Created: 11 March 2019
A motion moved by the ‘Eua Noble’s Representative Lord Nuku to include Parliament’s Legislation Committee in the government’s public consultation on public Bills 1A to 6A was defeated this afternoon by 14 to 8 votes.
Vava’u 15 constituency MP, Sāmiu Vaipulu pleaded with Cabinet not to rush the public consultation on the six proposed Bills to amend the Constitution.
Vaipulu said these are proposed amendments to the Constitution, “it is something major and it matters to them.”
His comments came after the Hon. Minister of Police Hon. Mateni Tapueluelu said the public consultation has begun on radio talkback program during lunchtime today. Another one will be from 7-10pm in the evening.
This is in Government’s effort to reach a wider audience including the northernmost islands. Tapueluelu said the radio talkback program and the public opinions on the Bills will be recorded.
Hon. Pohiva said the Acting Attorney General will host the live program where he will brief the public on the Bills. According to the PM this is the most transparent way of carrying out the consultation.
The PM also maintained Cabinet is not involved in the event, but reiterated its findings will be tabled in Parliament once it is completed.
This prompted Vava’u 15 MP to ask Government to reconsider their method of conducting the public consultation. He also pleaded with them to consider the issue seriously because these are amendments to the Constitution.
The Acting Speaker of Parliament Lord Tu'ilakepa said there is a need for the Cabinet and Parliament to work collaboratively on the consultation and report back to the House.
Then the PM questioned such remarks and argued the consultation on the Bills is up to the Government alone. He said the people elected them and entrusted them with their trust to make decisions on their behalf.
Meanwhile the Justice Minister Hon. Vuna Fa'otusia said their means of carrying out the program is to make good use of the technology.
Tongatapu 3 constituency MP, Siaosi Sovaleni also suggested that the Attorney General should make a proposal to Parliament on the timetable of the consultation program as well as posting the Bills on Government websites.
He also suggested that Government should also consider where the public could access these Bills whether from the Parliament’s Office or from Government.