28 Jan 2010

Study suggests Australia should take fresh approach to Fiji

1:34 pm on 28 January 2010

The author of a report into relations between Australia and Fiji says it's time for Australia to take a fresh approach and heal the festering feelings of mistrust from the past three years.

Professor Richard Herr who holds posts at both the University of Fiji and the University of Tasmania was commissioned to write a report on the issue by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Professor Herr says Australia needs to follow New Zealand's lead and establish more effective dialogue with Fiji.

"There are difficulties within Fiji. And one of the things I need to make about my report is, it is one-sided. It is not looking at what Fiji can do to restore relations with Australia. There's a lot it could do. At the moment it's simply saying that if Australia removes some of the irritants, that there is a chance, a reasonable chance, that at least the relationship will be put on a better footing."

Professor Herr says selective travel bans, undiplomatic language and sanctions against the Fiji government need to be re-evaluated, as relations have become increasingly negative.

New Zealand imposed travel bans in 2000 on those linked to Fiji's coup and maintained the policy after the 2006 coup.