June 13, 2012

Australia Network News: Call to criminilise Australians who support Fiji regime

Last Updated: 18 hours 2 minutes ago

There has been a call for Australia and New Zealand to make it illegal for its citizens to work overseas in support of undemocratic regimes.

The call comes from prominent Fiji academic, Professor Wadan Narsey, who says several Australians and and New Zealanders are working in prominent positions in the coup installed military government in Fiji.

Professor Narsey told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program that both countries already criminalise their citizens who travel offshore to engage in paedophilia or terrorist activities, and supporting what he says are illegal governments should be treated the same way.

"I mean I have no problems with those people who are trying to do positive and constructive things, you know, to try and get the country back to a lawful and democratic government," he said.

"But where I have a problem is where quite a few people have gone there and justified illegal things such as the overthrow of a lawful government, or they have taken part in processes which have compromised the judiciary or have compromised the ministerial portfolios."

"If somebody goes and engages in paedophilia or engages in activities which encourage terrorism, such as what happened in September 11, you have laws over here which allows the Australian and New Zealand Governments to prosecute them," said Professor Narsey.

"There is no laws which they can use to discredit this unlawful behaviour abroad, and to me this strikes me as double standards."

He says the lack of legislation available to prosecute such actions is a double standard, made more glaring by the fact that Australia has imposed travel bans on not only those taking part in the coup in Fiji, but their relatives as well.

"That infringes on their basic human rights," he said.

"I mean you are not responsible for your relatives, you are responsible for your own actions."

Professor Narsey says that with huge financial interests at play in areas like PNG and East Timor, there is the very real danger that the assistance of well-trained New Zealanders and Australians can be used to further weaken the fragile political and judicial institutions in these places.

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