24 May 2005

Fiji politician wants referendum on reconciliation bill

2:43 pm on 24 May 2005

Fiji's former opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, has challenged the prime minister to hold a referendum on his controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Mr Beddoes says only a referendum can test Laisenia Qarase's claim that the Bill has the support of the silent majority.

Mr Beddoes says his United General Party strongly feels that the views of the people should be sought on whether or not they want this Bill before the government proceeds any further.

He says the Bill concerns every single citizen of Fiji affected by the Speight coup many of whom are still suffering.

The Bill will set up a commission with powers to fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight, erase their criminal records, give immunity to those not yet prosecuted and suspend court proceedings against those facing charges.