Fiji, the Pacific Islands and Australia

AUSTRALIA OUTPLAYS SUPREMO. I thought I'd misread this heading, but no, this is how the blog Coupfourpointfive  reports a "Media in the Pacific"  article by Graeme Dobell.*  Dobell seems to think that because Vanuatu PM Natapei deferred the MSG meeting,  and I quote, "Australia can point to mounting evidence that it is closer to the rest of the South Pacific than Fiji." Dream on!

The leaders of ten PI nations, the Director of PiPP, FTUC leader Daniel Urai and even Major-General Rabuka do not think so. That leaves Dobell, Usaia Waqatairewa (see below)  and presumably the publishers of Coupfourpointfive.

*Dobell is Radio Australia's Associate Editor for Asia Pacific, and a regular contributor to the Lowry Institute's The Interpreter. Radio Australia is owned by the Australian Government. The Lowry Institute calls itself an "independent international policy think tank." Its directors comprise four members of the wealthy Lowry family (Westfield shopping centres), former ambassadors, bankers and businessmen.

TEN PACIFIC COUNTRIES CONFIRMED. The President of  Kiribati  and the Prime Ministers of Papua New Guinea, Solomon, and Tuvalu will attend as well as seven other Island states. Vanuatu has confirmed they will be attending and will be  represented by  either the Deputy Prime Minister or the Foreign Affairs Minister.

The attendance of PMs Sir Michael Somare and Derek Sikua deserves special mention. Sir Michael is facing a no confidence motion and Dr Sikua is in the middle of an election campaign. Ratu Inoke said this demonstrates the support that Fiji has throughout the Pacific, through our strong history of working together in our own Pacific style, like ‘Talanoa sessions”. 

“This shows real strength of the Pacific Islands which is our solidarity  and unity for the security, peace, progress of our Pacific People” Ratu Inoke stressed.

During the meeting the Prime Minister, Commodore Bainimarama will brief the Island Leaders on the progress of Fiji’s Roadmap for Democracy and Strategic Framework for Change. The meeting is for two days, next Thursday and Friday.

USAIA WANTS MURDOCH HELP. Usaia Waqatairewa, the Sydney-based president of the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement is openly appealing to Pacific Islands Forum leaders not to attend the meeting "because it is the desperate action of an out of touch pariah dictatorship" and has called on Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd to help him set up an anti-government pirate station within Fiji. His appeal is reported in Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd The Australian.[More on this tomorrow.]

FTUC CALLS FOR CHANGED AUSSIE ATTITUDE. The Fiji Trades Union Congress is calling on Australia to change their political attitude against Fiji - if they are interested in seeing Fiji go back to full democracy and hold elections by 2014. FTUC national president Daniel Urai says Fiji will certainly need assistance from Australia to hold general elections, as it has in the past.

He says it is unfortunate that members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group are finding it difficult to attend the meeting in Fiji due to continued pressure by Australia and New Zealand who are using bully tactics against the smaller island nations.  Urai says they don’t want Australia and New Zealand using cheque book and bullying tactics to try and push Pacific island countries to do what they want.

RABUKA SAYS RELATIONS NEVER BEEN THIS BAD. Former Fijian prime minister Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka has criticised Australia's ongoing travel bans on Fiji's military. Last month, two key Fijian rugby players were banned from entering Australia to play the Wallabies in Canberra. Rabuka said the bans are making Fijians feel as if they are under siege."We see it as a sanction against the people of Fiji and the Fiji national team and it's pushing us into a consolidated position against Australia or against those are bringing up these kind of sanctions against us," he said.

PiPP CALLS HEADS AND TAILS. Derek Brien, Exec. Director of Vanuatu-based Pacific Institute of Public Policy plays it both ways. On the one hand he says, "Ultimately Fiji's suspension from the Forum may not have helped regional efforts to engage with Fiji's regime on returning to democracy." On the other hand, he says,  "But Fiji has done itself no favours by its own actions, for example by trying to arrange this MSG-PLUS, effectively an attempt to undermine the Forum or to side-step the Forum." Right.

