15 December, 2017
PARLIAMENTARY SITTING SUMMARY 13th November 2017

PARLIAMENTARY SITTING SUMMARY 13th November 2017

The Assembly reconvened on Monday 13th November at 9:00am for its parliamentary sitting.  The following summary provides an overview of business which was put before the Assembly, Members who participated in debates and various issues which were raised in regards to particular Bills.

  • 9 Annual Reports were tabled in accordance with Standing Order 49 by the National University of Samoa; Land Transport Authority; Ministry of Works, Transport & Infrastructure; Office of the Regulator; 2 Office Annual Reports from the Electoral Commissioner for the financial years 2013/14 & 2014/15; the Ministry of Women, Community & Social Development; Samoa Ports Authority, and the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology.
  • 23 Parliamentary Committee Reports were tabled in accordance with Standing Order 52(5). These reports included 6 from the Standing Orders, Electoral, Petitions and Constitutional Offices Committee; 6 from the Finance and Expenditure Committee; 5 from the Social Sector Committee; 3 from the Economic Sector Committee and 3 from the Infrastructure Committee.
  • 1 Regulation was tabled: S.R.2017/18, Coroners Act 2017 Notice of Commencement.
  • 6 other Parliamentary Papers were also tabled: 3 Parliamentary Delegation Reports; the Ombudsman’s Report on the State of Human Rights in Samoa for the period ending 30 June 2017; a report on the Pule a le Matai Sa’o from the Samoa Law Reform Commission, and 1 Public Accounts Report.
  • 5 Bills were first and second read and refereed to Parliamentary Committees: the Constitution Amendment Bill (No.3) 2017; Fire & Emergency Services Amendment Bill 2017; the Honours & Awards Amendment Bill 2017; Gaming Control Bill 2017;  Income Tax Amendment Bill (No.2) 2017.
  • 2 Bills were introduced under an Urgent Notice; therefore, they first and second read, considered in detail and progressed to the third reading stage and subsequently passed the Assembly: the Trustee Companies Bill 2017 and the Foundations Amendment Bill 2017. These Bills will become Acts of Parliament upon assent by the O Le Ao o le Malo.

 

OVERVIEW OF BILLS CONSIDERED IN THE HOUSE

  1. The Constitution Amendment Bill (No.3) 2017

The Constitution Amendment Bill (No.3) 2017 was first and second read; it now stands referred to the Standing Orders, Electoral, Petitions and Constitutional Offices Committee for consideration.  Members who spoke on the Bill included:

  1. Hon TUILAEPA Auelua Fatialofa Lupesoliai Lolofietele Neioti Aiono Galumalemana Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi – Prime Minister & Member for Lepa (HRPP);
  2. TAEFU Lemi – Member for Falelatai & Samatau (HRPP);
  3. OLO Fiti Vaai – Member for Salega (Independent);
  4. PESETA Vaifou Tevagaena – Member for Faasaleleaga No.4 (HRPP); and
  5. LEALAILEPULE Rimoni Aiafi – Member for Faleata West (HRPP).

Issued raised by Members included the following:

  • The proposed amendments were noted as necessary to ensure ongoing national peace; particularly as its provisions related to a particularly sensitive issue, owing to Samoan customs and traditions;
  • the role of Parliament in regards to the process for electing the O Le Ao o le Malo was queried;
  • a Member queried whether a change of Head of State every 5 years would be a costly exercise, as it would require regular changes to Samoa’s paper currency (portraits on notes);
  • another Member suggested that Samoa adopt a “presidential system” to avoid Parliament having to elect different Offices; namely those of the O Le Ao o le Malo and the Council of Deputies.
  • It was also noted that when it was evident that a law had become outdated, amendments are necessary. Furthermore, it was reiterated that there were no specific Articles in the Constitution which limited candidates for the Office of O Le Ao o le Malo to Tama-a-Aiga.
  1. The Fire and Emergency Services Amendment Bill 2017

The Fire and Emergency Services Amendment Bill 2017 was first and second read; it now stands referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee for consideration. Members who spoke on the Bill included:

  • LEALAILEPULE Rimoni Aiafi – Member for Faleata West (HRPP); and
  • Hon TUILAEPA Auelua Fatialofa Lupesoliai Lolofietele Neioti Aiono Galumalemana Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi – Prime Minister & Member for Lepa (HRPP).

