Auckland/ Suva: Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has called on the Australian government to refrain from interfering with the internal affairs of this country.

This follows a reported comment made by an unnamed Australian Foreign Affairs official who has made statements in the Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper The Australian.

The Australian Foreign Affairs Official was quoted as saying, “the people may have no choice but to stand up to him (Bainimarama) and his thugs.”

This statement the Prime Minister said is inciting the people of Fiji to rise against the government, and promoting further unrest. Commodore Bainimarama said calling government ministers “thugs” is derogatory, mischievous and portrays the condescending attitude of the Australian Government.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola questioned the Australia’s foreign policy on Fiji. He said an article titled “Perfect one day, brutal the next” with a map of Fiji’s premier tourism sites was a clear indication of misleading and confusing the Australians on what’s happening in Fiji.

“I would like to question the motive of the journalists who are writing these sort of distorted articles and news editors for publishing them. The article reflects happenings in Fiji in 2006 which is now history and Fiji as a whole has moved on”, Mr Kubuabola said.

“There is an Australian Embassy in Fiji and I believe they continuously report on Fiji’s situation back to Australia. I do not understand why they have allowed this to happen.”

Distorted articles were hurting the tourism industry and the thousands of ordinary Fijians who relied on it, he said.

Over the past six months visitor arrivals from Australia has continued to increase with expectations of more than 300,000 Australians visiting Fiji by December this year.

“While the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Stephen Smith is quick to condemn Fiji on its Media Decree, he failed to recognise that News Limited journalists are doing the very thing which the Fiji government is trying to correct through its new Media Decree for fair, balanced and accurate reporting,” Mr Kubuabola said.