16 Dec 2004

Fiji Senators walk out over handling of the Upper House

5:34 pm on 16 December 2004

Fiji Labour Party senators have staged a walk out over the handling of proceedings by the president of the Upper House, Taito Waqavakatoga.

Mr Waqavakatoga refused to rule on the conduct of Senator Ratu George Cakobau who interrupted labour Senator Atu Emberson-Bain during question time.

Mr Waqavakatoga then ended question time prematurely which the Labour Senators say was biased and unfair.

They said that his actions have effectively encouraged the unruly and unparliamentary behaviour of Ratu George Cakobau.

The Senators have referred the conduct of both Mr Waqavakatoga and Ratu George to the Senate privileges committee.

Senator Emberson-Bain says the incident is just the latest example of abusive behaviour she has been subjected to.

"I have to keep going, it's not pleasant, it's very bullyish behaviour and it has made me feel pretty awful at times, but I've got to get over it and keep going because I'm not going to allow someone like him to bully me into submission."

Taito Waqavakatoga says he has privately reprimanded those Senators involved and is confident it will not happen again.