THE Speaker of the Legislative Assembly today dismissed recent media’s report that special sittings of Parliament are additional cost to the House.
Lord Lasike reacted to a concern raised by the Tourism Minister Hon. Dr. Viliami Latu to respond to media reports the Legislative Assembly is incurring extra costs when special sittings are called.
Lord Lasike said a special branch will be set up to deal with those misleading media reports and they are to correct those speculations.
“They will screen all news reports on Parliament with the intention to protect the image of the House,” said Lord Lasike.
Meanwhile the Justice Minister Hon. Clive Edwards proposes that Parliament have rights and should respond because such misleading news has put down Parliament.
“…such report prompted the public to mock and hate the House with people thinking that we (MPs) are not trustworthy and that we are not carrying our business seriously,” said the Justice Minister.
He adds this should be addressed because the misleading and inaccurate media reports had tarnished the House’s image which can be checked for contempt of Parliament.
Meanwhile the Chair of the Whole House Committee Siosifa Tu’utafaiva also complaint about the inaccurate media report alleging that the House approved the Arms and Ammunition Act to save three Noble Representatives charged with illegal possession of fire arms.
Mr. Tu’utafaiva asked the Speaker to also take up this issue when consulting media. He added the media are free to report on any issue but they should carry out their work responsibly.
Meanwhile the Deputy Prime Minister (PM) Hon. Samiu Vaipulu notes that the public should be aware that Parliament now takes over the mandate of the Privy Council to make laws when the House closed.
“Under the new system the Privy Council no longer has authority to formulate laws. So what happen, what was normally discussed in the Privy Council is what we are now discussing in Parliament,
The main reason behind it is to deal with rising and emergency matters that were usually discussed in the Privy Council,” maintained Samiu Vaipulu.
The Deputy PM said special sitting of the House leaves no additional cost for Parliament.
“In the old system when MPs entered Parliament their pay for the year is paid out in full in July. MPs would then live on their weekly allowances. The new system now see MPs getting paid fortnightly from July to June every year,” said the Deputy PM.