Summary of Proceedings
19th of August, 2015
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF TONGA
After the Roll Call the Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Haápai regarding FM 89.1 stating that they override or drown out other radio stations. The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism started to correct the noble but the Prime Minister asked to let the noble continue.
The Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Vavaú asked that deliberations be respectable in the House, because anger has affected the way the House works. Asked the Chairman to uphold the peace. Everything that is brought into the Legislative Assembly are all facts because everyone here has sworn and oath. Ask that A3Z be more cautious of what they release. Ask that the Prime Minister deal with the Minister that has an outstanding debt in the tens of thousands. Ask the Minister to pay the debt but still carry on as a Minister. This is wasting public funds.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism that Cabinet is still dealing with it and will make submissions on it. The Prime Minister asked that they be given the opportunity to look into his matters of concern. The Noble asked that the Land law be amended so that the Nobles ca be free of their obligations to government.
The Prime Minister thanked the Noble for raising these matters as that is the work of this House. He has made an appearance of radio and television to respond to allegations made against the Minister of Finance. He believes in the independence of the media. Ask that the Members calm down so that they are independent when they speak, and ask that the media take more care in he execution of their duties. As for the 70, 000 debt of the Minister that will be dealt with. The Government is currently working on auditing the CEO he will not be dismissed without cause. As for the education system and to put trust in him as he is doing his best. With regards to the aeroplane there a lot to be done regarding it. Advice has been received that the plane is still in good condition and three companies have made a bid for it. The Government requires confirmation that the plane is safe.
As for the salary of nobles, the public has a right to speak up about it. And as for the Land Act, it is fine as it is, it is the nobles that lease out the land to foreigners. The Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Vavaú corrected the statement but the Prime Minister was concerned but the Prime Minister was concerned because many people have leased their land. The Speaker stated that land is crucial but that matter can be discussed some other time. The Nobles’ Representative for Éua raised questions regarding Pangai Sií and the Prime Minister responded that these were arrangements made by the former government and that he believes there should not be any construction on Pangai Sií. The Speaker clarified that the orders given by George Tupou V, the band stand and the memorial plague should not have been affected.
The motion to have the Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism impeached was read out. The Prime Minister asked if the whole of the minutes will be read out. The Speaker clarified that this was a report of the Committee. The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism stated that he was happy with the way things were proceeding and he support good governance. The Minister did make a correction that he does not believe that his rights to natural justice has been exercised in accordance with Rules 87(3) and 88.
The member was concerned with the motion made based on two recommendations and the Minister of Justice asked to be given the opportunity to explore the matter further with their legal counsel. The deliberations continued and the Prime Minister insisted that the Minister should have been given the opportunity to respond as he on a previous occasion was required to make an appearance before but the Nobles’ Representative for Éua stated that that was different Committee. But the Minister of Police also insisted that the an opportunity be given under natural justice.
Lunch break >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The Speaker clarified the subjects of discussions. The procedures of the House was in question especially Rules 87 and 88 of the Rules of Procedures. The Minister of Justice asked that the matter be referred back to the Committee so the other party can be heard under natural justice. The Minister of Police stated that just because something is alleged to have happened does not necessarily mean that something did happen. But the Nobles’ Representative for Niua clarified that the enquiry set out under Rule 88 is to assess the recommendation and there is no need to hear from both parties. The Nobles’ Representative No. 2 for Vavaú stated that they have complied with Rules 87 and 88.
The Prime Minister continued to speak about natural justice. The Nobles’ Representative No. 1 for Haápai stated that they should exercise Rule 3 of the Rules and Procedures. The Minister of Lands asked that the Minister be given an opportunity to present his side. The People’s Representative for Tongatapu 4 stated that this was a highly sensitive case and he supports anti-corruption and not only in the House but the nation as a whole. There is a need for legal advise on Prima Facie.
The Speaker began by stating that they should but aside the rules and continue with the work at hand. The Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Vavaú suggested that there should be an audit. The People’s Representative No. 15 for Vavaú asked that those who signed on the motion for impeachment not be affected.
The People’s Representative No.4 for Tongatapu moved that they vote for the matter to be referred ack to the Committee to further deal with the matter and also to hear from the Minister. It was passed by a vote of 15.
Whole House Committee.
Deliberations continued with report No. 7 of the Standing Committee on Privilege. The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism stated that democracy is different in Tonga, New Zealand and Australia and the Rules would contradict the Constitution. The People’s Representative No.15 for Vavaú it is not to change Clause 62 but the Rules and Procedures of the House. It is to protect both sides. The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism stated that there should be any comparisons made with abroad because all Members of Parliament abroad are elected and they exercise full democracy.
The Chairman of the Whole House Committee attempted to clarify that deliberations has drifted away from the report and to bring it back at the same time the Committee changed to the Assembly.
Grace and adjourn to 10 Thursday morning.
Parliament is adjourned to 10:00AM Thursday 20th of August 2015.