FLP’s response to Australian statement

  • 28th August 2013
  • 2013
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FLP’s response to statement by Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator
Bob Carr on the purported Fiji constitution

The Fiji Labour Party is extremely disappointed with the statement from Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr welcoming the release of the Fiji regime’s purported constitution.

“How can Australia welcome a document that undermines universally recognized tenets of democracy, human rights and good governance; violates the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive, the
legislature and the judiciary and continues the regime’s draconian and repressive decrees denounced by the international community?”

Moreover, it is a document that has been rejected by all the major political parties in Fiji.

The regime’s purported constitution completely politicizes the military, the public service and the judiciary. A number of its provisions on human and workers’ rights are in flagrant breach of the UN’s International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration, Pacific Island Forum’s Biketawa Declaration and the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) core conventions on the rights
of workers.

Under the circumstances, we are appalled that Senator Carr has issued a statement saying that Australia would continue to “encourage a constitutional process which results in a credible election including
through…freedom of expression and assembly…”

It is naïve for anyone to assume that the current constitutional process will lead to free and credible elections or that Fiji enjoys freedom of expression and assembly, let alone media freedom.

The Australian Labour Government which claims the support of the country’s trade union movement, should note that the regime’s purported constitution forbids trade unionists from participating in politics.

How can then the ALP support these hideous provisions which completely strip workers of their trade union rights and their officials of their civil and political rights?

The Australian Government is urged to display caution and not succumb to politics of expedience and connivance at the expense of the people of Fiji.

It may wish to recall the last CMAG statement, issued in London on 26 April 2013, which called for:
“a transparent and consultative process to achieve a constitution that accords with Commonwealth and internationally-accepted standards for democracy, good governance and the rule of law, and that genuinely enjoys the endorsement of the people of Fiji”

CMAG also stated that the path to restoration of constitutional democracy be credible and inclusive “in accordance with the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth… and enjoy the confidence and support of the people of Fiji”.

The regime’s purported constitution meets none of this criterion. It has no legitimacy or legal authority and is being imposed on the people, despite their rejection of it.