10 Oct 2017

Tonga's caretaker govt still wants Privy Council spot

2:19 pm on 10 October 2017

Tonga's caretaker justice minister says he will continue to push for cabinet members to be added to the King's Privy Council, despite the recent dissolution of parliament.

The Tongan parliament buildings

The Tongan parliament buildings Photo: Tonga Parliament

In August, the King called early elections after the Speaker of the House claimed the government had acted unconstitutionally and was trying to gather power for itself.

But the minister Vuna Fa'otusia said a judicial committee within the Privy Council caused instability by vetting parliamentary bills before they reached the King.

He said the committee, made up of the King's Law Lords, had taken it upon itself to decide what was appropriate for Tonga.

"You see how serious it is. That committee, they are unelected members, and they are the people to consider what is appropriate for Tonga? What is this? Those people...outside of the elected people, outside of parliament, outside of government."

Vuna Fa'otusia said the government had proposed to amend the constitution so cabinet members could become part of the Privy Council, allowing ministers to discuss laws directly with the King.

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