But the suspension did come before the reaction. And if he is also right in predicting the Engaging Fiji meeting "is threatening to overshadow next month's Forum leaders summit in Vanuatu" who should we blame for this? Why doesn't he just say, "We (Australia and NZ) got it wrong. A "Public Policy" change is needed here, fellers."


sara'ssista said…
for those who find 'cheque-book diplomacy' so unwelcome , just don't ask for the money. Then you can make whatever decisions you like. Don't hold a miniforum in the hope that someone is going to foot the bill for any of your ideas, when you repeatedly tell them to mind their own business. Well thats just what where doing her in Aus and Nz. We come first and 'fiji's military regimes' needs' come well down the list of prioties, as it should be. You don't like what we say, you don't like who says it, you don't like when it's said and you don't like why its said. Yes well neither do we like any of that in relation to you either, guess who wins.
Joe said…
What a joke, Usaia and his pirate radio station capable of changing frequencies at will. Can someone put some sense in this idiot's head. Too much kava, dole bludger!!!
Cicero said…
@ sara ssista

Cheque book diplomacy is as old as the hills. We shall do what we know is the right thing to do for the long and sustainable term. How is it that Australia felt quite relaxed paying for people associated with terrorism to come down and say their piece: no conflicts of interest here? Of course, there were. In fact, paying for people to fly down and voice their arguments - all expenses paid at a National University is a disgraceful misuse of Australian taxpayers' money. Surely, the taxpayers themselves can see this? Those of us who have strong views (oh yes!) will keep them to CW's Blog and to ourselves. But we shall never, ever overlook this blatant purchasing of views: this is not democracy in practice. This is Super Power Play gone mad. The day will come when the taxpayers of OZ will rue the day they allowed this to be done in their name!
sara'ssista said…
Australian taxpayers are quite relaxed about this really. Coz we pay our own bills and don't have military who does what it's told.
Proud Fijian said…
@ Sara'ssista

Australian tax payers relaxed about your Governments Foreign cheque book diplomacy?

Read Dr Di Natales opinion on Australian dumping on East Timor in the Sydney Morning Herald. Also Read comments from Australian taxpayers. For your info here is the link.
Global Citizen said…
just as well croz walsh is collecting a new zealand pension 'cause his total prostitution toward the military regimehas so totally destroyed his academic credentials is is amazing. i mean, he cannot get onto any of rnz's national radio programmes ... practically anybody, other than complete fruitloops and field, can manage that. but he cannot. astonishing, and a tribute to the free and easy new zealand pension scheme. wonder if social welfare nz is sponsoring his website as some kind of make work scheme for the perpetually unemployable
Jambalaya said…
It is not surprising that Lowy Inc. is being investigated for Tax evasion by Fed IRS for tax evasion. If Lowy Taxes can't be figured out. what will their blog do?

So much for the Westfield chain of confindence people, Interpreter blog et al.

Westfield Mall downtown Mall, Sacramento, CA is for future projects or just in the process for plain liquidation on the negotiation table along with the incumbent Mayor Ex-NBA star who can't shine on the court of real life?
. said…
@ Global Citizen ... You're wrong about "fruitloops and field." They never have any problem "getting on" RadionNZ.
Cornileus said…
@Global Citizen

Argumentum ad hominem the order of the day, eh?

How about something constructive.
sara'ssista said…
@Proud Fijian, yes relaxed we don;'t care that much frankly. and to think that countries in the region are treated as equals is naive, no country treats another as an equal when it can get away with not. The idea that fiji and asutralia needs each other is hilarious, not when fiji continually comes begging and then expects respect, because it still whines over the last twenty years of lostb opportunities and moans about the manner in which we give money and assistance. Just say thankyou. To paraphrase John Howard ,we decide on what we give , when we give and what manner in which we give it , if your not happy , get it from burma or china.

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