2 Sep 2014

Australian FM confident of Fiji elections

9:06 pm on 2 September 2014

Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, is confident Fiji's upcoming elections will be a success and vindicate Australia's moves to rekindle ties with the military-led nation.

Fiji will hold elections mainly on September 17, the first since the country's leader Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama seized power in a military coup in 2006.

The Abbott Government lifted Australia's travel bans on senior Fijian military and government figures in March as a goodwill gesture ahead of the much-awaited poll.

However it is understood some within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade wanted to wait for the result of the election before granting concessions to Rear Admiral Bainimarama.

But Ms Bishop says Australia would have been excluded from the electoral process if it had not changed its approach to Fiji.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute says Ms Bishop is right to take a 'forward-leaning' approach to Fiji, even if the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade disagrees.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Photo: AAP