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TUESDAY 6TH MARCH 2018

Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela withdrew the ‘Constitution (Amendment) (Dual Citizenship) Bill 2017’ and the ‘Citizenship Bill 2017’ on Monday 5th March 2018 to sort out issues raised by the Bills and Legislation Committee.

This means both Bills will be reintroduce to Parliament after government deal with the issues raised by the Bills and Legislation Committee.
A report by the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) suggested that the Constitution (Amendment) (Dual Citizenship) Bill 2017 be differed and the Citizenship Bill 2017 be withdrawn.

The BLC made this recommendation so Government could look at the broader policy issues that the committee had raised regarding the Citizenship Bill 2017.
However, government decided to withdraw both bills since the Constitution (Amendment) (Dual Citizenship) Bill) is an enabling legislation for the citizenship bill. It is a Bill to pave the way for the passing of the citizenship bill.

Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee, Hon. Matthew Wale said they have no problem with government’s decision to withdraw both bills as they can be reintroduced.
Deputy Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare explained that the Procedures on dealing with a bill is outlined in Standing Orders 43 to 60.

But when a bill is introduce into the system of parliament to the stage where it is now ready to be moved for second reading, the only provisions here for not to deal with it is under Standing Order 59: withdrawal of Bills.
The Bills will have to come through the normal processes again when they are ready to be reintroduce to Parliament.

ENDS///

TUESDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2018

The Parliamentary Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) will hold a one day hearing into the Constitution (Amendment) (Electoral Reform) Bill 2018 on Wednesday 21st February 2018.

The primary reason of the Bill is to amend the Constitution in relation to electoral matters.

The objects and reasons of the Bill are to provide an additional requirement that a candidate for election be a registered elector and to allow an Act to prescribe the term “ordinarily resident”; furthermore, to provide for a 12 month stand down period for a member of the Electoral Commission or staff to involved in the election process if he or she intends to stand as a candidate.

The Bill also caters for the increase of membership of the Electoral Commission to 5 members who will also deal with registration of political parties currently undertaken by the Political Parties Commission under the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014.

It also aimed to establish a new position of Commissioner of Elections as the administrative head of the office responsible for elections and will also act as the Registrar for Political Parties under the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014.

Stakeholders or witnesses who are expected to appear before the Bills and Legislation Committee include: the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC), Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, Ministry of Home Affairs, Legal Draftsperson, Political Parties Commission, Representatives of registered Political Parties, Transparency Solomon Islands, National Council of Women (NCW) and Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII).

The hearing is scheduled to start at 9:30am on Wednesday 21st February 2018.
Meanwhile, there are eight bills that are still before the House to consider. These include seven outstanding Bills from 2016 and 2017:

  1. The Anti-Corruption Bill 2017
  2. The Constitution (Amendment) (Dual Citizenship) Bill 2017
  3. The Citizenship Bill 2017
  4. The Strata Titles Bill 2017
  5. The Prescription of Ministers (Amendment) Bill 2017
  6. The Legal Profession Bill 2017
  7. The Whistle-blowers Protection Bill 2016; and

One new one, The Constitution (Amendment) (Electoral Reform) Bill 2018, for 2018.

The 7th meeting of the 10th Parliament will commence on Wednesday the 28th of February 2018.

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