Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Australia’s PM wary of dictator Frank Bainimarama’s history of dishonesty

 Posted on Raw Fiji News

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Australia wants to see democracy in Fiji.

“We’ve had represenations in the past from the Commodore [Frank Bainimarama] that he was going to act and then action didn’t follow, we do want to see action, we do want to see democracy restored,” she said.

The Australian Government has cautiously welcomed Commodore Bainimara’s announcement that Fiji will end emergency laws on January 7.

The laws have been in place since 2009 and include an extension to police and military powers, media censorship and restrictions on public gatherings.

Commodore Bainimarama said the laws will be removed to allow preparations for drafting a new constitution, after the old version was abandoned in 2009.

Richard Marles, the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, said Australia stands ready to help Fiji return to democracy.

“There is a long way to go before we see the reinstitution of democracy in Fiji,” he said.
“The public emergency regulations were an abuse of human rights and we have been calling for their lifting since they were imposed back in 2009,” he said.

“It is good now to see that they are being lifted. It is a step in the right direction”.

Australia’s Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop says it is a welcome development.

“Let’s take it for what it appears to be and hope that it is a genuine announcement for a return to civilian law,” she said.

“We need to see a restoration of the civilian courts, an independent judiciary and of course, ultimately, a return to democratic rule.”

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