HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 523: 03 August 2010

Fiery end to Tuesday’s Parliament

Tuesday’s parliamentary session which began at 1pm, had to adjourn for 10-minutes after Acting Prime Minister Hon Wilkie Rasmussen moved a motion that the House adjourn until Monday 9 August to allow members time to further study the Supplementary Budget and the 2010 Budget documents.
The brief adjournment was imposed by the Speaker to enable members of the house to cool down after an angry exchange took place between Opposition Members, CIP Deputy leader Teina Bishop and Atiu MP Norman George. The feud began between the pair after the Acting PM and Minister of Finance ended his ministerial statement and Atiu MP Norman George stated that the Minister consulted with the Opposition before the sitting. Bishop was not part of this meeting.
Bishop stood and said, as the Opposition’s Deputy Leader, he had again not been consulted and was quite frankly tired of people doing things behind his back. Bishop asked the Speaker for leave to vacate his seat and sit next to Sir Terepai Maoate. The Speaker refused. George asked Bishop to let him finish his statement, Bishop went on to say that he was speaking on behalf of the people of Aitutaki who months on are still living in tents. Rasmussen then clarified that he had invited the Opposition Parliamentary Leader, Tom Marsters to the morning’s discussion to consider the matter of two things affecting the Supplementary Budget.
Bishop wanted more to be disclosed before being interrupted by the Speaker of the House who reminded them all of his speech before deliberations began, that they must behave as honourable members.
George went on saying that the Opposition supports the motion of adjournment put by the Acting PM Wilkie Rasmussen to enable additional legal opinions be sought.
By this time, the Opposition Parliamentary Leader had walked out before the ramblings went on. The Speaker then advised George to continue. George said the supplementary budget could be given a new name which could be the 2009/2010 Validation Bill. After several minutes had passed, the feud then began, with Bishop saying that he speaks on behalf of the Aitutaki people again he refers to as living in tents. At this point, a point of order was raised before Bishop was asked by the Speaker to sit down.
The Acting PM Wilkie Rasmussen then clarified that as he is the Acting Prime Minister he had the authority at any time to move a motion of adjournment and that no member can speak for more than 10-minutes.
Once again, it was the Speaker who kept order in the house and stated he would not allow disorderly conduct in the house and suspended the sitting for 10-minutes in order for Members of the House to cool down.
The House resumed and several members took the floor including Sir Terepai Maoate before Rasmussen indicated the need to appoint a Deputy Speaker next Monday as the Speaker was going to be away when the House resumed next Monday. He also indicated that when the house resumed, members could discuss and agree on a date for the election.
Members then voted to adjourn.

By Moana Tetauru

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