THE Speaker of the Legislative Assembly today reminded members that they should follow Parliaments Standing Orders and Rules of Procedures in everything they do.
Lord Tu’ivakano’s comments came when Parliament convenes at 2pm today to discuss the Hon. Prime Minister’s (PM) reply to motion of no confidence against him brought by 10 members of the House.
It was a controversial issue when the Privilege Standing Committee report No. 3/2017 recommended the PM’s reply will not be read in Parliament due to disagreements between the Prime Minister and the Committee.
This follows a four consecutive meetings of the Committee after they screen Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s response to ensure it was consistent with the House Rules and Standing Orders
The Committee’s decision was reached after they consulted the Speaker this morning. Their consensus agreement was to make amendments to the PM’s reply pertaining to information defaming a person outside Parliament.
According to Clause 170 of the House Rules, when a person’s name is mentioned in a parliamentary committee’s finding is likely for his reputation to be seriously damaged, prior to its submission, that person must be given an opportunity to respond to them.
The Lord Speaker says the PM’s response to 17 accusations against him was really good with no exceptions to two points. These supporting documents defames a Member of Parliament and another person outside Parliament.
He asserts that should Parliament abide its House Rule, this can be a precedent for future cases. Adding that such practice would allow Members to use Parliament to defame a person. Therefore the Speaker believes with Parliament following its House Rules and the process it has for the vote of no confidence motion. It must be followed and adhered to, according to the Speaker.
This afternoon, the Hon. PM advocates the need for his reply to all allegations be read in Parliament. The Speaker advised Hon. Pohiva since he rejected the Committee’s recommendation he can answer to all allegations verbally.
In addressing Parliament, the Chairman of the Privilege Standing Committee, Lord Tu’iha’angana reports, during the three consecutive meetings yesterday, they came into a consensus agreement for excerpts on six and nine be removed.
Hon. Pohiva was consulted on the committee’s decision. Another meeting was called again at 1030pm last night and the PM was present to further elaborate on his stances relating to the information mentioned above.
However, after consideration of some legal issues this morning, Lord Tu’ivakano believes two excerpts the PM made was not in compliance with the House Rules.
Hon. Pohiva was consulted on the Committee’s decision. At 1:15pm today, a letter submission from the PM rejected the Committee’s recommendation.
When the Committee’s report was read, the Minister of Police, Hon. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa was shocked to learn of the outcome. He calls on Parliament that vote of no confidence motion is a serious matter. Therefore, it should take into consideration the need for the PM’s reply to be read in Parliament.
Lord Speaker Tu’ivakano maintains his stance that defaming of persons outside Parliament breaches the House Rules and Regulations.
The Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni moves a motion paving the way for removal of some passages from Pohiva’s reply.
Parliament is adjourned until tomorrow for amendments to make on PM’s reply.
This follows Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s approval of the proposed amendments to be made.