Legislative Assembly approved reply to the Royal address with Lord Nuku and Vili Hingano to make presentation
Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 06/06/2017
The sitting of parliament for 2017 – 2018 assumed this morning with the swearing in of the new Minister of Police and Prison.
The ceremony was led by the Speaker of the House – Lord Tu’ivakano and the Clerk – Gloria Pole’o.
The house then, turned to deliberating on the reply to His Majesty’s address from the throne to open the Parliamentary session 2017 – 2018.
A report was submitted by the Chairman of the sub-committee tasked with drafting the reply to the address, – Lord Vaea.
He told the house that they drafted the reply in accordance with the issues highlighted by His Majesty.
The house then discussed some of the wordings after Vava’u 16 representative, ‘Akosita Lavulavu was concerned over a phrase that generalized gender to a group of men leaving out the only woman representative in parliament. She said using the word “Tu’unga matu’a” in Tongan meaning a group of men, leaving her out, should be reconsidered and corrected.
In response the Minister of Education and Training – Hon Penisimani Fifita said, the members selected to prepare the official reply to His Majesty were the best and they have checked all aspects and angles and have agreed to the overall wordings used.
Lord Vaea complemented by saying the Tu’unga Matu’a is a collective term used in traditional presentations and national events to cover both men and women.
Lord Tu’ilakepa told the house there were women representatives in the house in past years, but they never pushed for this type of gender differences because after all, they are members of parliament.
The minister of Finance Hon Lavemaau also proposed some changes to numbers and a financial phrase in the reply, however both Lavulavu and Lavemaau withdrew their proposed changes.
The deliberations ended with the committee of the whole house unanimously passing the reply to the royal address by the eighteen members who were in parliament this morning.
The reply will be delivered to His Majesty by Lord Nuku – ‘Eua Nobles Representative and Vili Manuopangai Hingano – People’s representative of Ha’apai 12.
The House was adjourned until further notice.
© Radio and Television Tonga News