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Manual a waste of time, says UFDF

Torika Tokalau
Monday, March 10, 2014

THE United Front for a Democratic Fiji (UFDF) believes a manual for would-be parliamentarians seeking to contest the 2014 election is a waste of time.

UFDF released a statement yesterday in response to the announcement by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum that he had secured a deal to sponsor the publication of a manual which includes basic things like how an MP behaves when the speaker enters parliament and rules on chewing gum.

UFDF said the manual Mr Sayed-Khaiyum wanted to publish was just a duplication of the already existing and well-established 57-page parliamentary The Standing Orders fourth edition which was reproduced in May 2006 ahead of the commencement of the new parliament.

"The existing The Standing Orders is issued to every MP and an induction course is undertaken for every new MP entering parliament for the first time," the statement stated.

"Distributing such a document to 200 or 300 aspiring candidates when only 50 will succeed is also foolhardy and expensive and is unnecessary because those who fail to secure seats will have no further use or interest for the document for at least the term of parliament.

"And those interested in parliamentary processes can just as easily visit the house, sit in the public gallery and listen to the debates and find out how things work for themselves and most MPs invite on an ongoing basis members of their electorate to come to parliament during sittings and debates."

The statement stated the decision about whether or not to replace the existing Standing Orders of parliament with a Sayed-Khaiyum-authored version was surely a matter for the independent Electoral Commission to make.

"But given that the Electoral Act, appointment of the Supervisor of Elections and other key pre-election requirements are well past their due by date, such a publication would only be a distraction and well down on the list of priorities as the Standing Orders already exists.

"This matter should be left to the new 'elected' members of the 2014 parliament whose role it is to 'create' laws on behalf of and for the benefit of the people to consider and act on as they see fit."

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