I rise on a Point of Order, under Standing Order 74(1)(a) where in my humble view Madam there is an alleged breach of Standing Orders or practices of Parliament.
I urge this august House to consider Standing Order 58(3)(a) and (b) as I lay out the issue which say’s:
- Protocols while speaking
- A member must not be interrupted, except by the Speaker, or another member who is—
(a) raising a point of order; or
(b) trying to clarify some matter raised by the member in his or her speech, but only if the member speaking is willing to give way and resume his or her seat and the member wishing to interrupt is called by the Speaker.
Madam Speaker on Monday, 05 March 2018 during the question time pertaining to my Leader of Opposition’s question regarding the 2017 Census, I followed up with a supplementary question, which then led to the Hon Attorney General and Chief Legal Advisor to Government, blatantly misleading this august House that no ethnic data was collected by the 2017 Census enumerators.
I quote Madam Speaker the comment by the learned Attorney General on Monday in response to my Supplementary Question:
HON. A. SAYED-KHAIYUM.- No such data was collected. He needs to understand that there has been no aggregation of data based on ethnicity under the 2000 and 2017 Census none whatsoever. They need to move away from that, they think we are hiding it, we are not hiding it. There was no collection of data.
The points of the Hon Attorney General allegedly misleading and bringing dishonour and disrepute to this august House, which are NOT A STANDARD PRACTICE OF THIS HOUSE as per Standing Order 74(1)(a) are as follows:
(1) There was no census done in 2000. There was a Census done in 2007.
(2) In the 2007 census there is public information readily available that clearly shows aggregation of data based on ethnicity.
Madam Speaker, the people of Fiji who we are supposed to represent are up in arms over this issue. There is already a hashtag called #MyEthnicityCounts starting on social media.
Everyone who was counted, Madam Speaker, willingly allowed strangers in the form of enumerators into their houses to extract very PRIVATE and CONFIDENTIAL information from them, with the understanding that this information is to be used for enhanced government services and support — and are now being told that the Bureau of Statistics has a competence issue which I find very hard to believe because the previous statements are contrary to the statements of the Bureau today — especially when this exercise has cost taxpayers $14.5M which we passed in the 2017-2018 Budget only last year.”
Madam Speaker, with this Point of Order I seek a ruling from your Chair that the Attorney General immediately apologise to this august House for misleading us when he said that a census was done in 2000 and that there was no aggregation of data based on ethnicity done – it was done in 2007.
I lay on on the table a brief pertaining to public statements in support of Standing Order 74(1)(a) that there is an alleged breach of Standing Orders or practices of Parliament