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Fiji: visits by Fiji touring sides.

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Media release Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer

13 June 2000 FA60

Fiji - Visits by Fiji Touring Sides

I welcome and fully support the action announced today by the New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Hon Phil Goff, in withholding visas for a visiting Fijian sporting team. Mr Goff and I have been in close contact as the New Zealand Government has moved to take this step.

On 29 May, I announced a range of the measures which the Australian Government will put in place unless constitutional government is maintained in Fiji. These include a thorough review of sporting contacts and a possible ban on the Fiji national rugby team visiting Australia.

Australia has yet to pursue any of these measures formally pending release of the hostages being held in the Parliament in Suva. However, I would consider it highly inappropriate in the current circumstances to have Fijian sporting teams able to visit, when the democratic government of Fiji has been removed as a consequence of the acts of thuggery committed by George Speight and his associates.

Should any applications for entry to Australia be made by Fijian sporting teams in the near future, I would expect to consider them in accordance with the power available to me under the Migration Act to review applications.

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