22 Dec 2014

Nauru court ruling 'worrying' for democracy

1:46 pm on 22 December 2014

The opposition MPs who remain suspended from Nauru's parliament say the Supreme Court's decision upholding their suspension sets a worrying precedent for democracy.

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Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

Earlier this year five MPs were stripped of their entitlements, offices and salaries for speaking out against the current government but they challenged the ruling, arguing in court it was a breach of the constitution.

A spokesman for the group, Roland Kun, says the court's decision that it must respect the right of parliament to regulate the conduct of its own affairs has deep consequences.

"What the decision is effectively saying is that the government of the day can do whatever they want to do in terms of excluding elected members of parliament if they are uncomfortable with what the members of parliament are expressing inside and outside parliament."

Mr Kun says the ruling means that in the aftermath of future elections, any group that forms government could indefinitely suspend opposing members for what they have said during campaigning.

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