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Speaker Dr Luveni To Seek Legal Advice On Standing Orders

Speaker Dr Luveni To Seek  Legal  Advice On Standing Orders
Member of Opposition Tupou Draunidalo and Biman Prasad at the Parliament House Yesterday.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.
April 27
10:07 2016

Heated debate over suspension motion


Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni says she will seek legal advice over a disagreement between the Opposition and Government on a motion to suspend the Standing Orders of Parliament.

She made the statement at the end of a heated debate in Parliament yesterday.

Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu said it was simply the interpretation of standing order 37.5.

It stated following the presentation of a petition by a member, that member must move a motion that Parliament vote on whether the petition is to be referred to the standing committee under which the subject matter of the petition falls.

“Our interpretation was just simply a motion, we voted on it but because of the word motion that led us to the debate but this is motions specific to petitions and standing order 37.5 is just about petitions, motions regarding petitions, 46 and 47 in the Standing Orders talk about other motions, that was the clarification we sought from the higher office,” he said.

However, Opposition MP, Niko Nawaikula said they needed a clarification on amendments done in Parliament and that it should had been referred to the Standing Orders committee before it was brought back to Parliament.

“I am talking about the proposed amendment that has been made here to the petition; when we started in this august house; petitions were our role and this very long authority in relation to that,” Mr Nawaikula said.

“It allows the individual to take his concerns right up the highest authority in the land without anyone because that is his right; it is the role of this house; the accountability of transparency; it doesn’t go to an agency, it goes right up and that is why petitions are here.

“All they can do is recommendation but it allows the public to be heard and the other side of the house was not happy with that; you changed it to deny us that right; you come today and take amendments to standing order number six and suspend proceedings here; was wrong with that side of the house; you can’t take the flame,” he said.

National Federation Party MP Tupou Draunidalo said the suspension of Standing Orders and not following the order paper; giving them more notice that were given now.

She said the move by Parliament to change the standing orders would depict a wrong picture to the public.

“We are just demeaning this house; this is meant to be a house of free speech and we want people from outside to treat us with respect; treat the house with respect, the elected members and the elected government and opposition.

“But when we do these kinds of things people outside will not have much respect for any of us; we have an order paper with standing orders and the Government had made changes at the last sitting where we were not present so the Government used it’s numbers; fine that’s democracy and it’s over, we just amended the standing orders and here we are going to suspend it,” she said.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika



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