The Office of the Prime Minister & Cabinet (OPMC) has issued ’DCGA Constituency Information Pack 2022’ to government MPs as a strategy to garner support from people on their intentions to extend the life of Parliament from 4 to 5 years.
The awareness pack is ‘MISLEADING’ with an intention to ‘DECEIVE’ people. In fact, the Cabinet paper on the extension clearly shows that Cabinet has already ‘Agreed’ on the decision to ‘EXTEND’ parliament from four to five years in February 2021 and not a proposed ‘DEFERMENT’ as DCGA is trying to mislead the people.
- The DCGA awareness pack highlighted that consultations had been done with premiers, churches and SICCI. Although consultations were undertaken, Churches have recently made a public statement opposing the idea; SICCI has released a survey report that 73% of their members also opposed the idea. Premiers have made individual positions not to support the idea.
- Pacific Games 2023: It must be made clear that the Pacific Games is not a constitutional requirement but a social requirement. Our priorities must be put right. There are options available; an early dissolution of Parliament or postpone the Games to 2024. National Elections must go ahead in 2023 as required under the constitution.
- The DCGA awareness pack has also pointed out registration of voters as a one of the reasons. Who should we blame? The DCGA government should be blamed because they have intentionally done this on purpose to justify their excuse to extend the life of Parliament.
There should be no excuse; government funds can be made available and our donor partners are always willing to assist if the government is serious in fast tracking the voter registration process.
- The motion to dissolve Parliament can be moved by any MP whether it is from the Government, Opposition or the Independent. But the intention to do so is from the Government and NOT the Opposition.
The Opposition has made its position clear that they will NOT support any plans to extend Parliament. In fact, the Government have the numbers to do so and their intentions to do so without the people’s consent and mandate is very clear. Their plan to bulldoze their intentions using their political strength is irresponsible and deceiving.
- Another reason highlighted in the DCGA awareness pack is because of the pandemic and the impacts of the recent riots. These are baseless and lame excuses. To justify the financial loss during the riots as a reason for the lack of finance to carry out voters registration is yet another ‘deceiving’ statement to mislead the people. The lack of government funding is because of misuse of funds, overspending and too many tax exemptions by the government as clearly outlined by the CBSI governor, to name a few. Rioting and looting the nation’s treasury on a daily basis is causing major financial problems NOT the recent loss in the riots alone.
- DCGA’s plan to fast track electoral and political parties reform in 2024 is another childish excuse. Reforms should be ongoing and should be done since 2019. Why now? Even with the idea to extend the life of Parliament an extra year will not solve this matter.
All these are mere sweet talk to deceive the people.
- DCGA has no regard for political parties reform. OUR Party was never a registered Party until after the national elections in 2019. So all the talks about a political party reform from a party (OUR Party) that does not have a policy on political parties is yet another deceptive tactic by the DCGA.
- The DCGA awareness pack deliberately used the word ‘deferment’ to mislead the public. The Cabinet Conclusion in February 2021 was never altered and it is not a deferment but an ‘EXTENSION’. If there was an amendment to that Cabinet paper it must be published for transparency purposes to justify the use of the word deferment instead of extension. This is misleading.
- The issue of extending the life of Parliament from 4 to 5 years is something that political parties can campaign on during the 2023 elections. That is why the National General Election must take place in 2023 and not 2024. Political parties can use this as a platform during the 2023 elections to get the consent and mandate from the people.
- There should ‘NEVER’ be a deferment nor an EXTENSION of the 11th Parliament. The national election process must be allowed to take place in 2023 as required under our constitution.
- The country’s system of government is constitutional parliamentary democracy, representative democracy, government by consent in which people consent leaders to represent them.
The DCGA awareness pack is a mismatch compared to the Cabinet Conclusion on the government’s plan to extend the life of Parliament. Initially, the three reasons highlighted in the Cabinet Conclusion were because of the Pacific Games, Federal System and the TRC Report. Interestingly, none of these three (3) reasons were part of the awareness pack. People should not be blinded and misled by the government’s deceptive strategy.
Stand Up..Speak Up… It is your right!!
– Office of the Leader of Opposition