NEWS

Opposition: Why We Walked Out

The Opposition’s attempts to question the 2015 National Budget came to a head yesterday when they walked out of Parliament. Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca signalled to members of the
09 Dec 2014 09:30
Opposition: Why We Walked Out
Empty seats on the Opposition side of Parliament yesterday. Photo: Rama

The Opposition’s attempts to question the 2015 National Budget came to a head yesterday when they walked out of Parliament.

Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca signalled to members of the Opposition to stand and walk out, after the Speaker of the House Jiko Luveni ruled against them on a point of order.

Earlier, Ratu Isoa had wanted the Government to withdraw the Budget Estimates and Supplements as tabled before any corrections, terminate the Budget debates and require the Government to resubmit the 2015 Budget with all its amendments by December 15, 2015 or in January if Government was unable to meet the deadline.

The position of the Opposition had been outlined in a letter sent to the Speaker of Parliament, Jiko Luveni, on December 8, 2014.

Ro Teimumu Kepa, Leader of the Opposition, suggested the Leader of Government Business Pio Tikoduadua and Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum were acting in collusion to “make recommendations” on the matter before consultation with the Speaker.

At a press conference yesterday, several senior members of the Opposition said they were divorcing themselves from the whole process, but would inform the public of their way forward.

Quotes from the press conference:

Leader of the Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa

For us we cannot go along with something that is not according to the Constitution, that is not right for us to work with, to agree to or to support this budget

National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad

It is unfortunate that we have to make a point in this manner. The role of the Opposition in Parliament and outside Parliament is to hold the Government accountable to their policies.

In  this instance the Opposition has decided to make a point but deciding not to be part of the rest of the process for the Budget.

We believe that the Government had a good opportunity to correct what we had identified in our Budget address with respect to the tabling of the estimates and when errors in the estimates were found we also believe that this was also another good opportunity for Government to rectify some of these concerns and take on board some of the Opposition’s genuine requests to deal with these matters in a way that will allow us to participate fully and responsibly in the final stage of the Budget process, which is the committee of supply

Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu

This is not our doing. This is their doing. They came up with the Budget that is full of flaws and it is not only us. One of our Honourable Members identified some shortfalls. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Viliame Gavoka

We wanted Government to take the Budget back to source, relook at the mistakes, and bring us back a new Budget with all the corrections.

Feedback:  josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 

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