Fiji Opposition To Resubmit Media Decree Questions

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Need PM’s support

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 18, 2015) – Opposition members of Parliament are hoping to see the Prime Minister support their submission of questions for the beginning of another sitting today.

Opposition principal administrative officer, Mick Beddoes has confirmed the Opposition would re-submit their two questions that were withdrawn last week.

Last week the Opposition withdrew two questions to be posed to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Parliament at the eleventh hour with regards to iTaukei Affairs.

Mr Beddoes says the first question with regards to extinct Mataqali land, was withdrawn because they were provided with other information.

The second was withdrawn because they wanted to ask an urgent question with regards to the application of a 46-year-old Act.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who despite not being questioned in Parliament released his answers to the supposed questions through a public statement.

"That (Public Order Act- Cap 20 Section 8) was not applied to political meetings prior to the 2014 elections, yet was imposed on SODELPA on Wednesday, after our new democracy is supposed to be in effect and despite the fact that it is a meeting where the elected Members of Parliament make themselves available to meet the people.

"All of the venues selected were not venues defined in Section 2 of the Act as prohibited public meeting venues, this prompted an urgent question to be raised by the Leader of the Opposition," Mr Beddoes said.

He added as a direct consequence, they were limited to a certain number of questions per day by the Business Committee and a question listed to be asked by the Opposition in the Order paper for Wednesday sitting had to be dropped.

Standing Order 43(3) Under Urgent

oral questions:-

* The Speaker may permit the question to be asked if the Speaker is satisfied that the question satisfies the requirements of clause (1), in which case the order of oral questions set down for the day is adjusted so that the urgent question becomes the first question for the day and the last oral question set down is omitted from the Order Paper;

* Public Order Act was Ordinance 15 of 1969, Act 19 of 1976 — An Ordinance to facilitate the maintenance of Public Order Permits required for meetings and processions in a public place; and

* Section 2 describes the public place as (a) highway, public street, public road, public park, garden, any sea beach, river, public bridge, wharf, jetty, lane, footway, square, court, alley or passage whether a thoroughfare or not; or (b) any-(i) land or open space, whether such land or space is closed or unenclosed; and (ii) place or building of public resort, other than a dwelling house.

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