Letters

Abbott And Key Rebuff Fiji?

“So where is Tony Abbott and John Key now?” by Maika Bolatiki (FS Sunvoice 24/10) was a timely reminder to all the readers of the double standards,  unethical behavior, unreliability
02 Nov 2014 11:45
Abbott And Key Rebuff Fiji?

“So where is Tony Abbott and John Key now?” by Maika Bolatiki (FS Sunvoice 24/10) was a timely reminder to all the readers of the double standards,  unethical behavior, unreliability and the shooting off their mouths  of these two men, who have always been mean spirited, spiteful and full of resentment towards Fiji. Maika is commended for an excellent piece, which we Fijians agree with fully.

If I may add a bit more; Tony Abbott is no saint and after his 2014 budget presentation, saw his popularity sink to very low levels, as he broke almost every promise that he had made pre-election. Last he was seen to be chiding Mr. Putin, via the media, in concert with Julie Bishop, his Foreign Minister, blaming him personally to be responsible for all the ills in Ukraine; not realizing what would happen next.

That led to Russia barring all exports from Australia, such as beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, poultry, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products in retaliation of trade bans over its support for separatists in Ukraine. Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev said the ban would start immediately and last one year unless “our partners demonstrate a constructive approach” with regards to sanctions.

Tony Abbott, a “loose cannon”- also known by an alias of “loose lips”- that he is known to be locally in Australia, was trying to run Russian foreign relations via the media together with Julie Bishop, least bothered about the impact it would have on its farmers. This episode is costing Australia much more than half a billion dollars in lost revenue and tighter international trade sanctions on Russia could trigger a flood of wheat onto global markets, which would hopefully benefit Fijians.

Abbott, who has a long-standing reputation for shooting his mouth off without thinking, is often not able to reinforce his thoughts after what he has just said. He has become a joke as a politician, who cannot be trusted and will do anything unpredictably.  Thus it was not surprising when he shot his mouth off the last few days ago, rebuffing the Bainimarama condition for Australia to withdraw from the PIF. Abbott said that he would do nothing of the sort as Australia is liked and loved by the people of the Pacific.

Fiji as always, has behaved statesman like on this, together with many other foreign issues. Rather than shooting off its mouth like Abbott, Fiji has not used emotion but given valid reasons for what it had to say.

Ratu Inoke said Fiji’s position was very clear.  “Fiji is not going back to PIF till some changes and reforms are made in the organization; for example Australia and New Zealand to move out of PIF,” he said. He fully backed Fiji’s reason for this advice, saying that the two should become development partners like nations such as Japan, China and Korea. They cannot be both members and development partners dictating from inside”.

Fiji cites a very severe conflict of interest of both the countries here, quite rightly, and this needs to be addressed and respected by the members of the PIF, who now days are so politicized and lost their way, that they are unable to think as a nation but try to be in bed with both countries, in return for some future preferential treatment. This short-term, self centered and selfish approach is not the Pacific way of doing things.

Regarding whereabouts of John Key; it appears that he is still celebrating from the euphoria of the recent New Zealand general elections, which returned him as the PM of New Zealand. Both these leaders have kept the conversation with Fiji at the Ministerial level, after the September 17 elections in Fiji, and in fact their action so far is tantamount of a rebuff of Fiji. It is advisable for Fiji to continue with its visions since 2006, look north, and continue to have closer ties with China, Asia, India, and the Middle East, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Brazil, and Indonesia.

Australia and New Zealand continue to place huge trade restrictions on Fiji and the Pacific Islands, in the name of Quarantine regulations, which is often used as a trade barrier to block exports, whilst it dumps its lamb flaps, mutton, third grade onions and potatoes and other goods that cannot be sold to other first world countries.

Obesity in countries like Samoa is the making of countries like New Zealand, who have helped make it almost a culture to give boxes of New Zealand mutton flaps at weddings, deaths, and major occasions like Christmas, as part of gifting. These off cuts which should be destined for the dump or the pet food industry, are sent by hundreds of container loads to Samoa, where I lived also and experienced this first hand.

Fiji was smart to ban this but now we have the same thing sent to us in Fiji as mutton curry pieces, after they have been diced, to circumvent the embargo. Quite simply Fiji needs to be vigilant and due to the labour laws and other issues, goods from Australia and New Zealand remain much costly and are uncompetitive and as part of poverty alleviation in Fiji, compared to other sources, we need to divest and source the same goods from other regions.

As long as “loose lips” Tony Abbott remains leader of the Liberal party and the PM of Australia with Julie Bishop, who is the deputy leader of the Liberal Party and Foreign Minister, Fiji should not expect anything from these two characters, who are often paraded as sheep to Fiji, but are in fact wolves in sheep’s clothing only.  Abbott is a political novice being an opposition leader for barely 4 years and has been PM since only September 18, 2013.

Regarding John Key, he is nothing more than a puppet of Australia and presently a puppet of Abbott, and will wait for the queue from him, before deciding his moves. John cannot be expected to do as he pleases as a result as they are always in bed together.

Fiji and groupings like the MSG can slowly showcase to the world, who we are as a sovereign independent nation.  Fiji needs to and should slowly break away from the shackles of Australia and New Zealand and truly become independent as a nation. For too often we as a people are too comfortable with old arrangements, which is counterproductive.

As a people we need to always be visionary, forward looking, always trying to break new frontiers,  make new friends internationally, and never complacent.

Fiji remains resilient as a people and the last eight years has forced us to do a lot of introspection, and helped us become much more self-reliant, in view of a number of natural disasters and the sanctions placed on us needlessly from those that benefited the most in the past from us, in one way trade. Fiji is modern, progressive, has good constitutional democratic governance, respect for human rights in its Bill of Rights, and a respect for all citizens in an inclusive manner with total regard for the iTaukei also, much more so than Australia and New Zealand.

One only needs to look at the Australian example where their indigenous have been treated with no respect, living in squalid conditions, with better benefits been given to new arrivals, immigrants, than its own indigenous; the former Liberal PM John Howard for example unable and unwilling to apologise to them for the stolen generation –forced removal of indigenous to be sent to live with the white population or institutions so as to dilute the indigenous population, poor social security and housing, a while only immigration policy till the arrival of Whitlam on the scene in 1972, and the genocide of many aborigines found dead in prisons under questionable circumstances.

A mature nation, able to stand on our own feet more stably, we are able to see much more clearly now, which many of the other PIF members cannot. We do not need friends like Abbott and Key who should clean up the mess in their own backyard before talking about democracy to others. They always believe in regime change as a  solution together with the USA as whatever the case the USA, Great Britain and Australia always talk about a new world order but do not practice that in their own backyard.

With or without PIF, Tony Abbott or John Key, Fiji will move on forward with pride and determination always as a people, as unity is strength and our people our greatest resource. Let no one shake that strong belief in ourselves ever!

God bless Fiji always.

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