14 Oct 2004

Fiji Opposition leader takes Speaker to court

7:14 am on 14 October 2004

Fiji's Opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, is taking the Speaker of parliament to court.

At issue is the Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau's ruling that Labour MP, Poseci Bune, should be chairman of parliament's public accounts committee, a position traditionally held by an opposition member.

In making his ruling, Speaker Nailaitikau told parliament earlier this year that Labour is the real opposition, when the party has been maintaining that it should be part of the government under the multi-party cabinet provisions of the constitution.

The Speaker rejected Mr Beddoes's nomination of the New Labour Unity Party MP, Ofa Swann, for the chairman.

Mr Beddoes says all efforts to convene a meeting with Ratu Epeli to discuss the issue have failed and he has no choice but to take the matter to court for a judicial review.

He says the integrity of parliament is at stake and his action is aimed at ensuring that House of Representatives does not flaunt the laws that govern its conduct.