Vanuatu Parliament

Vanuatu Speaker looks into parliamentary positions

Gracia Shadrack said he was also looking into the positions of Opposition Whip, Leader of Government Business and Government Whip.

Shadrack said positions had been filled by MPs up until now despite there being no provision under the law.

Vanuatu Daily Post reported advice was being sought on whether the positions were constitutional or not.

The Speaker made the announcement when he was addressing Leader of Opposition, Ralph Regenvanu, on the appointment of a new Opposition Whip.

Vanuatu Parliament ready to recommence sessions this week

The Parliament recess which started on December 15, 2020 will end tomorrow (Friday).

This is in accordance with the Standing Orders of Parliament, which was amended by the current legislature in the beginning of 2020.

The revised Standing Orders state: “Under normal circumstances Parliament and its committees do not meet in the periods of December 15 to January 15 or July 15 to August 15.”

During the recess, all the parliamentary activities were ceased.

Vanuatu Government members increase

They are MP for Paama Constituency Job Andy and MP for Efate Rural Bakoa Kaltongga.

The duo performed a custom ceremony to Prime Minister Bob Loughman, Deputy PM Ishmael Kalsakau, several Ministers and Speaker of Parliament Gracia Shadrack at Freshwater 2 and exchanged mats on Tuesday.

Their move is like a Christmas bonus for the government on Christmas eve.

This means the government now commands 33 MPs, including the Speaker of Parliament.

Raft of bills on the table as Vanuatu parliament reconvenes

Fourteen bills are listed for consideration, including the Bill for the Cybercrime Act.

The bill enables legal action against new threats such as cyberbullying, stalking and digital hate crimes, while providing important protections for free speech and identity protection.

Also up for debate is an amendment to the Public Health Act.

The bill says the amendment aims to improve the capacity of the Ministry of Health to respond to Covid-19 and other potential Emerging Infectious Diseases.

14 Bills for Vanuatu Parliament’s second ordinary session

The Standing Order 13 (3) states the Second Ordinary Session of Parliament must commence on the first Thursday of November in the calendar year.

The following 14 bills are listed to be tabled during the session:

Urge to defect consumes Vanuatu coalition partner

One of the Union of Moderate Parties' six MPs, Tanna MP Robin Kapapa, recently formally defected to the opposition from the Bob Loughman-led government.

The party's non-parliamentary membership is urging the rest of their MPs to follow suit.

The UMP president, former prime minister Serge Vohor, called for a meeting of the party's national executive today to discuss a possible move by all its MPs

However while Vohor reportedly wants the UMP to defect, the party's parliamentary leader, deputy prime minister Ishmael Kalsakau, is opposed to the idea.

Vanuatu MPs sacked from parliament accounts committee

Christophe Emelee is a member of the Vanuatu National Development Party, and Robin Kababa is from the Union of Moderate Parties.

According to RNZ Pacific's correspondent in Port Vila no clear reason was given for the sackings but they have been confirmed by the parliamentary office.

The pair had only been nominated earlier this month by the prime minister.

The Speaker's office has confirmed Mr Loughman has now nominated an Efate MP, Anatol Hymak of Vanuatu First Party, and the MP for Tanna, Xavier Harry of Iauko Group, to replace them.

Vanuatu Parliament to elect Chairpersons

The Opposition side has already nominated its Members of Parliament that will be in each of four committees.

The four committees are Public Accounts, Social Policies, Economic Policies, Constitutional and Institutional Affairs.

Parliament successfully passed the motion of establishing committees and to elect the chair and his vice outside parliament and also to reduced the numbers of standing committees from eight to four.

Vanuatu Opposition taking suspension to court

On Tuesday night parliament voted to suspend the 22 opposition MPs for two sittings, over its boycott of the first sitting last week.

Opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu said the vote by the government members was an outrage.

He said the first sitting had been boycotted many times in the past.

"Boycotting the first sitting of a session is a parliamentary practice in Vanuatu that has been going for 40 years.

Vanuatu parliament suspends opposition group over boycott

The reason given for the suspension was the opposition's boycott of the first session of parliament last week.

The boycott was over the actions of climate change minister Bruno Leingkon.

The opposition said Mr Leingkon came to parliament without isolating himself after entering a hotel where over 100 repatriated Ni-Vanuatu are being quarantined because of Covid-19.