PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has expressed his hope for a "new and positive phase" in the relationship between Fiji and Australia.
In his congratulatory message on behalf of the government and the people of Fiji to his newly-elected Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, Commodore Bainimarama said Mr Abbott's victory was a decisive one.
"Fiji had appreciated the understanding shown to it by Mr Abbott's incoming Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, and looked forward to the era of constructive engagement that she flagged in her comments before the election," Commodore Bainimarama said.
He said Fiji was moving towards genuine democratic election next year and there were ample opportunities for renewed collaboration with Australia.
During the Australia-Fiji Business Council forum last month, Ms Bishop said Australia should aim to support Fiji in its September 2014 proposed elections.
She said the assistance should be in whatever form Fiji required to overcome the challenges that come with going on the path to parliamentary democracy and constitutional law and rule.
Ms Bishop said it was time to rebuild bridges between the two countries.
"Should a coalition government be elected at some stage this year, I commit to ensuring that normalising relations between Australia and Fiji is a priority of an incoming government," she said.
The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade said Australia should, of course, encourage Fiji to hold elections as Commodore Bainimarama had promised for 2014.
"We welcome that commitment. I would like to see, should the coalition be elected, the restoration of full diplomatic relations between Australia and Fiji. I would like to see Fiji welcomed back into the Commonwealth, the Pacific Forum and other forums around the world."