Fiji Speaker of Parliament directs Privileges Committee to meet; determine whether Bainimarama breached standing order


Fiji’s Speaker of Parliament Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has directed the Privileges Committee to meet today to determine whether former Prime Minister and leader of Opposition Voreqe Bainimarama breached Standing Order 62 when he launched a scathing attack on President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere in Parliament on Monday.

The committee is to deliver a report by Friday.

In Parliament this morning, Ratu Naiqama said Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pio Tikoduadua had lodged a complaint against the statements made by Mr Bainimarama, which included the President had “failed the Fijian people and he will go down in history as the person who aided and abetted the most incompetent and divisive government”.

Standing Order 62 highlights prohibited references in Parliament.

It states:

(1) When speaking a member must not impute improper motives to any other member.

(2) The President ‘s name may not be introduced to influence Parliament or any committee.

(3) The conduct of members, the President, the Chief Justice (performing the functions of the office of President under section 88 of the Constitution), members of the judiciary, or other persons acting in a judicial capacity must not be raised, except on a motion with notice introduced with the Speaker ‘s permission. In any other situation, reference to the conduct of any of these individuals is out of order.

(4) It is out of order for a member, when speaking, to use – (a) offensive words against Parliament or another member;

(b) treasonable words;

(c) seditious words; or

(d) words that are likely to promote or provoke feelings of ill-will or hostility between communities or ethnic groups within Fiji.