Offices of the House
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Historical Timeline [Back to Top]
1893 - The declaration of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP).
1921 - Advisory Council set up to administer the Protectorate.
1950 - Solomon Islanders were appointed to the Advisory Council.
1960 - Advisory Council changed its name to the Legislative Council.
1967 - An Executive Council was formed apart from the Legislative Council, that functioned as a ‘Cabinet’.
1970 - The Legislative Council and the Executive Council were both replaced by a Governing Council.
1974 - Governing Council replaced by the Legislative Assembly.
1976, 2 January - Solomon Islands achieved internal self-government. The Legislative Assembly had 38 members who were elected by Solomon Islanders.
1978, 7 July - Solomon Islands attained Independence and the Legislative Assembly was renamed the National Parliament of Solomon Islands.
1994 - The number of seats increased from 38 to 47.
1997 - The number of seats increased from 47 to 50.
Basic facts about Parliament [Back to Top]
- Solomon Islands is a Constitutional Monarchy with the Queen as the Head of State, represented in Solomon Islands by the Governor-General.
- The National Parliament of Solomon Islands is a Unicameral Legislature (single chamber). The National Parliament is modeled on the British Parliament, known as ’Westminster’.
- General Elections are held every four years using the ‘first-past-the-post’ electoral system.
- The country is divided into 50 single-member constituencies and elections are held on the basis of universal adult suffrage, i.e. anyone over the age of 18 who is not a convicted criminal can vote.
- Anyone over the age of 21 who is a citizen of Solomon Islands can be a candidate for the elections, either as a member of a Political Party or as an Independent candidate.
- The last election was held on 5 April 2006 and this Parliament is the eighth since Independence.
- From 1978 to 1994, Parliament met at the ‘Kalala House’ (now the High Court building).
- The present Parliament building is a gift from the United States and the first meeting held in the present Chamber was on August 1994.
Officers of Parliament [Back to Top]
Within Parliament, there are officers who have special duties and work to make sure that Parliament runs smoothly.The Speaker controls and supervises the meetings of Parliament. He maintains order in the House and ensure that MPs act and speak according to the Standing Orders (Rules of Parliamentary Procedure). There is also a Deputy Speaker who performs the role of the Speaker in his absence.The Speaker is elected by MPs from outside of Parliament (i.e. not an MP) while the Deputy Speaker is elected from among the MPs. The current Speaker is Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Kenilorea and the Deputy Speaker is Sir Allan Kemakeza.
The Clerk is responsible for providing secretarial support to Parliament and its Committees. During the meetings, the Clerk sits directly in front of the Speaker and takes notes of what is being said and advising the Speaker and MPs on particular issues. There is also a Deputy Clerk who assists in this role.
The Serjeant-At-Arms is responsible for assisting the Speaker to ensure that rules of the Chamber are followed. The Serjeant is responsible for carrying the Mace, which is the symbol of the Speaker’s authority.
Apart form the Officers mentioned above, Parliament has staff in different sections who perform various duties:
The Hansard Section is responsible for recording and transcribing what is being said in Parliament.
The Finance Section looks after all the accounts and financial matters of Members of Parliament and the Parliament.
The Library and Information Section provides research and information services to Members.
The Committee Secretariat is responsible for providing secretariat support to the five (5) Standing Select Committees of Parliament.
The Information Communications Technology (ICT) Section manages and maintains all the technology and communications of Parliament.
The Administration and Registry section assists in managing the day-to-day administration of Parliament and also attends to the general needs and enqueries of the public regarding parliament
There are also the Auxiliary Staff which includes security officers, drivers, carpenters, cleaners and gardeners, who maintain the building and its surroundings.
Meetings of Parliament [Back to Top]
Parliament usually meets on average three times a year, and the meetings usually last for 3 - 4 weeks. The meetings of Parliament are open to the public who can attend and listen to the debates and the proceedings of Parliament.
The proceedings and debates of Parliament is in the English language or in Pidgin. All the Parliamentary documents, such as Bills, motions, questions, reports are in the English language.
On average, Parliament considers thirteen (13) Bills each year. Most of the Bills brought to Parliament are proposed by the Government, but there are occasionally private member’s Bills that are brought before Parliament for consideration.
The Parliament sits only on weekdays. From Monday to Thursday, the arrangement of business is decided by the Government. On Fridays, the day is allocated for ordinary MPs and is called ‘private members day’. This day is usually utilized by the Opposition MPs.
A typical sitting day starts at 9:30 am and ends at 4:30 pm.