"......we 'punched' a big enough hole in the side of the Bai-Kai ship that now they have to contend with 18 pairs of eyes bearing down on them every day...'
There is no doubt the regime and the Fiji Sun have it in for veteran politician Mick Beddoes so it's not surprising both have kicked up a stink over him getting into Parliament, albeit it as the Principal administrative Officer for the Opposition Party.
Beddoes has yet to be officially appointed and is currently a volunteer but has been asked to take up the position by Ro Teimumu Kepa, who clearly wants to ensure an effective Opposition.
He wasn't elected but excelled in the lead-up to the elections in singling out the key issues and getting publicity on them and his absence is a loss to the Opposition.
In an interview with C4.5, he says he's honoured to have been asked and expects to bring some very useful advice to the Opposition.
C4.5: You've been around a long time - how would you describe your particular skills?
Beddoes: Having spent 6 years as an Opposition MP and 3 of those years as Opposition Leader, I think I have developed a few skills that might prove useful to our members.
Remember, in my days there was 2 verses 50, so with 18 Members to confront the government with, I think we will be in great position to keep them on their toes.
We also have the added advantage of a highly academically qualified and experienced group of individuals in their own right, which I think is pretty impressive.
C4.5: What do you bring to the Opposition in this current situation that will be of value to them?
Beddoes: The majority of our Members are new to 'politics' while a few of us have been at it for a while and I have been involved all of my adult life. So I think I can provide some useful advice and guidance, as well as try to alert them to some of the pitfalls.
They all have to come to terms with the fact that they are now public figures and therefore they will be subject to a lot of scrutiny, so they need to be ready for this. They need to know how to handle negative press and know when to respond and when not to.
Just judging from their first performance, I have no doubt the people will be very happy with the Opposition's performance as it unfolds over the next 4 years.
C4.5: It must be rather bitter sweet to be working in the back rooms when you should've front bench?
Beddoes: I would have loved to have been one of the Members in Opposition; the other side would have been ducking for cover every time my turn came around, but that's not the way the chips fell and I accept it.
I always understood that coming from the smallest population base, it would be an uphill task. And without a defined province of my own to work with, I knew I was spread too thin and with limited resources, it was always going to be difficult.
But my family motto is 'Strive to the very end' and that's what I do and this time around it meant a lot more to me because my children got involved so I had my fiancee and kids backing me all the way with my close mates and friends, and it was a good feeling despite the results. And strangely enough, I felt no regret.
Of course the down side to this role in the Opposition Chambers for me at least is that my freedom to speak out and go on the offensive when I see any wrong doing as I have done all of my life, will be curtailed somewhat.
That's the biggest sacrifice for me, but it also presents me with a new challenge and that is how to assist the 18 Members in Opposition maintain that necessary pressure that I have done as an individual ever since 1987 on government and any wrongdoers.
It will probably do me the world of good to step back a little and play a supporting role for a change.
C4.5: What feel do you have for how things are going at the moment in the so called 'new Parliament?'
Beddoes: I think the first few sessions will be a kind of warm up match and then the people can expect to see some real debates and I am very confident in the 18 Members' ability to deliver the goods.
I am looking forward to working with the Members to ensure we keep the government of the day on its toes all of the time. It will definitely not be business as usual for them this time around.
Commentators would say Frank won, we lost? But I say 'Did he win?' He said he would win all 50 and after 8 years in total control and all the resources and managing the entire campaign, they failed to achieve their stated objective of 50 seats.
On the other hand the Opposition parties had 3 months to campaign, limited funds,a not so fair and balanced media and an uphill battle that no one expected us to win, yet we 'punched' a big enough hole in the side of the Bai-Kai ship that now they have to contend with 18 pairs of eyes bearing down on them every day and going from zero to 18 seats is not in my book a loss.
Full democracy is a work in progress and we have just breached their first line of defense, so now we must regroup, change tact and over the next 4 years push the 18 seats up by just another 10 and the job will be done.