Speaker Rules Against Bulitavu Matter Over PM Comments

Speaker Rules Against Bulitavu  Matter Over PM Comments Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni in Parliament. Photo: Parliament of Fiji.

Speaker of the House Dr Jiko Luveni has ruled on a matter raised by SODELPA MP, Mosese Bulitavu, against Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Dr Luveni said according to MP Bulitavu the matter was held in the Big Committee room during a lunch break in the proceedings of Parliament on March 8.

“Honourable Bulitavu quotes section 62, clause 4 of the standing orders which makes it clear that it is out of order for a member when speaking to use offensive words against parliament or another member.

“In the case in question it is important to note that the use of the words when speaking referred to a member speaking either in parliament or a committee of the parliament.”

She said these were the proceedings in Parliament to which various protections apply and in which a member if he according to the standing order be judged of a contempt or breach of privilege.

Dr Luveni said this could potentially be a matter for the privileges committee to consider. However, she said for this case the comments were made at a function during the lunch break in the proceedings.

“As I understand it they do not relate to comments made in Parliament or a committee of the parliament,” she said.

“In my opinion therefore the comments do not constitute grounds for referral to the privilege committee for consideration.”

The Speaker therefore ruled that this matter was not to be referred to the privileges committee.

SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu.

SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu.

The Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, said the Speaker had already made a ruling on the first member that was suspended from Parliament and was given two years.

However, Dr Luveni said she had made an order and there was no provision on any comments made on the ruling of the Speaker.

“The comments made to the Speaker previously which led to a member being suspended of breaching privilege are in my opinion not relevant to this case.

“Because the protections that apply to the Speaker an officer and chair of Parliament do not apply to individual members for comments made outside parliament these are usually matters for political debate.

“I have made my ruling and I will not accommodate any comment on the ruling I have made.”


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