The Office Legislative Assembly of Tonga wishes to clarify that not all of the 22 Acts that were passed by Parliament in its 2021 session have been submitted to His Majesty, King Tupou VI, in order to seek His Majesty’s consideration for Royal Assent.
The Constitution of Tonga provides the law-making process, and it requires that an Act passed by the Legislative Assembly must bear the King’s signature before it becomes law. Therefore, all Acts passed by the Legislative Assembly must be presented to His Majesty, and those Acts will become law if the King sanctions it with His signature (Royal Assent).
However, before Acts passed by Parliament can be presented to the King for the purpose of seeking Royal Assent, they must be referred from the Parliament Office to the Attorney General’s Office, where the Acts go through legislative vetting and checks. This process ensures the Acts reflects all amendments made by the Legislative Assembly and are presented in accordance with standard legislation formats. Most importantly, this process allows for completion of Constitutional law-making requirements that apply to Acts that amend the Constitution.
In 2021, the Legislative Assembly passed a total of 22 Acts. As of today, the status of all Acts passed by the Legislative Assembly in the 2021 session are–
Acts No. 1 – 3 of 2021 have been presented to the King, and received Royal Assent. These are Acts passed by Parliament during sittings in the months of June and July 2021.
Acts No. 4 - 22 of 2021 have not been presented to the King to seek Royal Assent. These Acts were passed by Parliament during the sittings in the month of August 2021.
The Office of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga refutes the article in the Matangitonga online headlined “Lawmakers score 3 out of 22” as MISLEADING. It implies that all 22 Acts passed by Parliament in the 2021 session have all been submitted for Royal Assent, and that only 3 were granted Royal Assent. The fact is, only 3 of the 22 Acts have been submitted for Royal Assent and all those 3 Acts received Royal Assent. The remaining 19 Acts have not been presented to the King seeking His Majesty’s Royal Assent. The King has yet to decide which of those remaining 19 Acts are to be sanctioned (or not) with His signature.