ER Bill could be scrapped by elected government

Postdate: 15/ 04/ 2008

On the issue of the promulgation of the Employment Relations (ER) Bill, the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) reminds the Interim Government (IG) that new laws and major policy decisions they make will need to be reconfirmed by an elected parliament.

“The promulgations are an interim decision only and can be disapproved by future elected governments. As such, the interim government should refrain from promulgating legislations. The IG’s own legality is before the courts – so they should first let the courts rule on the legality question before passing too many legislations,” CCF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rev Akuila Yabaki said.

“The IG is more like a ‘holding government’. Therefore, technically speaking, they should pass no new bills and make no major financial decisions. Whatever the merits, all major prioritised bills should be postponed to the first new parliament,” Rev Yabaki said.

However, the CCF believes that there is a possibility of a process where the key parties agree to the agenda for the new parliament, as part of a peace-building and reconciliation process in the lead-up to the elections. Some of the laws arising from the charter could be incorporated into such a package.

To ensure sound industrial relations and growth, the new elected government would have to repeal all the unlawful laws, even if they will re-pass the same legislation in a lawful manner.

Any new government or Parliament will have to determine whether to accept or reject all legislations promulgated during the interim period. These are difficult legal issues that CCF believes the public should be reminded of, as Fiji attempts to move forward.

Although a Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation is long overdue in Fiji, the CCF believes the IG should draw back from promulgating an FOI law because it could be rescinded once an elected government is in power.

For further information, please contact CCF on ph: 3308379, fax: 3308380.

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Rev Akuila Yabaki

Chief Executive Officer

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