27 Nov 2007

Rudd expected to engage with Pacific rather than lecture

2:37 pm on 27 November 2007

A Fiji academic says the new Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, can be expected to engage with Fiji, rather than pontificate.

The Fijilive news website reports that this is the view of Dr Chandra Dulare, the director of the Institute of Applied Studies at the University of Fiji.

Dr Dulare says Mr Rudd has previously said the arc of instability to the north and east of Australia which includes Fiji, was costly to Canberra, and this would worsen without policy change.

Mr Rudd had said the answer was not to send warships and troops but to eradicate the causes of instability, which he identified as lack of growth and poverty.

Dr Dulare says Mr Rudd has acknowledged that Australia's relationship with Pacific island countries is fragile and creates an opportunity for non-regional states to occupy the vacuum and further displace Australia's interests.