HOPE! Beam me up, Scotty - NAURU's NEW GOVT could close detention centre

 
- NAURU: Rene Harris' government collapses
- Political reformers win places in new Nauru Government
- New government could close Nauru detention centre

Surprise vote of no confidence, toppling Mr Harris' administration and installing a new President, Ludwig Scotty +++ Mr Harris said: "When we were in government, they (the new govt!) were totally against it (the detention centre)

NAURU: Rene Harris' government collapses

Tuesday, 22 June 2004

The outgoing President of Nauru is angry his government collapsed when one of his own cabinet ministers supported an opposition motion of no confidence. Rene Harris says he had wanted to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections because of the problems with passing legislation. He blamed the situation on the even balance of government and opposition in parliament.

Presenter/Interviewer: Bruce Hill
Speakers: Rene Harris, Outgoing President of Nauru

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 http://www.abc.net.au/ra/pacbeat/stories/s1137426.htm

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New government could close Nauru detention centre

22/06/2004 18:04:09 | ABC Radio Australia News

Outgoing Nauru President Rene Harris says he hopes the incoming government does not close the detention centre for asylum-seekers on the island.

The president's comments come after the opposition launched a surprise vote of no confidence, toppling Mr Harris' administration and installing a new President, Ludwig Scotty.

Our Pacific correspondent, Bruce Hill, says the new government includes several advocates of political reform.

Nauru's detention centre was set up as part of Australia's so-called Pacific Solution for dealing with asylum seekers mainly arriving by sea. Under the arrangement the Australian government subsidises Nauru heavily.

Mr Harris says the new government would be foolish if they follow through on their previous statements and attempt to close the camp.

Mr Harris said: "When we were in government, they were totally against it (the detention centre).

"It'll be interesting what they do. Nauru will come to a grinding halt if they close the detention centre because, for a start, they're paying for fuel and power (and) oil. Nauru can't afford it at the moment."

Nauru's parliament has been effectively gridlocked for months. Our correspondent says things were so bad the speaker recently issued an appeal to MPs overseas to return home urgently, so parliament could pass several budget-related bills before the government ran out of money on 30 June.

President Rene Harris responded to the situation by threatening to dissolve parliament.

But Finance Minister, and former president, Kinza Clodumar, broke the impasse by crossing the floor to support an opposition vote of no confidence. Mr Clodumar has reportedly been rewarded by retaining his cabinet post.

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Political reformers win places in new Nauru Government

22/06/2004 13:06:07 | ABC Radio Australia News

The Pacific island nation of Nauru has a new government which includes several advocates of political reform.

Our Pacific correspondent, Bruce Hill reports the Opposition was able to topple the administration led by President Rene Harris in a surprise vote of no confidence.

Nauru's parliament has been effectively gridlocked for months, our correspondent says.

Things were so bad that the Speaker issued an appeal recently for MPs who were overseas to return home urgently, so parliament could pass several urgent budget-related bills. If they didn't, it was possible the Nauru government would run out of money on June 30.

President Rene Harris responded to the situation by threatening to dissolve parliament. But yesterday a former President, Kinza Clodumar, broke the impasse by crossing the floor to support an opposition vote of no confidence.

The new President is Ludwig Scotty, and his ministerial team reportedly includes some of the younger MPs who have been advocating radical changes in the way the financially troubled island nation is run.

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Nauru to reconsider detention role - Downer blackmails

The Age, Melbourne 22.Jun.2004 16:54

(1) The detention centre arrangement had "obviously helped Nauru", DOWNER SAID, warning that the island's financial system was now critical.

(2) Mr DOWNER SAID the Government would not give in to blackmail and grant protesters asylum.

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Nauru to reconsider detention role

By Mark Forbes, Meaghan Shaw - Canberra, June 23, 2004

Nauru will reconsider its agreement to host a detention centre for Australia following the overthrow of President Rene Harris in a no-confidence vote yesterday.

Parliament installed Ludwig Scotty as the new President, with a cabinet including opposition MPs who have criticised the detention centre deal and treatment of asylum seekers. A spokeswoman for Nauru said the deal would be re-examined by the new administration.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he would work with the new Government, but urged it to pass legislation finalising a new $22 million detention centre agreement and a deal to send Australians to head Nauru's police force and Finance Ministry.

The detention centre arrangement had "obviously helped Nauru", he said, warning that the island's financial system was now critical.

President Scotty, who was first elected to Nauru's Parliament in 1983 and briefly held the presidential post last year, promised a more transparent government that would improve Nauru's economic position. It is effectively bankrupt.
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An impasse in Parliament was broken when Finance Minister Kinza Clodumar crossed the floor yesterday. Mr Clodumar will continue as minister.

The cabinet will include MPs David Adeang as Justice Minister, Baron Waqa as Education Minister and Kieren Keke as Health Minister.

These three were facing at least 14 years in prison under charges of sedition, riot, riotous behaviour and disturbing the peace. They had led an April protest attempting to prevent Mr Harris from flying to China to negotiate a deal with an Asian property company to bail Nauru out of its debt.

Nauru's Government has been in crisis since April after the United States company, General Electric Capital Corporation, moved to recover debts of $230 million from the nation.

Its Parliament has been without a speaker, deadlocked on a replacement and unable to sit since April 7.

Nauru's spokeswoman Helen Bogdan said the sedition charges should be dropped with Mr Adeang now Justice Minister.

Seven Iraqi asylum seekers on Nauru remained on a hunger-strike yesterday, more than a week after they began their protest. International Organisation for Migration chief of mission Cy Winter said all had been treated in hospital, returning every 36 to 48 hours for rehydration before discharging themselves and rejoining the protest.

He said one protester had requested no medical treatment but doctors could not comply once a hunger-striker lost consciousness as suicide is illegal in Nauru. "You can make yourself miserable but you can't kill yourself," he said.

Mr Downer said the Government would not give in to blackmail and grant protesters asylum.