Nauru government cronyism claims called ridiculous
A Nauru opposition MP dismisses claims of cronyism used as a defence by the government for not allowing the chief justice into the country.
A Nauru opposition MP says claims by the island's home affairs minister that cronyism has hampered the judicial sector and this is why key officials have been removed, is ridiculous.
Last month the resident magistrate was deported and Australian domiciled chief justice denied a visa.
The minister, Charmaine Scotty, says the senior expatriates at the top of the Nauru bureaucracy tended to look after themselves and the government wants a fairer system.
But MP Roland Kun told Don Wiseman the cronyism claims have no basis.
ROLAND KUN: There is no such thing as cronyism. The chief justice was appointed through a due process and she has to pinpoint, if she is going to accuse the chief justice of cronyism, actually pinpoint what she is referring to. We have challenged them to do exactly that in Parliament, in the last parliament sitting but they have continued to fail to do so. They are coming up with all sorts of things because they just don't have any explanation for their lack of regard for the rule of law in Nauru.
DON WISEMAN: With these talks in New Zealand, the call from New Zealand is that the aid it provides to the justice sector will continue but it wants to see changes, wants to see more transparency in the way in which the whole sector is operated, the way in which employment is handled, this sort of thing. Do you think that will happen?
RK: Not under the current government because you must realise that the same minister for justice who is sitting now is the same minister for justice who has sacked two secretaries for justice in the past. He is the same minister for justice who moved to remove the commissioner of police earlier on, the parliamentary counsel earlier on, and now the minister of justice who is behind the removal of resident magistrate and not allowing the chief justice to return on island as required. The chief justice can only be removed by two thirds of parliament - they don't have that number which is why they are doing what they are doing now. And it's just a direct attack against the judiciary of Nauru.
DW: With regard to journalists and this visa that has been put in place [up for 200 Australian to 8,000]. We have had Charmaine Scotty previously saying that, well, media organisations can afford it, and the reality of course is they can't and it would shut out all journalists from ever going to Nauru. She says, well, if they apply to the government and the government approves you, then you can come and you won't have to pay the fee at all. So she is suggesting they are going to waive this visa for some. What do you think of that?
RK: Well the whole idea is ridiculous. Earlier on she was saying it was a revenue generating measure. Which obviously is wrong. You don't use the media and the ability of media to report on matters as a revenue generating measure for government. She clearly just doesn't understand the role of media in a democratic system and why they should be facilitated and not hindered by any government. And that just comes to show the level of the ignorance in the government in the way they are handling everything.
DW: What do you make of this being prepared to let some in and presumably not others?
RK: Well the whole thing is highly questionable already. Like obviously that is wrong. They will just be selecting the people who say exactly what they want them to say and they'll be not allowing any other people in who may see things differently to the way they want things to be seen. So that's just ridiculous, and in any case I am not sure whether they have actually properly regulated the fees that they are purporting to have introduced. There are legal steps that they need to take in order that these fees become legal but I question whether they have done even that.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: