25 Sep 2006

Fiji's Attorney General denies public pressure forced review of two controversial bills

7:34 am on 25 September 2006

Fiji's Attorney General denies that public pressure has forced the government to backtrack on two of its controversial bills.

Qoriniasi Bale, who helped draft the Broadcasting Licensing and Employment Relations Bills, has downplayed the fact that cabinet has decided to review the bills.

Mr Bale says the Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, wants cabinet to re-examine some of the recommendations received from the sector committee because they will involve policy decisions.

But Mr Bale claims calls for major changes to the bills are not behind the move.

"All the amendments we had no difficulty with, a lot of them were editorial in character. The main ones that involve policy decision, that is in a couple of them, he wants cabinet to relook at that."

The Prime Minister has said the cabinet is now urgently reviewing the bills, which need numerous amendments after detailed public submissions and concerted criticism of the proposed legislation.