NEWS

New Chapter In Fiji-Aust Relations

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s visit to Australia opens a new chapter in Fiji-Australia relations. While he was here to open the Fiji Day celebrations in Liverpool, NSW, he also spoke
19 Oct 2015 09:59
New Chapter In Fiji-Aust Relations
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s visit to Australia opens a new chapter in Fiji-Australia relations.

While he was here to open the Fiji Day celebrations in Liverpool, NSW, he also spoke at the Fiji-Australia Business Council meeting and met Steve Ciobo the newly appointed Minister of International Development and Pacific.

Mr Bainimarama and Mr Ciobo agreed to let bygones be bygones at a political level and work together to get the formal relationship back to where it was in the old days.

In Canberra, there is a subtle foreign affairs policy shift from the direction taken by the previous Tony Abbott administration.

There is a definite move to correct the perception that Australia is

using its aid programme in the region to seek more access for Australian products and increase its influence in regional domestic affairs.

Mr Bainimarama – sensing the change has declared that  another step forward – has been taken in the normalisation of Fiji’s relationships with Australia.

His Australian visit,the first since his FijiFirst party came into power after the winning the general election last year, has achieved significant positive results for the strengthening of relations between the two countries.

The comment by Australian Immigration minister Peter Dutton caught on tape joking about the effect of climate change on Pacific Islands in September is now water under the bridge.

The Bainimarama-Ciobo meeting ensured that view was consigned to the past.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnball’s policy on climate change is in harmony with Mr Bainimara’s crusade on climate change.

Because of the similarity in policies normalising of relations is expected to be smooth.

During this visit Mr Bainimarama also met with state and local politicians to improve relations and to attend to the concerns of the Fijian communities.

Speaking to more than 400 Fijians at a meet and greet, on Sydney’s Bella Vista Cruise Ship on Saturday night, the PM outlined this significant development. He acknowledged that we can all have our differences, and we do, but that does not mean we cannot resolve them in an atmosphere of friendship and goodwill.

During the Fiji Day celebrations the PM apologised about what happened in the past. This resonated well with Fijians who left due to the aftermath of the 1987 and 2000 coups. He urged them to not give up on Fiji and to take advantage of the improving economy.

Australian Fijians are more positive about coming to Fiji and investing because of the flourishing economic and political environment. Such as Douglas Singh originally from Vuci Rd, Nausori, now residing in Guildford, NSW who is more confident in returning to Fiji. He also noted how safer he feels compared to previous years.

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