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Speaker rules out Opposition MP’s petitions

February 14, 2019 12:56 pm

Petitions requesting the parliament to take action or make resolutions are fundamentally incorrect.

This has been sternly raised by Speaker of the House Ratu Epeli Nailatikau adding that such requests ignore the fact that by written law, the parliament has given the authority to Minister’s to make decisions.

Ratu Epeli highlighted this today when ruling out petitions raised by Opposition MP’s Ro Filipe Tuisawau and Jese Saukuru.

Ro Filipe’s petition sought for negotiations and settlement to land claims in the Suva peninsula.

The Speaker says this petition is clearly trying to get the parliament to take action that’s not within its powers.

It is critical that parliament must respect the constitutional separation of powers between the three arms of the state, being the Judiciary, Legislature and the Executive. The application for compensation by certain parties in relation to the land claims in the Suva Peninsula was made in the High Court and was dismissed in 2011. An appeal against the decision of the High Court is pending in the court of appeal.

The Speaker reiterated that the parliament will not settle or deliberate any matter in relation to which a judicial decision is pending or is otherwise before the court of law.

Ratu Epeli also advised the House the parliament doesn’t award compensation because claims for compensation are made in the courts – determined on evidence and law.

Meanwhile, Saukuru’s petition sought action from parliament for the Minister for Lands to revert certain state land to iTaukei land under the state lands act 1945.

However, the Speaker says the parliament doesn’t have the power to give such directives.

It’s not for parliament to direct the exercise of the executive authority when a written law expressly gives the power and authority to the executive whether a Minister or a public officer to make decisions under such law. Any challenge to any executive action or omission must be judicially reviewed in court.

Ratu Epeli says the relevant act of parliament in this case expressly gives the Minister for Lands in consultation with cabinet the discretion to make decisions.

Hence, the Speaker has advised Saukuru to raise the matter with the Lands Minister.