8 February 2007

Save us from controversial Bills

The Nautilus Institute backgrounds the Fiji coup.

Commodore Bainimarama explained his actions by saying that the Qarase Government was "unable to make decisions to [save] our people from destruction." He said the deposed Prime Minister had "already conducted a 'silent coup' through bribery, corruption and the introduction of controversial Bill[s]".

The Qarase governments' practice of bribery and corruption remains an open question. The 1997 constitution provides for independent watchdog bodies and practices that allow corruption to be addressed. A self-serving military coup is not one of the constitutional options. If governments that bring in controversial bills deserve to be overthrown, then perhaps coup leader Bainimarama should read some of the controversy his emergency regulations, which purport to suspend the constitution, have generated.

Fiji reveals the gap at the heart of Howard's policy. Howard says nothing about human rights and does little about human rights. The Howard government has certainly condemned the coup and imposed sanctions, but a military take-over apparently does not trigger the Howard doctrine. I've argued the whole deputy sheriff thing was never intended for anything more than domestic consumption, but it's hard to see what would trigger the Howard doctrine if the overthrow of an elected government does not. Terror, perhaps, is in the eye of the beholder.

Incidentally, there's a weirdness. Bainimarama spent Christmas 2005 at Turtle Island in the company of several guests, including the Republican frontrunner for president, US Senator John McCain. It'd be nice to know what advice McCain gave him about preserving, protecting and defending the constitution.

No comments: