Statement of Speaker on 26 April
Statement of Hon Godfrey Thoma
Speaker of Parliament
26 April 2013
Because we have no quorum, we
cannot proceed to transact any business at today's sitting.
However, I think it is important
for me to make a brief statement about the current situation, to
clear up misunderstandings that have been created by the inaccurate
statements made by some members in the media in recent days.
First of all, the reason that we
have no quorum today is because I received a letter early this
afternoon from 9 members of Parliament telling me that as far as
they are concerned, the life of the 20th Parliament
ended at midnight last night and that they would therefore not be
in attendance when the Parliament sitting resumed today at
Those 9 members were the President,
Mr Amwano, Mr Bernicke, Mr Waqa, Mr Dowiyogo, Mr Dube, Mr Scotty,
Mr Solomon and Mr Adeang.
It is unfortunate, after so many
weeks of uncertainty and legal disputes over the proposed
dissolution of Parliament, that the game-playing still continues
and that 9 out of 18 members are prepared to completely disregard
the supreme law of Nauru, the
Those 9 members know as well as I
do that the Supreme Court has held that Article 41(4) of the
Constitution requires the advice of the President to dissolve
Parliament to be delivered to the House, and also for the House to
be provided with an opportunity to debate that
advice, including an opportunity to move and vote on a
motion of no confidence under Article 24.
The Court also held, as those
members know, that the 7 day time period leading up to dissolution
begins to run from the
time that the debate begins. As there has so far been no
opportunity for debate, it is clear that Parliament could not have been lawfully
In any case, Article 41(4) requires
the Speaker to take action, at a specific point in time, to
dissolve the House. Parliament does not dissolve automatically
except when it reaches its full three year term or when, following
a successful motion of no confidence, Parliament fails to elect a
new President within 7 days.
The Supreme Court has made it clear
that under Article 41, the Speaker can only dissolve Parliament on
the advice of the President 7 days after members have had the
chance to begin their debate on that advice. By failing to attend
Parliament today, those 9 members are prolonging the current
situation of uncertainty surrounding when Parliament will be
dissolved and when the general election will be held.
If they had attended today and we
obtained quorum, it would have been possible to begin the debate on
the advice to dissolve, and I would therefore have been required
under Article 41 to dissolve Parliament 7 days later, that is, next
Friday 4 May.
Due to the lack of quorum, we will
now have to adjourn until the next sitting day, Tuesday 30 April.
If we obtain quorum next Tuesday and it is possible for the debate
to begin, I will be required to dissolve Parliament 7 days later,
on Tuesday 7 May.
The consequence of this delay means
that the earliest that a general election can lawfully be held is
Saturday 8 June. If we had achieved quorum today and begun the
debate today, the election could lawfully have been held on 1
I hope that this statement will
help the people of Nauru to distinguish between fact and fiction,
and to understand the regrettable reasons for the ongoing delay and
uncertainty in fixing a date for a general election.
The House is adjourned until 10am
on Tuesday 30 April.