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Tuesday, 26 May 1987
Page: 3296

Mr SINCLAIR —Madam Speaker, I ask--

Mr Young —Wait until Joh gets down here.

Mr SINCLAIR —I would not worry about it.

Mr Hawke —Yes, wait until Joh gets here.

Mr SINCLAIR —You will have a long wait, my friend. You will be sitting over this side much sooner. I ask a question of the Foreign Minister. In light of the recent Fijian elections under the multiracial Constitution, do he and his Government recognise Dr Bavadra as the Prime Minister of Fiji? If so, what status does he accord the council of advisers appointed by the Governor-General of Fiji? Having properly put aside the question of military intervention, and presumably supporting his ministerial colleagues' opposition to the Australian Council of Trade Unions industrial bans against Australian-Fijian trade, what action does he propose to try to enforce his attitude towards democracy in that country, which is a former colony, an ally of Australia and a fellow member of the South Pacific Forum?

Mr HAYDEN —There is an unstated assumption in the question put by the leader of one of the rump factions of the coalition that Australia is able to order around the affairs of countries in this region; that we can pick up the small island states by the scruff of the neck and the seat of their pants, give them a good shake and point them in the right direction. I assure the right honourable member that if that is the approach that is used by any country in the region towards another country-in particular, by Australia towards the small island states-it will be counterproductive. I want to make it clear, as the Prime Minister has made it clear on a number of occasions, that we do not and we will not interfere in the internal affairs of another country. What we do want to see, however, is the restoration of proper democratic processes. We regard the election of Dr Bavadra and his Government as part of that proper democratic process. They were properly elected according to the constitution and democratic processes. We want to see the restoration of proper democratic processes in that country. Beyond that, I have nothing more to say at this stage.