30 Jul 2003

Fiji labour minister warns Australian unionist not to interfere in Fiji affairs

11:23 am on 30 July 2003

Fiji's labour minister, Kenneth Kinck, has warned Australian trade unions not to interfere in the affairs of the government.

Radio Fiji says Mr Zinck issued the warning after an official of the Australian Transport Workers Union, Tony Sheldon, said his union is monitoring political developments in Fiji and trade sanctions may depend on how the government deals with the multi-party cabinet issue.

Mr Zinck says Tony Sheldon should go back home and let those in Fiji run the country the way the Supreme Court has ruled.

"He has no business whatsoever to come here to this country and tell us what to do. And to introduce trade bans from Australia is illegal in itself. Tony Sheldon should be the first person to know that. For him to introduce a trade ban is illegal as far as all the laws in Australia are concerned. I think he has a cheek - him and his Transport Workers Uinon - to come here to a sovereign state and tell us to follow the law."

Mr Zinck says he is surprised that the Australian Transport Workers Union is singing the tune of the Fiji Labour Party when they are still negotiating with the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.