Standing Order motion leads to disagreement
Rachael Nath and Kelly Vacala
November 25, 2018 11:40 pm
Disagreements amongst Members of Parliament broke out in the first sitting of parliament this morning.
Leader of the government in parliament, Inia Seruiratu moved the motion of the Adoption of Standing Orders, however, Opposition Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka objected.
Rabuka says they are not comfortable with adopting the standing orders presented to parliament.
“We have just taken our oath and we said that we will defend the rights of the people. One feature of the Standing Order being presented for us to adopt is the absence of the right of the people to present petitions into the house as is the normal practice for other democracies. Also the removal of the opposition MP as deputy chairs of the various committees of the house – that also removes the bipartisan approach and I believe removes our right as opposition representing almost 50% of the voters of this country.”
Opposition MP’s Niko Nawaikula, Salote Radrodro, Viliame Gavoka and Biman Prasad also voiced their concerns, calling for amendments to be made to the Standing Orders.
Government MP’s, Jone Usamate, Mereseini Vuniwaqa and Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum responded to their concerns.
“Some of the amendments the other members want are amendments that cannot be done here. We need to go to the Committee, we need to amend clauses. It is obtuse to even suggest that or even recommend that by the Leader of Opposition to make such a proposition. We are running an efficient parliamentary system. Our greatest target is to ensure that the Fijians who voted have an efficient parliament and not meandering along the claims that they are making.”
Speaker, Dr Jiko Luveni interjected the disagreement, instructed a stop to the debate.
MP’s voted on the motion and it was passed with 26 in favour, 21 against and 4 did not vote.
Under the law, the Standing Orders committee with reconvene to review the Standing Orders and report back to parliament in 14 days.
Standing Orders clarify the roles for the conduct of business and the proceeding of parliament.