Parliament denies Kaniva’s report on Police Minister’s claims about Acting Speaker

    'Oku taupotu 'i lalo heni ha fakamatala faka-Tonga ki he ongoongo' ni

    The parliament has denied our story last night reporting claims that the appointment of an Acting Speaker may have been unconstitutional.

    The story was originally carried on Television Tonga more than two weeks ago.

    The Parliament did not deny it at the time or in the two weeks since.

    The Parliament only responded after we ran the story last night.

    We were quite clearly reporting what the Police Minister said about the legal advice the government had received from it legal adviser in New Zealand on the interpretation of the Constitution and it relation to the rules on Parliamentary procedures.

    In our story we said: “Lord Tu’ilakepa’s appointment as Acting Speaker may have been unconstitutional, the Police Minister has claimed.

    Hon. Tapueluelu told Television Tonga the government had been told by its legal advisor in New Zealand that according to the Constitution, an acting speaker could only assume the position if the Speaker had resigned, died or been sacked.” 

    The Parliamentary Office released a statement saying it refuted the report that Lord Tu’ilakepa’s appointment as Acting Speaker may have been unconstitutional according to Clause 61(4) of the Constitution.

     “An Acting Speaker appointment was not made as claimed because the Constitution of Tonga does not provide for appointment of an Acting Speaker,” Chief Clerk of the Tonga Parliament, Gloria Pole’o said.

    “When the Speaker of the House Lord Fakafanua travels overseas, the Deputy Speaker Lord Tu’ilakepa performs the duties of the Speaker.”

    Pole’o said Section 16(3) of the Legislative Assembly Ac provided that when the Speaker was absent or not presiding in a meeting of the Assembly, the Deputy Speaker would preside over the Assembly and perform the duties of the Speaker until the Speaker was able to resume the chair.

     “The Deputy Speaker Lord Tu’ilakepa, was duly appointed to the position of Deputy Speaker, and he performs the duties of the Speaker Lord Fakafanua whenever he is absent,” he said.

    “Clause 61(4) of the Constitution applies only when the position of Speaker of Parliament is vacant. The same provision clearly outlines occurrences that will result in a vacancy, which includes death, resignation or revocation of appointment of the Speaker.

    “If the Speaker is not in the country or absent from meetings of the Assembly for reasons other than those spelled out in Clause 61 of the Constitution, it does not result in a vacancy.

    “Therefore, Clause 61(4) of the Constitution does not apply. There is a very clear distinction between “vacancy” in the position of Speaker which invokes Clause 61(4) of the Constitution, and “absence” of the Speaker which invokes section 16(3) of the Legislative Assembly Act.”

    We stand by our story as an accurate representation of what Hon. Tapueluelu said.

    The main points

    • The government has denied our story last night reporting claims that the appointment of an Acting Speaker may have been unconstitutional.
    • The story was originally carried on Television Tonga two week ago.
    • Neither the Prime Minister’ Office, Cabinet nor Parliament denied it at the time or in the two weeks since.

    For more information

    Appointment of Acting Speaker who blocked bills may have been unconstitutional, Minister claims

