Judges have been sacked, opposition politicians jailed and citizens’ rights eroded. Human rights advocates say there has been a breakdown in the rule of law on the Pacific island

As Marise Payne stands in her colourful shirt for the obligatory photo opportunity at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru this week, she might do well to consider the high price Australia pays to prop up one of the most dysfunctional governments on the planet.

As the newly minted foreign affairs minister, the arc of Australia’s influence in the Pacific is now Payne’s bailiwick, and Nauru is a country, it seems, edging closer to the cusp of democratic calamity.

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