Foreign Affairs yesterday issued a new travel warning
for Fiji advising Australians there to “to maintain good personal
security awareness” – sensible advice anywhere, one might think. As it
says: “Tensions have arisen around the controversial Reconciliation,
Tolerance and Unity Bill relating to the coup in Fiji in 2000.” (See The Oz report here.)

The background to this story is that the government of Laisenia Qarase,
which came to power as an indirect result of George Speight’s coup, is
pushing a bill that would allow the government to give amnesty to the
coup plotters. Fiji’s military commander, Frank Bainimarama, opposes
the bill and has threatened to depose the government if it presses
ahead. Hence the increased tension that DFAT warns us about.

Now, stop and think about the logic of this. The reason to oppose the
amnesty bill is that it would weaken respect for the rule of law by
reducing the deterrent against coups. And General Bananarama plans to
oppose this. How? By staging a coup! The workings of
the military mind are strange.

Peter Fray

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