Summary of Deliberations
Tuesday 18th of August 2015.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF TONGA
The Legislative Assembly was further adjourned for 15 minutes because there was no quorum.
The People’s Representative No. 15 for Vavaú asked if the report could be made agenda item number 5 as it relates to the Petition.
The Prime Minister moved that the Motion for the Impeachment of the former Minister Clive Edwards be read out as that was never read out in the Assembly. The Prime Minister also asked that the Legislative Assembly’s files be checked. The Speaker directed on the move made by the Nobles’ Representative for the Niuas that it should be left until the Standing Committee on Privilege’s report is ready.
The invitation for the Nobles’ Representative for the Niuas was read out. The Prime Minister asked the member who is to travel to return with a different method of combating corruption as it has been a century since the preaching to combat corruption yet it is still practised.
The invitation to travel was passed by a vote of 16/0.
Report No.7 of the Standing Committee on Privileges.
The Chairman of the Committee provided clarification of report No.7 and the Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism asked that the matter be stood down to the Whole House Committee after it was read.
The Committee’s report was read as well as petition No. 10 of 2015 and it too was referred to the Whole House Committee.
WHOLE HOUSE COMMITTEE
The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism spoke of the letter which lead to the Committee’s report. But the Nobles’ Representative for Vavaú No.2 asked that they comply with the agenda as referred from the House and if that was the case then he should have asked the Speaker to have it read out in the Assembly. The Nobles’ Representative No.1 for Haápai clarified that the report is based on a Motion tabled by the Minister.
The Nobles’ Representative for Éua moved that they return to the report and the Chairman of the Whole House Committee directed that the Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism wind up his comments. The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism contended that justice was not done.
The Speaker commented on the issue raised by the Prime Minister regarding the motion to have the former Minister of Justice Impeached. Work is still carried out as to how the document was tabled in the Assembly. Asked the Members that if they have any concerns to please file it with the office.
Whole House Committee
Continued with Report No.7 of the Standing Committee on Privileges.
The Prime Minister stated that the rights in his role as Minister is the same as that of a People’s Representative to table a private Bill or motion. The Prime Minister moved that the Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism should have been made a member of the Vavaú Development Committee, the Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Vavaú as well as the Minister himself that the Minister was a member of that Committee.
The Nobles’ Representative No. 1 for Haápai clarified the difference between the responsibilities of Cabinet and People’s Representative. People’s Representatives may file their motions to the House while Ministers file their motions through Cabinet.
The Nobles’ Representative No.1 for Tongatapu stated that he does not agree that the Constitution should be amended as it is fine as it is. The petition to raise the salary of the two officers is already in the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ budget.
The Chairman of the Whole House Committee warned the Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism and he Nobles’ Representative No. 2 for Vavaú twice.
The Minister of Justice stated that there was no problem with the report just an amendment to the Rules.
The deliberations continued with the petition regarding the tractors. The Chairman again directed that the deliberations be returned to the report.
The People’s Representative No. 15 for Vavaú spoke about the responsibilities of the Standing Committee on Privileges which is set out in Rule 176. The Member went on to clarify the report. The Member stressed that the need that there not be any personal agendas.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism stated that there are no personal agendas here. The Nobles’ Representative No.1 for Haápai continued to clarify the matter as the Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism does not wish to hear from the People’s Representative No.15 for Vavaú. But the Minister stated that he still wished to hear from the Member.
The People’s Representative No.15 continued to clarify the recommendations of the report. The Nobles’ Representative for Éua reiterated the importance of Rule 62 of the Rules of procedure remaining as it is because Cabinet has the benefits of the nation but it seems that Cabinet is not letting the rest of the Members take up theirs. The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism stated that there is no campaigning in the fact that a petition is presented as that is people’s constitutional right.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism supported not to amend the Constitution but to remain as it is. The Nobles’ Representative for Éua that because of the Minister’s role he receives more benefits and salary. The Minister of Infrastructure stated that because he carried two roles but the nobles receive two salaries as well. The People’s Representative for Vavaú 15 proposed to remove the amendment of the Constitution instead to have it as an amendment to the Rules. The Nobles’ Representative No.1 for Haápai questioned whether the Prime Minister supported what the Minister is proposing.
Deliberations continued and the House reverted back to the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly was adjourned to 10:00AM Wednesday 19th of August 2015.
PARLIAMENT IS ADJOURNED TO 10:00AM, WEDNESDAY 19th of AUGUST 2015.