28 Jun 2005

Fiji's Rabuka says government lobbies provinces for bill

2:12 pm on 28 June 2005

A former Fiji Prime Minister says the government is lobbying the Great Council of Chiefs hard in a bid to boost support for its controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Sitiveni Rabuka says the government is targetting the country's provincial councils to get them on side first.

Mr Rabuka says the Attorney General, Qoriniasi Bale, attended the first provincial council meeting over the bill in Kadavu recently.

He believes it's vital the government gets the provinces on side to secure the support of the GCC.

"I believe the government is going out to the provinces, so that they can come to the Great Council of Chiefs with the numbers to say look we have 14 provinces, there are consensus on these issues, there are some difficulties with these issues, and it's up to the Great Council of Chiefs to advise the government accordingly."

Sitiveni Rabuka

The Attorney General, Qoriniasi Bale denies that the government is trying to muster support.

That is not the way we do things in Fiji. If you understand our culture, the government of the day will just make a submission to the GCC. It is up to the chiefs what they decide on that.

Qoriniasi Bale

A Fiji Times report says some senior cabinet members are refusing to campaign for the bill due to certain provisions in the proposed legislation.

Mr Bale says the bill was the result of a collective, unanimous decision by cabinet.