20 Sep 2003

Tonga parliament holds rowdy debate over proposed bill of rightst

9:11 am on 20 September 2003

The Legislative Assembly in Tonga has accepted apologies from two members before its two week adjournment.

The apologies came from Akilisi Pohiva and Etuate Lavulavu for contempt of the house stemming from deliberations over a proposed bill on the rights to protect a person's name for commercial purposes.

Mr Lavulavu said the bill followed false accusations that King Taufa'ahau Tupou had 350-million US dollars in his personal possession and the bill was drafted to protect him.

Member Uliti Uata responded by saying the king was already protected by Clause 7 of the constitution.

Mr Pohiva then picked up a law book and threatened to throw it at Mr Lavulavu over his reasoning for the bill.

Mr Lavulavu then challenged him to throw the book so he could then hit Mr Pohiva.

The Assembly is now adjourned for two weeks for the annual visits of members to their constituencies.