7 Mar 2013

Nauru parliament adjournment risks constitutional crisis

4:13 pm on 7 March 2013

A Nauru Government spokesperson says the speaker of parliament may have set a dangerous precedent if he does not reconvene the House.

Yesterday, the Chief Justice Geoffrey Eames QC declared last week's adjournment by the speaker Ludwig Scotty as unconstitutional.

He upheld a challenge brought by eight MPs including a former President Marcus Stephen.

Rod Henshaw says contrary to news reports, there is no problem with the dissolution of Parliament, but the nature of the adjournment last week was declared unlawful.

He says the court cannot order the speaker to reconvene and it doesn't appear Mr Scotty will do so.

Mr Henshaw says there could be ramifications for the next parliament.

"The thing that is of concern if anything at the moment is the feeling of some members that if this isn't rectified it's setting a dangerous precedent for future parliaments. The other one is if we do go to an election which is expected in April what is the status of that election result if the house is unlawfully adjourned and the dissolution went ahead. I guess it's a legal constitutional minefield at the moment."

A Nauru government spokesman Rod Henshaw