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Call Of Nation Priority For Dr Luveni, 72

Call Of Nation Priority For Dr Luveni, 72
Dr Luveni
July 15
10:52 2018

Dr Jiko Luveni says her four-year term as the Speaker of Parliament was mesmerising.

However, duty to the nation comes first for her if she is asked to be Speaker for a second term.

“If I am asked to do so and, with my family’s encouragement to be strong and work for the betterment of our nation,” Dr Luveni said.

She is the first female Speaker of Parliament in the history of Fiji.

Dr Luveni said there was nothing in this world women could not do that men could.

She has learned a lot as the Parliament sessions went throughout the four years after the 2014 General Election.

If given the chance, she would be blessed to take up the role as Speaker of Parliament for a second term.

So how do you feel being Speaker of Parliament for the past four years?

Speaker: It was an honour for me to be Fiji’s first female Speaker of Parliament. I have finished a term of four years as the Speaker and I am satisfied with how I have performed.

How do you encourage women to strive for a political career?

Speaker: As women, we must not look at ourselves that we are different from men. Yes, our culture, our traditions have placed us in a position, but now we should be more modernised with the gender equality promotions that the whole world is aspiring to achieve.

Women must see themselves as people who have God-given talents and that we are able to perform just as well as anybody else.

Let’s not underestimate the women because we can perform well just as men.

Once we know the skills that are needed, once we know the knowledge that we require, and having those as our weapon, it is very easy for women to take up parliamentarian positions. I am personally satisfied with how I have performed as the Speaker of Parliament and I know that other women can do the same, or even perform better.

I encourage women not to be afraid to take up a position.

How was the transition of Parliament from 2014 till today?

Speaker: The positive thing about me being the new Speaker, 88 per cent of Parliamentarians were new. So we all were learning as we went along. The Members of Parliament were learning; I was also learning and we learned very quickly. We understood the roles that we should play in Parliament and knowing that Parliament sittings were being aired live on TV where our voters are looking at how we performed.

We really had to learn and adapt as quickly as we could. We had Members of the Parliament from the Opposition and Government, who served in Parliament before and they tried me and my capabilities and later on they were more careful.

Learning Curve

It was a learning process for all Members of Parliament and me. Coming towards the end of Parliament, we all were very comfortable, very experienced and confident in our performance in Parliament.

It was an emotional and great achievement of four years of Parliament.

As the Speaker of Parliament, you have also faced a lot of criticism over social media such as favouring the Government Parliamentarians. What do you have to say about the critics?

Speaker: I have attended a lot of conferences for Speaker of Parliament and particularly women Speakers.

We have all faced the problem of being criticised.

If there is a Parliament with overwhelming majority of Government, that is how people will see the role of the Speaker. To side with Government, to win the vote. That is why people were criticising because they were not familiar with the standing orders and rules of Parliament.

The way that I make the ruling will be perceived as being one sided. But, I have adapted to that. I have been blamed that I am being one sided; I take it, I accept it.

Education unit

And this is why I had established the civic education unit so we can take the Parliament to the people and educate them on the role of Parliament.

Particularly, the role of the Speaker, so that people could understand that the Speaker has no say in the debate, no say in the approval of motions tabled before the house.

I have tried my very best to be firm, to follow the rules and apply it to both sides of the House.

If given an opportunity to be the Speaker of Parliament after 2018 General Election, would you take up the role?

Speaker: I have been encouraged by my husband who continues to tell me that I am serving the nation and if the nation needs me then I have to respond to the call of the nation.

This is why I will take what I am asked to do and, with my family’s encouragement to be strong and work for the betterment of our nation.

I will be blessed and honoured to be Speaker of Parliament again.

Edited by Percy Kean

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