Saturday, June 04, 2016

A bit rough on Tupou

I reckon a suspension for one month would be sufficient.  Others have said worse things and just got away with it. Punishment always seems to be for the Opposition members. Okay if Tupou made the mistake of calling people names, then she should apologize quickly and then get on with the task she's given.

Fiji opposition figure Roko Tupou Draunidalo barred from Parliament for two years

Updated Fri at 9:19pm
The Fiji Government has used its numbers to suspend a key opposition figure from Parliament for more than two years after alleging she called a minister a "fool".

Key points:

  • Committee finds Ms Roko Tupou breached standing orders when she called MP a "fool" and an "idiot"
  • NFP leader had also alleged that Mr Reddy had called the opposition "dumb natives"
  • She is the second opposition MP within a year to be banned for the remainder of the term
Twenty-eight MPs voted in favour of a motion to suspend the National Federation Party (NFP) president Roko Tupou Draunidalo for the remainder of her parliamentary term, and 16 voted against.
The Government-dominated Parliamentary Privileges Committee had earlier found Ms Roko Tupou breached standing orders on Wednesday when she called Education Minister Mahendra Reddy a "fool" and an "idiot", and when she alleged he had called the opposition "dumb natives".
A transcript of the exchange, contained in a report tabled on Friday, has Fiji's Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum saying: "Point of order Madam Speaker, Honourable Draunidalo called the Minister for Education a fool."
According to the report, Ms Roko Tupou responded: "And he implied first in his speech. Calling us dumb natives. You idiot!"
Opposition MPs walked out of Parliament following Friday's vote barring the NFP president, but not before she delivered a response which, among other allegations, questioned the reliability of Hansard.
Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

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AUDIO: NFP leader Roko Tupou Draunidalo speaks with Liam Fox (Pacific Beat)
"Hansard does not record that I referred to the Minister as a fool. It is the A-G who complained that I called the Minister a fool," she said.
"The Hansard does not pick up all of the free flowing discussion, interjections and words spoken at the time. But if you listen to the audio, it clearly is different from what the Hansard records. And this is not the first time we have had issues with Hansard or verbatim, Madame Speaker."

Women's organisation upset over suspension

Matilda Simmons
Monday, June 06, 2016
A WOMEN's community media organisation has expressed its disappointment over the recent suspension of political leader Roko Tupou Draunidalo from Parliament.
femLINKPACIFIC executive director Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls says she is disappointed at the turn of events last week.
Roko Tupou was voted out of Parliament until the next election for using offensive words on Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy during a heated debate in Parliament.
"It is very disappointing that with the suspension of Tupou Draunidalo, women's representation in Parliament is further reduced to 14 per cent," said Ms Bhagwan-Rolls, whose organisation centred on the role of rural women in national decision-making.
"Furthermore, one would have expected that the Speaker — who has oversight of the parliamentary process, including ensuring discipline — could have simply used her power proactively as she observed the debated remarks. She can force a member to withdraw from the House (for the remaining part of the day) as a cooling off period which would have paved the way for dialogue and mediation on the issues of concern.
"In other Parliaments, an initial suspension is for a shorter period such as 20 days. For example, the initial suspension period in the UK Parliament is for five days for a first offence and 20 days for a second offence, during which time they cannot take part in votes and debates in Parliament.
"Instead, what we have is an extremely harsh penalty at a time when both sides of the House should be focused on rebuilding our country following the devastation of Severe TC Winston."
Draunidalo issues public apology June 10, 2016 05:40:53 PMA+ A-||| 0 inShare   Follow @ Twitter Suspended Member of Parliament, Roko Tupou Draunidalo has issued a public policy to Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy, Parliament and the people of Fiji about her utterances in the House last week. The Suspension Resolution (paragraph (B)) required that she issue a formal public apology in certain terms. “I will comply with the Suspension Resolution, without prejudice to my rights to challenge the process by which it was arrived at,” she said in her letter to Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni, a copy of which was advertised in today’s newspaper. “Through you and without prejudice to any such action, I give this explanation and apology to the Hon. Minister Reddy, Parliament and the people of Fiji about my utterances in the House last week.” “As I stated in the House last Friday, I did not say – and have never said - that the Hon. Minister Reddy uttered the words 'dumb natives'. I was replying by way of interjection to a point of order raised by the Attorney-General, who objected to Dr Reddy being called a “fool.” My interjection was to the effect that Dr Reddy had implied worse of the Opposition: “Calling us dumb natives?”.” “I did not intend to imply that Dr Reddy’s utterances had any racial connotations. As I explained in Parliament I included the Hon. Prem Singh as a “native” in my speech (a definition supported by the Oxford English Dictionary). He is a fourth generation one. Indeed, he has been a native longer (in years) than I have been.” “I have many differences with Dr Reddy. I do not however consider him to be racist and did not intend to cast him as such in the words I used. To anyone who has interpreted my words otherwise, I apologise unreservedly.” “I am required to acknowledge that the breach was severe and that it had far-reaching effects. Through you, Madam, I take this opportunity to encourage every Fijian of like mind to work with me to eradicate the barriers that would lead certain sections of our country to put and receive an ethnic slant to the words I uttered.” MP Draunidalo said she is looking forward to inviting Dr Reddy and his family to her home or village one day so that they can share a meal and put the very unfortunate turn of events behind them. She has been suspended for the remaining term of Parliament and during the period of her suspension, Draunidalo will not be allowed to enter the parliamentary precincts including the Opposition Office. By Reginald Chandar

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