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ABC News Breakfast -

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Just days after Thailand's

east Asian summit was called

off due to unrest, the Foreign

Affairs Minister Stephen Smith

is set to head to Bali for another international

conference. 509-nation meeting

is examining how to crack down

on people smuggling and also

transnational crime. Mr Smith

joins us now from Perth, just

as unrest continues in Thailand

and Fiji. Good morning, thank

you for joining us. Pleasure.

First of all, turning our

attention to Thailand if we

can, the Prime Minister there,

Abhisit Vejjajiva, says that the situation is now under

control. Is that your

understanding? I've just spoken

to our ambassador in Bangkok.

It's of course in the early

hours of the morning in

Bangkok. The advice I have is

that things are much as they

were yesterday and last night.

Unfortunately and regrettably

overnight we've had at least

two deaths confirmed, possibly

three. Our very strong advice

remains as it was yesterday,

which is if there are

Australians in Bangkok, they

should avoid unnecessary travel

around the city, they should

effectively stay as I put it

anecdotally in their hotels and

their houses but they should

certainly avoid those points

where the military have

gathered and those points have demonstrations are and where

there are large numbers of

people. We continue to urge the

Thai political leadership to

resolve this matter peacefully

and in accordance with the Thai constitution. So the Prime Minister's wrong, it's not

under control, as you say the

situation is as it was about 12

or 24 ours ago. I wonder what

your view is then of what the

role the King is or isn't

playing in this whole

situation. He is regarded as a

figure of unity, as one that

all sides can respect. Why is

he so absent in this

matter? That's of course a

matter for the King, but in the

past, we have seen the palace,

we have seen the King wait

until the King regards it as an

appropriate time to make public

comment or to send messages

out. And when we saw at the end

of last year in

November/December last year, we

saw similar political volatility and political

difficulty, in the end, the

King sent out various messages,

but the King in the first

instance leaves it to the Thai

political and democratic

process and that's what needs

to occur. Certainly it's very

important that Thailand

continues to adhere to

democracy, and whilst we

understand the role of the

military in terms of keeping

order, provideed that is done

in accordance with the

constitution, then there's no

difficulty with that, but it's

essential that the matter is

now resolved in accordance with

the Thai political and

constitutional and democratic

processes. How likely is that

now? As we can see the calls

for proper and full democracy

in Thailand won't go away but

you can't have the democracy

without law and without the

rule of law and that's what

seems to be missing. Thailand

has had these difficulties in

the past. As I say, in

November/December of last year,

we saw similar difficulties.

Different cause and a different analysis and they were

resolved. It took too long to

resolve but eventually they

were resolved. We urge the Thai

political leadership to resolve

these matters similarly.

Yesterday I asked our

ambassador to relay that message to the Thai authorities. That's the strong

urging of Australia and given,

of course, the cancellation of

the East Asia Summit I'm sure

it's also the strong urgings of

Thailand's ASEAN colleagues.

Turning our attention to the

situation in Fiji as well -

there's a few issues to get

through here this morning. We

were hearing just before from

Ian Lloyd QC on the program,

who of course has had a role in

Fiji as a judge on the Court of

Appeal. He is saying that his

fear is that those judges who

have been sacked will turn up

for work again today, this

morning, at great personal

risk. Do you think have a fear

they might do that and do you

think that would be a wise

thing for them to do? Certainly

we are very worried. Our advice

to Australians who are in Fiji

is that they need to exercise

great caution. They need to

exercise a very high level of

caution. We're constantly monitoring the situation in

Fiji. So far as the judges are

concerned, that of course is

just another illustration of

how the Thai constitution has

been abrogated and overturned.

We've seen effectively the

judges overruled and their

commissions terminated. We've

seen the censorship and the

intimidation of the media.

Certainly, judges who turn up

to work this morning will no

doubt have to conduct

themselves very cautiously, and

there will be a number of

Australians who, in the past

have taken commissions with the

Fiji judiciary. They'll have to

think long and hard about

whether it's worth while

continuing in that manner.

Certainly, what appears to be

Commodore Bainimarama is that the case in Fiji under

if a court makes a decision

which he doesn't like, then

it's overturned by whatever

means. I know that you've

mentioned you will give serious

consideration to voting in

favour of removing Fiji from

the Commonwealth again. But in

essence, what does that really achieve and what does that

achieve for the people

there? Somehow we have to

continue to put pressure on the

administration to help return

... Is it the real and

greatest and most pressing

pressure the Australian

Government can think of? There

are a range of things we're

currently doing and a range of

things we're in consultation with friends and neighbours,

but it's quite clear that

unless there's some dramatic

change of events or turn that

Fiji will be suspended from the

Pacific islands forum and also

from the Commonwealth. Both the who met Pacific Islands Forum leaders

who met in Port Moresby in

January of this year and the

Commonwealth itself, the

Commonwealth Ministerial Action

Group met in London in

February/March, have

effectively both put Fiji on a

time table towards democracy.

Unless there is a dramatic turn

of events I think it's frankly

inevitable that Fiji will be suspended from the Commonwealth

that puts pressure on Fiji but

what we do need to do is put

pressure on the administration

but at the same time not to do

things which hurt the people of

Fiji, which is why so far as

Australia is concerned, we

have, for example, had travel

sanctions against members of

the regime, and limits to

ministerial contact. But we try

to do things which don't impact

adversely on the people of Fiji themselves. Just finally -

this conference you're going to

in Bali looking at people

smuggling amongst other ish

shoos shoes. Do we need to --

issues, do we need to view the

recent increase in boat

arrivals here in Australia, is

that a failure of our local

intelligence or a failure of

the intelligence of our

neighbours and partners in

dealing with this issue? I

don't think it's either. Has

to be failure of some

intelligence. We have to notice

these boats are coming our

way. Firstly we know there are increase sod called push increase sod called push

factors which are driving or

displacing people from

countries further to our north,

and Sri Lanka is an unfortunate

example in that respect.

Secondly, we also know that the

people smugglers are becoming

much more adept, much more

savvy using better enhanced

techniques and we need to

combat that. The conference I'm

going to in Bali, the so-called Bali Process, it's Bali Process, it's co-chaired

by Australia and Indonesia ...

Just quickly if you can. Sure.

It gathers together 30 or 40

countries in our region plus some important international

organisations, because the key

thing in stopping people

movement is to get regional

coordination. We can't do this

without our neighbours in the

region, like Indonesia,

Malaysia and also increasingly

Sri Lanka. Stephen Smith,

thanks very much. Thanks

thanks very much. Thanks

Virginia. That at least looks

like one conference that won't

be cancelled upon the people

arriving there. We've been

reporting this morning there've

been two deaths in the protests

in Thailand. The minister believes there may have been

three. That's it from 'ABC News

Breakfast' for this morning.

Thanks for joining us today.