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Parliament to sit soon

Thursday September 01, 2016 Written by Published in Politics
Clerk of Parliament John Tangi. 16083128 Clerk of Parliament John Tangi. 16083128

The NEXT sitting of Parliament has finally been set for September 12.

 

Clerk of Parliament John Tangi said the date had been confirmed by Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters who had received advice on the sitting from prime minister Henry Puna.

Tangi said the duration of the second parliamentary session of the year was yet to be decided.

Parliament sat for nine days in June when discussions on the Appropriation Bill took centre stage.

Despite a request from the opposition to have a lengthy sitting to properly debate the proposed 2016/17 budget, the government ended the proceedings on June 17, citing the ministers had important meetings overseas to attend.

“There is no indication on how long this session will go for, which is standard because there are times when the government decides to sit for certain days and yet because of the business of the House, additional days are added to the original arrangement,” Tangi said.

“The date has been confirmed by the QR who has the warrant to summon the Members of Parliament according to the constitution.

The prime minister advises him of the suitable date but the QR is the one who confirms the sitting.”

Tangi said the upcoming parliamentary session is expected to include a wide range of discussions on a number of pressing issues which were highlighted in the June sitting.

“One of the issues will be the final report on purse seine fishing. A special select committee was formed to prepare a report and the chairperson will be putting this report before the House.”

A select committee was also formed to look into grievances over the stalled Te Mato Vai project.

Some fiery action could be expected in the upcoming parliamentary session, although the June sitting, which had similar expectations, turned out to be lacking the anticipated excitement.

One topic that is certain to be discussed is the debacle that took place at the last sitting of parliament when it was adjourned by Speaker Niki Rattle “sine die”.

Members of the Opposition coalition insisted it hadn’t been adjourned properly according the Standing Orders and on June 20, members of the opposition coalition met at parliament where they put forward a motion of no confidence in the government and made an abortive attempt to install Cook Islands Party MP for Atiu, Rose Brown as prime minister.

The ensuing row involved Queen’s Representative Marsters, who labelled the opposition action illegal, prompting PM Puna to abandon a trip to Guam when he got as far as Japan, and make a hurried trip back to Rarotonga.

Also on parliament’s agenda are likely be matters including the much-anticipated and long-delayed Family Law Bill.

Last week, Finance minister Mark Brown said he understood the Family Law Bill select committee was meeting to finalise changes to the bill which makes urgently-needed changes relating to the welfare of children, among other matters.

“I will be tabling the select committee report on purse seine petition.

Plus, I hope we can get through some of the outstanding bills that are waiting passage through parliament.”

            - Rashneel Kumar/CS