Hou wants more laws this year

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Prime Minister Hon Rick Hou during press conference with media on Monday
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By Gary Hatigeva

PRIME Minister, Rick Hounipwela has urged the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) to quickly convene and start looking into the remaining government proposed legislations that are now ready for BLC deliberation.

Prime Minister Hou made this call when moving the special motion of adjournment for parliament on Monday after weeks of intense debate and scrutiny into the 2018 Budget, where he also urged the Committee to put high priorities into the bills.

Hou said he was hoping for the anti corruption and the whistle-blowers protection bills would have been debated in the first set of sittings however, with the unavailability of the required detailed reports from the BLC, it was not possible for parliament to deal with those legislations

“As I have outlined before on this floor in terms of the government’s 2018 legislative calendar, we have quite a number of bills yet to conclude this year, which feature quite prominently in the current government’s legislative calendar,” the Prime Minister added

Hou though agreed that a few of the legislations are yet to be submitted to the BLC, but assured that most of them are now ready for the Bills Committee’s deliberation.

“Sir I must stress that these are important legislations that require the BLC’s utmost priory as our people are waiting for these legislations to be finalised as soon as possible.

“I therefore, urge the Bills Committee to convene as quickly as possible to enable them to facilitate the hearings required by law for these bills to be submitted,” the PM added.

He also stressed that in an attempt to move things forward, the government is certain parliament’s adjournment to July 18, 2018 should provide the committee with time to deal with the bills which are currently before it.

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However, when responding to the call, Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee and Member of Parliament for Aoke/Langalanga, Matthew Wale strongly emphasised for the government not to delay all its submissions until only a week or days left to the resumption of parliament on July 18 before submitting.

Wale explained that this is to avoid any unnecessary pressures on both parties and so as causing unnecessary breaks like it had happened at the start of this year’s sittings.

“Give those bills earlier so we have enough time to go through them, because of some of the processes involved, we definitely would need ample time to properly go through before they can be presented to parliament.

“We will do it as it is required of the Committee and we understand that.

“We want to work, we do recognise that this is the final year of this house and still have a lot to do and we want to make sure we get it done on time,” the BLC and Aoke/Langalanga MP assured.

It is understood that the Electoral Bills were submitted at the eve of parliament’s passing of the 2018 and the BLC Chairman also assured that his committee will this week, begin looking into it including the others that will be given in the course of the adjournment.

He however clarified that as for the Ant-corruption Bill, because it had already made it in parliament but was later withdrawn, like any new bills, the committee will have to start with the process of it all over again.

Island Sun also understands that bills set to be submitted to the BLC include the Anti-corruption Bill 2017, the Constitutional Amendment Dual Citizenship Bill 2017, the Citizen Bill 2017, the Constitutional (Amendment) (Electoral Reform) Bill 2018 and the Electoral Reform Bill 2018.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister confirmed that amongst the list of legislation lined up, the government has already submitted the Electoral Bill and added that they are also looking forward to reports on the Political Parties Integrity Act, which he suggested needs a few amendments.

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