Vanuatu Parliament

Vanuatu MP's seat declared vacant

Parliament's Speaker, Seoule Simeon, has ruled that Gracia Shadrack, MP for Malekula, should lose his seat for missing three consecutive sittings.

The Daily Post reports that Mr Shadrack, an Opposition MP, is to challenge the decision in court.

The Opposition claims that Mr Shadrack had been absent for medical reasons.

It claims that a letter explaining this was provided to parliamentary staff and should have reached the Speaker's office.

Vanuatu Opposition boycott Parliament sitting in protest

The Daily Post reports Opposition leader, Ishmael Kalsakau, called on the Speaker to allow one of his deputies to act on his behalf, pending the outcome of the Speaker's court case.

Seoule Simeon has denied charges including assault and kidnapping. In October, he was ordered to pay $US5000 in damages to a woman in a civil case over an incident in 2016.

The Speaker refused the opposition's request, citing sections of the constitution that say he can maintain his position until proven guilty.

Changes in allocation of Vanuatu’s Parliamentary seats

The number of seats for Efate Rural and off-Shore islands constituency has increased from four to five.

The Port Vila Constituency has been reduced by a seat to now an allocation of five seats.

The total number of seats in Parliament remains at 52.

According to official documents, the order commences the day when the term of the 11th Legislature expires.


Photo supplied Caption: Vanuatu Parliament house


Vanuatu parliament to debate motion of no confidence

 The opposition bloc, led by Ishmael Kalsakau, filed the motion last week, citing public dissatisfaction with the government's progress.

This is the fifth attempt by Mr Kalsakau to remove the Charlot Salwai-led government since the 2016 election.

However, the Daily Post reports that in parliament yesterday, the government continued to command its usual majority.


Vanuatu companies want labour schemes restricted to unemployed

Currently over 7,000 ni-Vanuatu are involved in New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employment or the Seasonal Workers Program in Australia.

The Economic Policy committee in Vanuatu's parliament, which enquires into matters around the regulation of economic activities and commerce, has revealed that some companies are facing challenges because of the schemes.

MP Francois Chani said the programmes are good for Vanuatu because of the remittances they bring in but authorities must make sure they serve their purpose in providing jobs for the unemployed.

Vanuatu PM facing another no confidence motion

The motion was delivered by the MP for Efate Rural, Joshua Kalsakau, on Friday.

His brother, the leader of the opposition Ishmael Kalsakau, said there were four main grounds for the motion, including the multi-million dollar Air Vanuatu loan granted by the government.

MPs were not consulted on the loan which had no budget appropriation, Ishmael Kalsakau said.

The other grounds are the welfare of Ambae Volcano victims, copra subsidies and what Ishmael Kalsakau calls the questionable work of the Chair of the Public Service Commission.

12 Bills for First Ordinary Vanuatu Parliament Session

The majority of these are not new bills but amendments to existing laws.

More backing for increase in women MPs in Vanuatu

Mr Sokomanu said Vanuatu needs women involved in the development of the nation.

He made his comments as he opened the 'Women Leaders National Strategic Dialogue and Training,' which is being attended by more than 100 leaders.

Motarilavoa Hilda Lini, the spokesperson for Advocates for Women said Vanuatu women are absolutely committed, in their traditional roles as family and community economists, to making sure the culture, communities and nation thrives.

She said Vanuatu needs 50 percent of Parliament to be occupied by women.

Vanuatu Speaker apologises for unconstitutional move

The bill sought to change the constitution to formalise the role of parliamentary secretaries, quasi-ministerial positions held by MPs that have existed since 2012.

The bill was passed by parliament but referred to the court by the President for legal clarification.

The Daily Post reports the Speaker saying the Supreme Court ruled the constitutional changes in the bill could only be enacted following a referendum.

He said he was sorry the government failed to work within the constitution.


Vanuatu Teachers Union threatening to call strike

Willie Abiut said a proposal calling for $US3.45 million to settle the anomalies and $US5.2 million to settle the benefits had been lodged with the Development Committee of Officials and the Council of Ministers.

The union is waiting for parliament to sit in June to approve the payments and is confident MPs will accede to the proposal, Mr Abiut said.

"That's the question of waiting for their approval but the government is responding. They're giving us quite a few figures of settling the issues so they're answering what the VTU is asking," he said.