Analysis | Politics

Let’s Keep Families And The Innocent Away From Debates In Parliament

The alleged incident between Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Opposition MP Pio Tikoduadua is a wake-up call. We need to learn from it and move forward making sure that it does not happen again.
04 Sep 2019 18:09
Let’s Keep Families And The Innocent Away From Debates In Parliament
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and


Personal attacks where innocent families are dragged into debates in Parliament must stop.

They have happened before and the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was a victim too.

Members of Parliament should focus on issues rather than going personal.

Parliamentary privilege must not be used to denigrate innocent family members for cheap political mileage.

It is unethical and morally wrong.

It is counter-productive to what Parliament is trying to achieve.

Some of the issues on the Order Paper have been scaled back to allow Parliament to deal with this case.

The boycotting of Parliament by the three National Federation Party MPs Biman Prasad, Mr Tikoduadua and Lenora Qereqeretabua was a political ploy to get maximum attention in this case. Instead of trying to get a quick solution, they have complicated it.

It did not help when Mr Rabuka and colleague Adi Litia Qionibaravi boycotted the Privileges Committee claiming Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum should recuse himself because he had commented about the case and “he agrees with the Hon Prime Minister, accusing the Hon Tikoduadua of making a personal attack”.

Mr Rabuka challenged Ratu Epeli’s ruling to refer the case to the Privileges Committee.

He said it was out of order because Standing Order Rule 134 (1) “clearly states that a motion for a matter of privilege must be part of the House Agenda and must be raised by a member during proceedings after having given the Speaker one-hour notice, rather than the Speaker initiating the matter.

“It is unfortunate in our view that the Speaker has erred in raising the matter of his own volition.”

After he stepped down, Mr Rabuka wanted to get back into the Privileges Committee, but he was prevented by other members. He was replaced by Niko Nawaikula.

It begs the question why Mr Rabuka changed his mind and tried to get back into the committee when he had earlier said the Speaker had erred.

The Opposition has effectively complicated the case.

Instead of getting on with deliberating on it, it has been engaged in grandstanding for political expediency.

Tomorrow, the committee is supposed to table the report.

It has already wasted enough time dealing with the shenanigans from the Opposition.

As a result, the focus has been hijacked by the Opposition to achieve its objective – to create confusion and doubts.


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