World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Fiji unions hit back at Aussie businessman

See updates and pictures: http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/ and: http://www.lookinglassdesign.com/wansolwara/wansol.html

Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook

By Joe Yaya and Phil Thornton

© USP Journalism Programme

SUVA: Suva's deputy mayor and national assistant secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC), Diwan Shankar, today slammed Australian businessman Mark Halabe for statements he made in The Australian newspaper just five days after the coup.

Halabe was quoted in the paper as saying that the end of the Chaudhry government would benefit Fiji economically.

A furious Shankar told Pacific Journalism Online that Halabe's comments were "insensitive" and "inappropriate" considering Chaudhry was still held captive.

He also said the FTUC was considering asking international consumer groups to organise boycotts of Halabe's products.

"I'm surprised at these comments from an Australian who's enjoyed Fiji tax concessions for 13 years," Shankar said.

"This is the same man who recently accompanied Mahendra Chaudhry to Australia to gain concessions for his industry yet just days later while Chaudhry is a hostage, he's meeting with his captors and publicly saying it's good for business."

Shankar said it was ironic that Halabe as an Australian was telling Fijians who should be Prime Minister.

"Why doesn't he manufacture in Australia --- he's here because he's got an unlimited supply of cheap labour," said Shankar.

The trade union leader said that if business people don't like what democracy delivers they should realise that you can't change it with guns.

In reply to these accusations, Halabe told Pacific Journalism Online that he regretted having said this to the Australian media.

"It is unfortunate that it was reported in the media. I regret it very much," he said.

Halabe commended Chaudhry as a "hard working prime minister, focused on getting Fiji moving on into the future."

As president of the Fiji-Australian Business Council, Halabe added that it was sometimes frustrating for council members and him to accept some of the policies of the Chaudhry administration.

"For instance, the loss of the tax-free status, the rice-quota system, the rearrangement of work permits, the banking review to implement bank charges, the Credit Act that was supposed to be changed but wasn't," he said.

"It's been very very hard for the government to change it's mind once it made a decision on changes to policies."

Meanwhile, job losses that have hit the country have been in the hotel industry, garment industry and the sugar industry.

The European Union in a message conveyed to the commander of the interim military government warned that it would stop buying sugar from Fiji if rebel leader George Speight or any of his members were included in a new civilian government.

Fifty per cent of the sugar produced in Fiji is sold to the European market, amounting to two-thirds of the gross sugar revenue of about $FJ200 million.

If the sanction on buying Fiji sugar goes ahead, it would directly affect around 200,000 people who depend entirely on the industry for their livelihood.

+++niuswire

This document is for educational and research use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting. PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news