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Standing Orders To Change In New Year?

Standing Orders To Change In New Year?
November 09
10:40 2015

Proposed changes to the Standing Orders of Parliament are likely to be debated in the New Year.

Discussions could start as early as February when parliamentary sittings resume.

It is believed the chair of the Public Accounts Committee is among positions that will come under scrutiny.

The aim of the exercise is to streamline the activities of Parliament, from the Standing Committees to the Debating Chamber.

The issue was raised by the Government side in last week’s Business Committee meeting.

The Opposition members of the Committee are understood to have been taken by surprise and have vouched that they will resist it.

But the FijiFirst Government will use its majority in the House to push the changes through.

Top of the list of proposed changes are the rules governing the election of the PAC chairman. It is likely that the position will no longer be the exclusive domain of the Opposition.

The incumbent, National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad, was the Opposition Leader’s nominee and was elected with the support of FijiFirst MPs in the committee. The new rule is likely to say that any member of the Committee can be elected chairman.

Efforts to obtain comments from the Public Accounts chairperson, Biman Prasad, yesterday were unsuccessful.

Despite multiple calls, and questions sent through emails and text messages, Mr Prasad did not comment when this edition went to press.

Government had been looking at SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro as the new chairman to replace Mr Prasad. If he declines, the last resort will be to elect one of its members. This will be the first time that a Government MP becomes PAC chairman if it happens.

Mr Prasad has been unpopular with Government because of his public utterances. He has also been a subject of controversy in the SODELPA caucus because of how he was nominated. That issue and others are subjects of an internal party inquiry. They were contained in the controversial Gaunavinaka confidential report.

It was compiled after an audit of the Opposition Office. The report is critical of the Opposition Office governance and the leadership of Ro Teimumu Kepa.

A disciplinary committee report following the inquiry is expected to be submitted to SODELPA’s management board this week.

Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has a policy of not commenting to the Fiji Sun.Fiji Sun contacted some SODELPA MPs.

Response from Social Democratic Party

(SODELPA) MP’s

Question: Will you support Aseri Radrodro as new PAC Chairman?

Semesa Karavaki

“I have no say on that, the caucus will have to meet and decide on that.”

Niko Nawaikula

“The nomination will come from the Opposition Office which means that I will support what the caucus decides. It is too early to say who will be the new chairperson.”

Jiosefa Dulakiverata

“Well that is in the Constitution, we will have to talk first.”

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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