The Government of the Republic of Nauru

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Statement of Speaker on 26 April

Statement of Hon Godfrey Thoma MP

Speaker of Parliament


26 April 2013


Honourable Members


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 2:00pm.


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 dissolved yesterday.


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 June.


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.