His Royal Highness Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala, Lord Ve’ehala and Lord Niukapu opened the 2023 Parliamentary session on Thursday 1st of June 2023.
The address from the throne was delivered by HRH Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala. Members of Parliament were encouraged to use the important lessons learnt from addressing the catastrophic events of 2022 to overcome future challenges.
Members of Parliament were asked to put the same emphasis on Education, Health, and the economy as they are equally important.
This is one of the key messages from the King’s opening speech of Parliament.
The Crown Prince also thanked Parliament for its concerted effort during the past parliamentary session to develop Tonga’s education and health sectors as well as our economy.
The King also alerted Parliament on global matters, as powerful countries continue to compete for power, Tonga will be in a difficult position in seeking ways to maintain good relationship with the foreign countries.
He said as conflicts erupt in countries around the world, it will continue to have an impact in the country, but it is satisfying to note Tonga is supporting world peace.
On social issue, the King highlighted that drugs is a challenge to peace and stability in the country. It is not restricted to young people but also a challenge to the courts. The challenge of drugs is a contributing factor to people’s lack of interest in upholding the law and peace.
The Crown Prince also conveyed his Majesty’s gratefulness for the Cabinet and Parliament’s approach to rebuilding local wharves and airports which connect people and keep them close.
The King also reminded MPs on the importance of securing a strong connection with the people. And should always maintain that special bond with them.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament, Lord Fakafanua also select MPs to the Select Committee to Respond to the King’s Royal Address. They are the Deputy Speaker Lord Tu’iha’angana, Lord Nuku and Lord Tu’ilakepa as reserve Member from the Nobles, while the Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Vaipulu and the Minister of Infrastructure Hon. Sevenitini Toumo’ua and the Finance Minister Hon. Tiofilusi Tiueti as the reserve from Cabinet. ‘Uhilamoelangi Fasi of Tongatapu 2 & Dulcie Tei (Tongatapu 6 MP) and Tongatapu 8 MP, Vaea Taione as the reserving MP from the People’s Representatives.
The Select Committee’s task is to respond to the address from the Throne before the House deliberates on the Budget Estimates for 2023/24 financial year.
In another development, the Lord Speaker and Members of Parliament, staff of the Legislative Assembly Office, Tonga Office Auditor General and the Ombudsman Office also conduct a prayer service at the Royal Palace, Nuku’alofa yesterday in loving memory of Tonga’s first female MP to enter Parliament, Her Royal Highness Princess Mele Siu’iliukutapu Kalaniuvalu Fotofili from 1975-1978.