28 Aug 2015

Fiji youth want better opportunities, not new flag

7:35 am on 28 August 2015

Fiji's Sodelpa Youth Council says young people would prefer money is spent on better education and job opportunities, rather than the planned national flag change.

The National Flag Protection Bill was passed this week, with the law seeking to provide a declaration for a new Fijian national flag, and set out rules for how the flag cannot be misused.

The Sodelpa Youth have previously submitted a 2,000 person petition asking that a referendum on the flag be considered, as well as 11,000 signatures of people who do not want a flag change.

It's president, Peter Waqavonovono, says a referendum on the issue is important for the country's democracy.

"We would like government to concentrate on more pressing issues. This is a expensive diversion. We believe that a lot of young people, we want jobs, we want better education, better scholarships, we want better opportunities, the last thing we want is for a government to spend tax payers money on trying to get a new flag."

Peter Waqavonovono says the social benefits of having a referendum on the flag outweighs whatever cost it might incur.

In June this year, a Tebbutt poll for the Fiji Times found at least 86 percent of Fijians would prefer to vote on whether the flag should be changed.

In July, Frank Bainimarama told parliament, that there will be no referendum on whether Fiji should change its national flag.

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Photo: AFP

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