he said.

"For this to occur, there's a need to eliminate some of the more important irritants that have festered for three years and have intensified feelings of distrust within the Fiji Government."

Fiji has experienced four military coups since 1987 - the most recent in December 2006 put Commodore Frank Bainimarama in power.

Last year he abrogated Fiji's constitution, subsequently announcing a timetable for constitutional change but no elections before 2014.

Australia responded strongly, expelling diplomats and imposing travel bans.

Fiji is suspended from the Pacific islands Forum.

The result has been an increasingly rancorous relationship.

Professor Herr said Australia could seek to improve the relationship in a number of ways.

They included amending Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum so that it was only barred from forum-only events.

Both the former and present Australia governments have expressed their disapproval of Fiji's actions in the strongest terms.

But Professor Herr said the diplomatic temperature could be reduced if Australia eased back on provocative rhetoric.

Australia could also make its sanctions smarter by easing travel bans on Fijian officials and their families. The consequences of these bans have included banning some Fijian students from coming to Australia and stopping a Fijian footballer from joining the Australian Football League.

The defence relationship was an early casualty.

Professor Herr said it made no sense for Australia to refuse to have any connection with the one Fijian institution that holds effective power.

He suggested tensions could also be eased by working cooperatively on matters such as search and rescue and disaster relief.

"Hopefully, the Bainimarama government will respond in a positive fashion," he said.

"The process of re-engagement has to begin somewhere, sometime by someone to produce a more productive relationship for the peoples of both Australia and Fiji.

"Eliminating some of the negatives in the current bilateral relationship is a necessary first step toward re-engaging positively." AAP


ex Fiji tourist said...

Let’s hope that krudd wakes smith from his slumber and gets him to respond to the oppressive regime that will be unleashed in Fiji in a few hours.

Why I could go to jail for life for saying that bananainpyjamas is the biggest loser ever in the dictator stakes.

Wake up krudd; our neighbours are hurting.

For the first time in your life, do something that actually makes a difference.

Update the travel advisories to inform Australians who are misguided enough to travel to Fiji, that they have N O legal protection whilst they are in a military dictatorship.

One slip of the tongue over a beer in a bar in Fiji could find an Australian tourist behind bars in a third world prison for the rest of their life.

The illegal, immoral, ill-conceived ‘decrees’ by the jaundiced junta are meant to put away all of the opponents of the illegal junta; many tourists will also get caught in this draconian nonsense.

KRUDD; wake up! Do something to help Fijians and Australians.

Anonymous said...

what a load of crap from some oblivious academic who should stick to experimenting with lab rats

Anonymous said...

Why re-engage at all Prof? Do you support the legally instituted Aust and NZ govts must engage with a military regime which drew its authority from the barrel of a gun? What utter rubbish!

You should try and come and live in Fiji and have your basic rights curtailed then you may understand what we the grassroot people are saying!

Its ok with you who have a say in how your country is being governed through your elected rep. But for us things are forced down our throats and we cannot do bugger all about it!

So just shut up and butt out Prof!

Anonymous said...

Does this rubbish academic have some vested interest in Fiji? Is he a member of the parasitic national council for removing all human rights in Fiji? Is there any conection between senior members of the so called Australian Strategic polluted institute and a certain law firm engaged by the illegal AG to write 'legislation' for a regime declared illegal by Fijian courts? The whole thing stinks. It is time terrorism was exterminated from the Pacific!!

Anonymous said...

@ e f t.
Try Duncan Kerr? (AUS sec Pacific Affairs)

If reports he's recently retired are correct - then good riddance.
Here was a person who's staff openly discouraged not only contradictory views - but any views at all. Incompetence was breathtaking - predict he'll be seeking bench position somewhere - suggest Christmas Island? (& hopefully takes staff with him).

Anonymous said...

Rowan Callick today confirmed - ran story 'Pacific envoy job left unfilled'(4 months).

Anybody harbouring doubts about AUS taking lead role in Fiji (Pacific) - here's your answer?

Can't help neighbourhood - busy saving planet.