Showing posts from September 15, 2013

The Australian Federal Election and the South Pacific

By Scott MacWilliam Visiting Fellow State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program ANU
Prior to the September 7 election, there were some, even high, hopes that the anticipated victory of the conservative Liberal-National Party Coalition would bring major welcome changes to Australian foreign policy toward the South Pacific. These changes included a reversal of the stance toward Fiji’s military regime initiated by the previous conservative government headed by John Howard and maintained during the six years of centre-left Labor Party headed coalition rule.
Indeed shortly before the election the shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop signalled an intention to more closely engage with Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama’s government, easing sanctions in the run-up to the promised 2014 elections in Fiji. Soon after the Australian elections, NZ’s conservative government welcomed the release of the new Fiji constitution and also announced that some sanctions…

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

       Jaywalking at Uni

I went to the FNU campus in Natabua, Lautoka and witnessed something that should be addressed by the university.   When classes are finished students mill around in the middle of the road like it was okay. These students are there to earn a high level of education, yet they disregard road safety. Cars have to wait for them them to move to the side at their laid back rate. One student even had the audacity to scowl at me when I stopped to let him pass, and he had on earphones and wouldn't have heard the purring of my automobile.

If we have to get rid of jaywalkers from the main streets,can we start with private roads, like the universities.  I wonder if any of the students can stand up and talk about road safety and the dangers jay walking.

False Pretences

An old timer went to collect his social welfare cheque and was told a whole bunch hadn't come from Suva. He then asked to see the boss who was unavailable. Then he asked to see the assistant and he too…

Fiji Country Statement on ICPD Programme of Action

Sixth Asia and Pacific Population Conference Dr. Jiko Luveni Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation UNESCAP, Bangkok 16 – 20 September 2013

The Chairperson, Honorable Ministers, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the Fiji Government, it gives me great pleasure to address this important session. I extend my gratitude to UNFPA and UNESCAP for the invitation.
At the outset I am pleased to inform the forum that Fiji’s new Constitution was assented to by our President just over a week ago. For the first time in the history of our beloved nation and in response to the strong wishes of our people, Fiji’s Constitution has provided for a wide range of socio-economic rights. These rights include rights to education, access to health care, housing and sanitation, reasonable access to transportation, food security and safe water, and social security schemes. It is also the first Fiji Constitution to articulate specific rights to persons with disabilities and to all chil…

QUICK ROUNDUP Friday 20 September 2013

VISILIA BUADROMO, Fijian human rights activist, has been appointed Secretary General of the People's General Assembly, a grouping of civil society organizations, that will meet in New York tomorrow Saturday. So, with the PM inside at the UN General Assembly and Visilia outside, Fiji will be well represented, albeit presenting different views.
NIK NAIDU INTERVIEW. Click to listen,
PS SALARY INCREASES. Government has indeed accepted the PriceWaterhourseCooper recommendations for 24 Permanent Secretaries, whose salaries will now range form $160,000 to $220,000. The PM has justified the increases on the basis that with the likely imminent lifting of travel bans by ANZ, if it now be possible to attract the best people for the job — if the salary is right. The string in the tail for the permanent secretaries is that they will lose all their allowance (housing, entertainment, travel, etc.) and be paid the one flat salary. This may moder…

PM at UN

Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will join global leaders including heads of government and states at the General Debate of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The head of government will leave on Saturday 21st September and will be accompanied to New York by Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.
He will deliver Fiji’s National Statement at the General Assembly on the 25th of September where he will discuss Fiji’s irrefutable progress towards national elections in 2014, the release of the new Constitution, as well as Fiji’s growing leadership responsibility in both the region and the wider international community, in particular as this year’s chair of the G77 plus China.

Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson said that while the Prime Mini…

QUICK ROUNDUP Thursday 19 September 2013

Mahendra Chaudhry's trial for failing to declare accounts to the Reserve Bank, a foreign exchange violation, has been scheduled for next year. His lawyer asked for "recusal" High Court judge Paul Madigan on the grounds that the judge had socialised with some public prosecution officials. Judge Madigan refused the recusals and set the trail for 20 January. A guilty decision could affect Chaudhry's election prospects.
Abuse of office. The work of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) continues with the conviction of former Audio Visual Commission CEO Taniela Bolea on several several changes of abuses of office between 2004 and 2007. But Bolea's "whereabouts are unknown."
Australian aid cut. The centre-right Abbott government lost no time in cutting its aid programme, and AusAID looks set to be absorbed by DFAT. This is a move similar to NZ. When the centre-right Key government was election, NZAID was absorbed into the MFAT. As a USP…

QUICK ROUNDUP Tuesday 17 September 2013

QUICK ROUNDUP. Summarising and providing hyperlinks on the regular News and Comments postings takes up quite a time so, starting today, I'll also be posting Quick Roundups, sans hyperlinks and tidy summaries, but probably with more personal opinions. If you need to follow up on an item, you can of course always refer to the online Fiji media.

What the NFP is up to is still anyone's guess.  Their meeting in Nadi indicates they will stay with the United Front for a Democratic Fiji because they (or at least Attar Singh)  think the Bainimarama government is a greater evil than SODELPA  (the old SDL) and FLP parties. It's ironically that the political system approved by these parties denied the NFP any seats in recent parliaments.

I do, however, share their concern about open lists. The closed list system is more likely to see more women, youth, minorities and marginalised representation in parliament because they can be selected by the political parties to ensure wider represe…