NEWS

Be Responsible, MPs Told

Parliamentarians are not above the law, despite their new privileges, the new Fijian parliamentarians were reminded yesterday. Former Clerk to the Victorian State Parliament in Australia, Wayne Tunnecliffe, said privileges
01 Oct 2014 11:31

Parliamentarians are not above the law, despite their new privileges, the new Fijian parliamentarians were reminded yesterday.

Former Clerk to the Victorian State Parliament in Australia, Wayne Tunnecliffe, said privileges like freedom of speech in Parliament had to be exercised with responsibility.

He reminded the mixed gathering of FijiFirst, SODELPA and NFP parliamentarians that the Speaker of the House would clamp down on ‘un-parliamentary behaviour’ like name-calling, defamation and personal remarks.   However, he said parliamentary speech privileges did not extend outside parliament so members had to be careful about comments that were repeated outside, particularly to media.

Mr Tunnecliffe helped facilitate a session along with another Australian specialist, Russell Grove, former Parliamentary Clerk to the New South Wales State Parliament.

Mr Grove said Parliament needed to encourage more inclusive debate because ‘wisdom was not limited to one side of the House.’

The specialists took part yesterday under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that has been a key player in the capacity-building programme for the new Fijian parliament. The UNDP has been part of the Fiji Parliamentary Support project that includes the New Zealand Aid Programme, European Union and Australian Aid.

As part of the project, parliamentary specialists from other countries, particularly Australia, have been brought into the country to help with the induction of the new Fijian parliamentarians.

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