Good news for Fiji

With the removal of Kevin Rudd and the appointment of Bob Carr as Foreign Minister a remarkable thaw has happened with regard to Fiji.

BOB Carr will begin to reverse six years of hard-line Labor policy against the government of Fijian dictator Frank Bainimarama.

Mr Carr will offer an olive branch to the military strongman, who seized power in the small Pacific island nation after a military coup in 2006.

The new Foreign Affairs Minister will travel to New Zealand tomorrow to meet NZ Prime Minister John Key to discuss Fiji’s banning from the Pacific Islands Forum in 2009.

Incentives for Fiji are likely to include lifting some of the “sticks” against the regime, including the forum’s ban on the junta – and some reversal of Australian sanctions set up in the wake of the coup.

These include a blanket ban on the supply, sale or transfer to Fiji of arms and related material, the provision of technical advice, assistance or training, a financial service or financial or other assistance to Fiji related to military activities or  any activity that involves the sale or supply of any export-sanctioned goods to Fiji.

I sense a change from New Zealand as well. This is great news for Fiji.


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  • Kiwidon

    The yanks have spoken! They don’t want to see the PRC extending their influence down here!

  • Hakim of phut

    As they say  with Australian politics , Ill believe it when I see it. And what Carr said and thought privately  isnt likely to become official policy.
    Even here in NZ McCully repudiated what he said and thought ‘before he become  FM’ Even though he was opposition spokesman  before 2008 he used to wax loud and long, 
    Lo and behold , once he became minister he walked away from all that.
    Carr has  distanced  himself even more from what he said , as he was a private citizen  for 6 years.
    The story is simply not credible as it has no sources , and doesnt even claim off record views

  • LesleyNZ


    By Graham Davis

    – March 8, 2012Posted in: All

    Bob Carr – a clean slate

    Australia is set make a dramatic about face in its
    policy towards Fiji, re-engaging with Frank Bainimarama’s regime and assisting
    it with its plans to return the country to democracy in 2014. After the
    Grubsheet/Sky News interview with Bainimarama at the weekend – which revealed
    the extent of Australia’s isolation from its ANZUS partners, Australia and New
    Zealand, in relation to Fiji – the mood for change in Canberra has hardened on
    both sides of politics.

    The Australian reports today that the opposition wants
    the incoming Labor foreign minister, Bob Carr, to set aside his predecessor,
    Kevin Rudd’s, hardline stance on Fiji. That policy became known as the
    “Rudd block” in relations between the two countries. Five years after
    Bainimarama’s coup, it had demonstrably failed in its aim to force the regime
    back to the polls but Rudd was too proud and too obstinate to recognise that
    failure. Only his departure from the foreign affairs portfolio has been able to
    pave the way for change. And now that he’s gone, events are moving quickly.

    News Limited newspapers are also reporting today that Bob Carr
    plans an immediate shift in policy and will discuss the about-face at his
    forthcoming talks in NZ with its foreign minister, Murray McCully, who’d
    already broken ranks with Rudd and begun to engage with his opposite number in
    Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. It’s a fair bet that Fiji will do everything it can
    to make Carr’s job easier. Bainimarama’s strident comments in the Sky/Grubsheet
    interview have achieved their purpose and the tone of that rhetoric will now be
    lowered to oil the wheels of diplomacy.

    All through Saturday, the Fijian leader’s interview
    had played continuously on a Multiview channel on the one network that every
    Australian politician turns to for news. While much of the rest of the media –
    and especially the ABC – chose to ignore the Sky broadcast, today’s story in The
    Australian confirms its importance in changing attitudes. Whatever the
    politicians think about Bainimarama, many hadn’t grasped the interview’s
    central tenet that Australia was now the last man standing in refusing to have
    anything to do with him. The fact that the United States and New Zealand had
    broken ranks had made Australia’s position untenable.

    None of this is news to those whose job it is to ply
    the corridors of government in the Pacific gauging opinion. For months,
    American diplomats and the US military hierarchy have been privately expressing
    concern that the “Rudd block” on Fiji had become counterproductive and was
    weakening the position of the ANZUS allies where it really counted – in
    containing China. Abandoning Fiji had driven Frank Bainimarama into the arms of
    the Chinese. And his comments in the Grubsheet/Sky interview about his personal
    friendships with the Chinese hierarchy again underlined the folly of Fiji’s
    traditional friends turning their backs on him.

    Of all his passions, Bob Carr’s love of the United
    States is one of the greatest. So it’s to be expected that such a pro-American
    Australian foreign minister would share Washington’s view that Canberra’s
    policy on Fiji has long since passed its use-by date. His arrival at DFAT is
    the clean slate needed to finally change direction. And he’s set
    to begin that
    change in dramatic fashion.

  • kehua

    About bloody time, now if only they would think about Carbon debacles??

  • politically unstable

    If NZ want Fiji to return to a democracy, then the easiest way to do that is engage with Fiji and help them with the constitution and election process. I think we helped them with the last constitution in any case.

  • niggly

    This is good news – the Fijians are our Pacific brothers & sisters & frankly there’s much worse regimes out there that NZ still deals with.

    Engagement is what’s needed and building bridges.

    As for Rudd, fucken egomanical arse.