Speaker of Parliament Lord Fakafanua and Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pōhiva. Photo/Tonga Parliament

A meeting this morning to resolve a disagreement between the noble MPs and the Cabinet ministers in Parliament ended in deadlock. 

The nobles continued boycotting Parliament this morning after the government refused to conduct another public consultation on six new Bills and amendments to the constitution.

The government was expected to table the Bills in Parliament this afternoon.

In his opening statement to the House, the Speaker, Lord Fakafanua, said the meeting between the nobles and ministers had not reached any solution.

He said another meeting between the two parties was expected soon.

Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva used the urgency law to block any decision by Parliament to allow another public consultation on the new Bills.

Hon. Pōhiva told the House the government had fulfilled all legal requirements before the new Bills and amendments were to be submitted to the House.

He said Acting Attorney General ‘Aminiasi Kefu had informed the public during the radio talk back public consultation that people who did not have a chance to have their say on the new Bills could submit their concerns to Parliament.

Vava’u 15 MP Samiu Vaipulu pleaded with the government to accept the nobles’ request and allow another public consultation when the Bills were submitted to the House.

The House was told that once the Bills were tabled in Parliament the law automatically allowed Parliament to decide whether or not to conduct another public consultation.  

Government blocks public consultation

However, the Speaker warned that the law also governed whether Members of Parliament could decide on whether or not to hold a public consultation.

He said if the government submitted the Bills with a letter signed by the Prime Minister saying these Bills were “urgent,” this meant the House would not have the power to make that decision.

The Speaker asked the government benches what it would do when the Bills would be submitted.

In response, the Prime Minister said the government would submit the Bills with a report and a letter from him saying the Bills were urgent.  

The Chair then moved on a motion from the Prime Minister to postpone the Parliament’s session until March 27 before it closed on March 28. Today was the last day for the Parliament sessions.

Hon. Pohiva said this would allow the House to fulfill debates and voting on these Bills.

The motion was carried 15-2.

The main points

  • A meeting this morning to resolve a disagreement between the noble MPs and the Cabinet ministers in Parliament ended in deadlock. 
  • The nobles continued boycotting Parliament after the government refused to conduct another public consultation on six new Bills and amendments to the constitution.
  • The government was expected to table the Bills in Parliament this afternoon.

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