18 Aug 2014

Australian observers to Fiji overlooking real issues

10:26 am on 18 August 2014

An academic says the Australian observer mission to monitor Fiji's election is only concerned about what happens on election day and is overlooking the long-term issues.

Fiji has agreed to a 14-nation observer group, which will be led by Australia, India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Dr Brij Lal from the Australian National University says the observer mission is on restrictive terms set by the Fiji government.

Dr Lal says the lead-up to the election has not been a level playing field, the media is not free to report on campaigns and the public are anxious about expressing their point of view.

But he says Australia does not seem to care about that.

"Australia just want to get Fiji off the table. And if the elections are even remotely democratic they will simply say this is fine, Fiji should be welcome back into the fold and everything will be alright. But in the long run this is a very short-sighted view that really does not address the problem."

The Australian National University's Dr Brij Lal.