    1 COMMENT

    1. Mei he Kaniva: Kuo faka’ikai’i ‘e he Fale Alea’ e ongoongo ‘a e Kaniva’ ne pulusi ‘o
      pehē “Ko hono fakanofo ‘o Looti Tu’ilakepa ke hoko ko ha Sea Le’ole’o’ ‘oku matamata ne ta’efakakonisitūtone”.
      Ko hono lipooti ‘eni ‘e he Kaniva’ hano faka’eke’eke ‘o e Minisita Polisi ‘e he Televisone Tonga’. Na’e ‘ikai faka’ikai’i ‘e he Fale Alea’ ia ‘a e ongoongo ‘a e Televisone’ ‘a ia ne fakahoko ‘i he mei uike ‘e ua kuo ‘osi’, toki lipooti pe ia ‘e he Kaniva’ he pō ‘anepoo’ kuo fakafepaki’i mai ia ‘e he Fale Alea he ‘aho ni.
      Na’e mahino ‘aupito pe ‘i he’emau lipōti’ ko e me’a ‘a e Minsitā Polisi’ ‘o pehē ko e faka’uhinga lao eni ‘a e pule’anga’ hili ‘enau ma’u fale’i mei he’enau loea ‘i Nu’u Sila’. Na’a toe fakamahino ‘e he Minisitaa’ ‘e faka’ilo ‘e he pule’anga’ ‘a e Sea Le’ole’o ‘o e Fale Alea’ pea mo e Fale Alea’ tu’unga ‘i he tu’utu’uni na’e fai ‘e Tu’ilakepa ki he lao fakaangaanga ‘e ono ‘a e pule’anga’, pea ‘e kau ‘a e faka’uhinga konisitutone ko ‘eni na’a mau lipooti atu’ ‘i he ngaahi taukave ‘e ‘ohake ‘i fale hopo ‘i ha taimi ‘e lele ai ‘a e hopo ko eni’. ‘I hono ‘ai mahino, ‘e iku ‘a e kikihi ko eni ki he fakamaau’anga’ ke ne toki vete. ‘Oku piki ‘a e pule’anga’ ki he konisitutone’ ka e pipiki ‘a e Fale Alea ‘i he kikihi ko ‘eni’ ki he’enau tohi tu’utu’uni’. Kuo ‘osi ‘i ai pe ngaahi lao mo e tu’utu’uni ‘a e Fale Alea’ ‘i he kuohili’ ne iku ‘o toki fakahalaki mai ‘e he Fakamaau’anga’ tu’unga ‘i he ‘ikai ke fenapasi mo e konisitūtone’ ‘a ia ko e tohi tu’utu’uni ma’olunga taha ia ‘a e fonua’. ‘Oku kei tu’u pe ‘a e Kaniva’ ‘i he’ene lipooti ne fai’, ‘i he ‘uhinga, ko hono fakahoko tonu atu pe ia ‘o e me’a ‘a e Minisitā Polisi’.
      Ko e tali ‘eni mei Fale Alea ki he’emau ongoongo’:
      ‘Oku pehē ‘e he Kalake Pule ‘a e Fale Alea ‘o Tonga, Gloria Pole’o, “ ‘Oku ‘ikai ke fakanofo ha Sea Le’ole’o (Acting Speaker) ia ki he Fale Alea ‘o hangē ko e tukuaki’i he ‘oku ‘ikai ha mafai ia he Konisitūtone ‘o Tonga ke fakanofo ha Sea Le’ole’o (Acting Speaker). Ko e taimi ko ia ‘oku me’a atu ai ‘a e Sea ‘o e Fale Alea Lord Fakafanua ‘i ha fatongia ki ha fonua muli, ‘oku fakahoko leva ‘e he Tokoni Sea Lord Tu’ilakepa ‘a e ngaahi fatongia ‘o e Sea.
      Ko e founga ngāue eni ‘oku ngaue’aki pea ‘oku fai ia ‘o fakatatau ki he Kupu 16(3) ‘o e Lao ki he Fale Alea, ‘a ia ‘oku fakalea ai kapau ‘oku ‘ikai ‘i ai (absent) ‘a e Sea pe ‘ikai ke ne me’a ‘i he fakataha ‘a e Fale Alea, kuo pau ki he Tokoni Sea ke ne sea ‘i he Fale Alea pea ke ne fakahoko ‘a e ngaahi fatongia ‘o e Sea kae ‘oua kuo faingamālie ‘a e Sea. Na’e fakanofo ‘a Lord Tu’ilakepa ki hono lakanga ko e Tokoni Sea ‘i he founga ‘oku tu’utu’uni ‘e he lao, pea ‘oku ne fakahoko ‘a e ngaahi fatongia ‘o e Sea Lord Fakafanua ‘i he taimi ‘oku ne mama’o ai mei he fatongia.”
      Na’e toe fakamahino foki ‘e Pole’o, “ ‘Oku toki ngaue’aki pe ‘a e Kupu 61(4) ‘o e Konisitūtone ‘i he taimi ‘oku ‘atā (vacant) ai ‘a e lakanga Sea ‘o e Fale Alea. ‘Oku fakahā mai pe he Kupu tatau ‘a e taimi ‘e toki ‘atā ai ‘a e lakanga ko ia, ‘a ia ko ha taimi ‘e pekia, fakafisi pe fakata’e’aonga’i ‘a e fakanofo ‘o e Sea. Kapau ‘oku folau ‘a e Sea ki muli pe ‘ikai ke ne me’a ‘i he fakataha ‘a e Fale Alea, he’ikai ke hoko ia ke ‘atā (vacant) ai ‘a e lakanga ‘o e Sea, pea he’ikai ngaue’aki ai ‘a e Kupu 61(4) ‘o e Konisitūtone. ‘Oku faikehekehe ‘aupito ‘a e “’atā” (vacancy) e lakanga ‘o e Sea ‘a ia ‘e ngaue’aki ki ai ‘a e Kupu 61(4) ‘o e Konisitūtone , pea mo e “mama’o” (absent) ‘a e Sea ‘a ia ‘e ngaue’aki ki ai ‘a e Kupu 16(3) ‘o e Lao ki he Fale Alea.”

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