18 May 2016

Region should be concerned about Nauru, says academic

9:59 am on 18 May 2016

Canberra could do a lot more to encourage a move back to good governance in Nauru, according to an Australian academic.

Stewart Firth, a State, Society and Governance research fellow at the Australian National University, said concerns remain over the Nauru government's commitment to democracy and the rule of law.

Dr Firth said Australia has been silent on various worrying trends in Nauru such as the government dabbling with the judiciary and introducing draconian laws ahead of the upcoming election.

He said Nauru's regional partners should be concerned.

"New Zealand has actually taken action, suspending aid to the justice sector in Nauru last September, and that hasn't been renewed as yet. And of course last year the New Zealand parliament passed a motion deploring what was happening to the judiciary on Nauru and the rule of law in general. So New Zealand has taken action but of course Australia has said very little," he said.

Dr Firth said it's not too late for Canberra to do something.

But he said the focus on border security in Australia ahead of its own election might prevent Canberra from criticising Nauru.

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