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Tasman MP says Samoans ‘a lot quieter’

By Marieta Heidi Ilalio APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Aug. 11, 2010) - Parliament in Samoa is a lot quieter and far more respectful than elsewhere.

This is the view of the Spokesperson for a visiting Parliamentary delegation from Tasmania, Australia, in Samoa this week.

Paul Harris, MP for Tasmania, said while the absence of an opposition party is noticeable, MPs are generally very respectful to each other in the House.

"It seems quiet not like in our Parliament where the opposition most of the time is very noisy," he said. "They often talk over the speakers on the microphones."

The Tasmania delegation arrived at Parliament yesterday. Mr. Harris and his delegation of four MP’s were guests at the Maota Fono yesterday morning when Parliament was in session.

The Tasmania MP said he admired the respectful conduct of MPs.

"It is very unique," he said of the Parliamentary setting. "I really admire it."

Mr. Harris said tourism was one of the key issues they will raise this week.

"It’s an issue which I encourage all lawmakers in Samoa to look at because it’s the core for development in any country," Mr. Harris said.

[PIR editor’s note: According to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, the largest grants received from Australia is estimated at 30 percent-direct bilateral aid. Australia additionally provided AU$12 million [US$10.8 million] to the Samoan government in response to the September 2009 tsunami.]

With a population of 500,000, Tasmania caters for up to one million tourists a year.

"So this is the reason why we’re trying to discuss here with the Samoa Parliament to push the tourism industry in a beautiful country like yours," he said.

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