Issued raised by Members included the following:

  • The Member for Faleata West sought clarification of the term “hot-works” stating that its meaning was ambiguous as it was too broad. He suggested the use of a different term to ensure clarity for those seeking FESA-approved permits.
  • The Honours and Awards Amendment Bill 2017

The Honours and Awards Amendment Bill 2017 was first and second read; it now stands referred to the Standing Orders, Electoral, Petitions and Constitutional Offices Committee for consideration. Members who spoke on the Bill included:

  • OLO Fiti Afoa Vaai – Member for Salega East (Independent); and
  • Hon TUILAEPA Auelua Fatialofa Lupesoliai Lolofietele Neioti Aiono Galumalemana Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi – Prime Minister & Member for Lepa (HRPP).

Issued raised by Members included the following:

  • The Hon Prime Minister stated that the amendment was drafted to permit the State to recognise outstanding efforts and service by Samoans in specialised fields.
  • The Member for Salega East raised several issues over the “honourary” bestowment of matai The Member queried the rights attached to these titles and thepossible effect on the families to which these titles originated from.  The Hon Prime Minister stated that honourary bestowments were carried out in an effort to cement national ties; no customary rights were afforded to title holders.
  1. The Trustees Companies Bill 2017

The Trustees Companies Bill 2017 was introduced under a Notice of Urgency; therefore, it was first and second read, considered in detail and third read on the same sitting day.  The Bill has passed the Assembly reading stages and will become an Act of Parliament upon assent by O Le Ao o le Malo.

  • Clauses 1 – 52 of the Bill were approved without amendment.
  1. The Foundations Amendment Bill 2017

The Foundations Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced under a Notice of Urgency; therefore, it was first and second read, considered in detail and third read on the same sitting day.  The Bill has passed the Assembly reading stages and will become an Act of Parliament upon assent by O Le Ao o le Malo.

  • Clauses 1 – 10 of the Bill were approved without amendment.
  1. The Gaming Control Bill 2017

The Gambling Control Bill 2017 was first and second read; it now stands referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee for consideration.  Members who spoke on the Bill included:

  • Hon GATOLOAIFAANA Amataga Alesana-Gidlow – Member for Faasaleleaga No.1 (HRPP);
  • FAUMUINA Wayne Fong – Member for Urban West (HRPP);
  • SULUMANAIA Fetaiai Tauiliili Tuivasa – Member for Vaimauga East (HRPP);
  • AUMUA Isaia Lameko – Member for Falealili West (HRPP);
  • LEALAILEPULE Rimoni Aiafi – Member for Faleata West (HRPP); and
  • Hon LAUTAFI Fio Selafi Purcell – Minister of Public Enterprises, Member for Satupaitea (HRPP).

Issues raised by Members included:

  • In regards to the proposed gambling age restrictions, the Member for Faasaleleaga No.1 noted that there would be monitoring issues for online competitions and games such as “TV Bingo”. The Member suggested that the Ministry seek out ways to discourage youth gambling.
  • The Member for Urban West noted his concerns as to the effects of the Bill on community fundraising efforts.
  • The Member for Vaimauga East suggested that if gambling activities were carried out for community building purposes (or similar), that the Ministry consider keeping permit costs to a minimum.
  • The Member for Falealili West reminded the House that gambling was a matter of personal preference, noting that it was the role of parents to supervise their children’s activities.
  • The Income Tax Amendment Bill (No.2) 2017

The Income Tax Amendment Bill (No.2) 2017 was first and second read by the Assembly; it now stands referred to the Economic Sector Committee for consideration.  Members who spoke on the Bill included:

  • ALIIMALEMANU Alofa Tuuau – Member for Alataua West (HRPP);
  • Hon TIALAVEA Fea Leniu Tionisio Hunt – Minister for Revenue, Member for Vaa o Fonoti (HRPP);
  • SULUMANAIA Fetaiai Tauiliili Tuivasa – Member for Vaimauga East; and
  • Hon TUILAEPA Auelua Fatialofa Lupesoliai Lolofietele Neioti Aiono Galumalemana Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi – Prime Minister & Member for Lepa (HRPP).

Issues raised by Members included:

  • The Member for Alataua West questioned the effects of the Bill’s provisions on the recently enacted Appropriation Bill; the Hon Minister noted that the Bill would not have a retrospective effect.
  • The Member for Vaimauga East stated that to the best of his knowledge, tax credits had been ceased. He questioned the appropriateness of hotel investors benefitting from tax credits.  The Member then queried the guidelines for investors applying for tax extensions.  The Hon Prime Minister stated that deadlines were strict, and that investors who missed the relevant date would be excluded from the consideration process.

Parliamentary proceedings were adjourned at 1:30pm.
The House will reconvene at 9:00am, Tuesday 19 December, 2017.

 

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