REVIEW: Coups, globalisation and Fiji’s reset ‘democracy’ paradigm

Keywords: Fiji, coups, military, constitutions, democracy, Sitiveni Rabuka, George Speight, Voreqe Bainimarama


The General’s Goose: Fiji’s Tale of Contemporary Misadventure, by Robbie Robertson. Canberra: Australian National University. 2017. 366 pages. ISBN 9781760461270

When Commodore (now rear admiral retired and an elected prime minister) Voreqe Bainimarama staged Fiji’s fourth ‘coup to end all coups’ on 5 December 2006, it was widely misunderstood, misinterpreted and misrepresented by a legion of politicians, foreign affairs officials, journalists and even some historians. A chorus of voices continually argued for the restoration of ‘democracy’ – not only the flawed version of democracy that had persisted in various forms since independence from colonial Britain in 1970, but specifically the arguably illegal and unconstitutional government of merchant banker Laisenia Qarase that had been installed on the coat-tails of the third (attempted) coup in 2000. Yet in spite of superficial appearances, Bainimarama’s 2006 coup contrasted sharply with its predecessors.


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Author Biography

David Robie, Pacific Media Centre - AUT

Editor of Pacific Journalism Review and Professor of Communication Studies and Journalism

School of Communication Studies

Auckland University of Technology


Baledrokadroka, J. (2012). The sacred king and warrior chief: The role of the military in Fiji politics. Unpublished doctoral thesis. Canberra: Australian National University.

Cass, P. (2017). Trade deal worthless without PNG or Fiji, says economist, but NZ boasts of benefits. Kaniva News. Retrieved from

Robertson, R., & Sutherland, W. (2001). Government by the gun: The unfinished business of Fiji’s 2000 coup. Sydney, NSW, & London, UK: Pluto Press & Zed Books.

Robertson, R., & Tamanisau, A. (1988). Fiji: Shattered coups. Sydney: Pluto Press.

Robie, D. (2001). Coup coup land: The press and the putsch in Fiji. Asia Pacific Media Educator, 10, 149-161. Retrieved from See also for an extensive media coverage examination of the 1987 Rabuka coups: Robie, D. (1989). Blood on their banner: Nationalist struggles in the South Pacific. London: Zed Books; 2006 coup and 2014 elections: Robie, D. (2016). ‘Unfree and unfair’?: Media intimidation in Fiji’s 2014 elections. In Ratuva, S., & Lawson, S. (Eds.), The people have spoken: The 2014 elections in Fiji. Canberra: ANU Press.

The Review (1994). Rabuka and the reporter. Pacific Journalism Review, 1(1), 20-22. Retrieved from

The General's Goose
How to Cite
Robie, D. (2018). REVIEW: Coups, globalisation and Fiji’s reset ‘democracy’ paradigm. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 24(1), 223-228.

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