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Kubuabola Berates Unionists

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SUVA: Fiji's Interim Minister Information and Communications Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola yesterday condemned international trade unionists who were in the country on a fact-finding mission, the Fiji Sun reports.

Kubuabola said the president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions Sharon Burrows' statement that the Australian government would provide $7 million for an election in Fiji was an insult.

"Australian trade unionist Sharon Burrows obviously had learnt nothing from her visit here about the causes of Fiji's current political crisis," said Kubuabola.

"Her offer of $7 million for an election in six months is insulting to indigenous Fijians as well as Fiji citizens," he said in a statement.

Burrows had said in a press conference that the Australian government was ready to pay for an election in Fiji for it to quickly return to democratic rule.

She said Fiji had to restore democracy within the 1997 framework within six months.

Kubuabola accused Burrows of being "racist".

"Given the racist tradition of which she is part, she cannot understand that indigenous rights are integral to human rights, indigenous Fijians are human beings," said Kubuabola.

In an editorial headed "An early poll?", the Fiji Sun said: "Australia, acting like a domineering father, insists Fiji's return to democracy within the 1997 constitution is essential.

"To get its message through, Australia is prepared to fork out enough dough to cover costs."

"The interesting thing though is the fact that the most important ingredient is missing. The voice of the majority of the people of this country.

"At the end of the day, it is the people of this country who will have to live with the outcome of any decisions that will be made by the powers that be.

"As we have stated once [before], could it be time for a referendum? But can this country afford a referendum?"

Ends

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