Parliament

Draunidalo suspended, opposition walks out

Parliament voted to suspend opposition National Federation Party (NFP) MP, Hon. Tupou Draunidalo, for the remainder of the term of Parliament. The Leader of Government in Parliament, Hon. Inia Seruiratu moved that the recommendations of the Privileges Committee be adopted. After debate, the motion was agreed to by 28 (Yes) – 16 (No) – 6 (Not […]

Nacanieli Tuilevuka

June 3, 2016 2:36 pm

Parliament voted to suspend opposition National Federation Party (NFP) MP, Hon. Tupou Draunidalo, for the remainder of the term of Parliament.

Opposition MP Hon. Tupou Draunidalo. (Peni Shute/Newswire)
Opposition MP Hon. Tupou Draunidalo. (Peni Shute/Newswire).

The Leader of Government in Parliament, Hon. Inia Seruiratu moved that the recommendations of the Privileges Committee be adopted.

After debate, the motion was agreed to by 28 (Yes) – 16 (No) – 6 (Not Voted).

The Opposition walked out soon after the vote, and the Speaker, Dr Jiko Luveni, adjourned the session to June 22, 2016.

Download the Report (PDF 661KB)

The Fijian Consitution defines the “Term of Parliament” as four years:

58.—(1) Subject to this section, Parliament, unless sooner dissolved in accordance with this Constitution, continues for 4 years from the date of its first meeting after a general election of the members of Parliament.

The Privileges Committee of Parliament gave the following recommendations:

(1) Hon. Draunidalo must formally apologise in Parliament while undergoing formal censure and before leaving the precincts – to the following –

  • (i) Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts; and
  • (ii) The people of Fiji, the apology, must reflect the severity of the breach and the fact that it has had far-reaching effects and gone viral on social media here and abroad. The apology format should also recognise that the Honourable Minister did not, in fact, utter the words “dumb natives”;

(2) Hon. Draunidalo be suspended for the remainder of the term of Parliament, with immediate effect from 03 June 2016 upon tendering of the apology and censure by Parliament;

(3) During the period of suspension, Hon. Draunidalo is not allowed to enter the parliamentary precincts including the Opposition Office. Immediately upon her suspension, Hon. Draunidalo must be ordered to leave the precincts of Parliament and to remain outside of Parliament precincts; and

(4) If Hon. Draunidalo fails to comply with any of the above, that necessary enforcement measures must be imposed to ensure compliance.

According to the report, the members that prepared the report consisted solely of Government members.  Opposition MP Hon. Semesa Karavaki and AG Sayed-Khaiyum withdrew from the meeting.  Hon. Draunidalo also withrew from the meeting.

Signatories of the Report:

  1. Hon. Ruveni Nadalo, Deputy Speaker (Chairperson)
  2. Hon. Inia Seruiratu
  3. Hon. Faiyaz Koya
  4. Hon. Rosy Akbar

The Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni referred a matter regarding opposition MP Hon. Tupou Draunidalo’s comments in parliament when Education Minister Hon. Mahendra Reddy was speaking on Wednesday, to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee.

Speaker of Parliament Dr. Jiko Luveni
Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni.

Hon. Draunidalo made the comments after Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum raised a point of order.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: “Point of order Madam Speaker, Hon. Draunidalo just called Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy a fool.”

DRAUNIDALO: “And in his speech calling us dumb natives, you idiot.”

Speaker of Parliament, Dr Luveni said she has analysed the matter after it was brought to her attention by the Attorney-General.

LUVENI: “I have received a notification this morning by the Hon. Attorney-General reasoning a matter of privilege against certain words that were uttered by the Hon. Tupou Draunidalo in Parliament yesterday.”

“On first June 2016 in the morning sitting of parliament during a debate to make all tertiary education free in Fiji, Tupou Draunidalo uttered the words, I quote, “dumb natives” and “you fool”, unquote, which are in contravention of standing order 62 (A) and (D). A recording was brought to my attention and the recording is quite clear.”

“I have considered the matter raised by the Hon. Attorney-General and decide as follows: privilege is given for everyone in this house and is a matter of right. Standing order 133 which states that every member or any other person speaking in parliament has freedom of speech that is debated in parliament subject to the standing order.”

“The words used such as, I quote, “you fool”, unquote, or, I quote, “dumb natives”, unquote, and I quote “you idiot”, unquote, are matters that are not in order in this parliament. It is a breach of privilege in this Parliament.”

The Speaker has given the matter to the Privileges Committee for its consideration. The report of the committee’s meeting is expected to be tabled in Parliament this morning.

Privileges Committee

  • Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ruveni Nadalo (Chairman),
  • Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum,
  • Hon. Faiyaz Koya,
  • Hon. Inia Seruiratu,
  • Hon. Semesa Karavaki,
  • Hon. Salote Radrodro.

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