NEWS

MPs Will Need More Than Punch Posturing

ANALYSIS In the recent induction programme for Fijian parliamentarians, someone asked: ‘If I disagree with someone, can I throw a punch?’ The question from a bored Anare Vadei, of the
05 Oct 2014 12:34

ANALYSIS

In the recent induction programme for Fijian parliamentarians, someone asked:
‘If I disagree with someone, can I throw a punch?’
The question from a bored Anare Vadei, of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), drew sniggers from several parts of the Lali Room at the Holiday Inn Suva.
The comment would have been an acceptable part of banter around the grog bowl.
However, a room filled with the elected representatives of our country, to their credit, maintained a dignified silence. A rebuke of sorts, to Mr Vadei.
MP’s will need to maintain a level of decorum in Parliament. Not that parliaments around the world don’t resort to physical altercations.
Frustrated parliamentarians in several South East Asian nations have been known to come to blows.
The rowdy events have been captured on live feeds and television broadcasts.
In fact, Fijians parliamentarians from both sides of the House will need to wrap themselves around the reality of our new Parliament.  The new technology is a game-changer.
n Live feeds will mean increased public scrutiny.  Parliamentarians will not only need to maintain decorum but be masters of informed debate and delivery of speech.
The Government’s investment in telecentres means increased access to these live feeds, especially in the rural areas.  Discounting the power of the rural voter in this regard would be a major blunder for any side of the House.
n With the new iPad tablets, necessary documents will only be a touch away for parliamentarians.
This should improve engagement in debates.
Hopefully, previous MPs caught ‘sleeping on the job,’at Veiuto as highlighted by the media will be a thing of the past.
n The live feeds will have an impact on media coverage as well. Rather than repeating the ‘sound bites’ for their stories, the public need informed analysis.  It’s a steep learning curve.
There are only a handful of senior journalists around who covered the last Parliament at Veiuto.
In fact, there are even fewer who were around during the last sitting of Parliament in 1987 at the now renovated chambers.
The emphasis on key performance indicators for the current Government is expected to extend to parliamentary sessions.
Come prepared, is the operative term.
In fact, come prepared for bouts of verbal sparring.
All within the confines of the parliamentary standing orders, of course.  If anyone wants a physical altercation, show him/her the door.  In fact, show them the exit.  That’s where they belong.
Feedback:  josuat@fijisun.com.fj




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