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