As we eagerly await the appointment of Fiji’s first Constituent Assembly in January 2013, the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum, in partnership with the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and USP’s School of Government, Development and International Affairs will be hosting a public lecture on December 5th, 2012 on the theme “The Nature of a Constituent Assembly”.
Renowned constitutional expert Professor Cheryl Saunders has been invited to deliver the lecture based on her expertise in the field of constitution making. Professor Saunders, who is a Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne and the founding director of its Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, will give an overview of the nature of such an institution, the various mechanisms in place and the universal guiding principles which determine the composition and conduct of a Constituent Assembly.
CCF CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki says the Constituent Assembly will be tasked to deliberate on the draft Constitution, formulated by the Constitution Commission following the nationwide consultations and there is a need to encourage discussion and raise awareness on the importance of and the roles and functions of a Constituent Assembly.
“Given that this will be a new process for the people of Fiji, albeit that the groups to be represented in the Assembly have been listed under DECREES 57 & 58 by the Prime Minister and not by the people, it is important for ordinary citizens and those who may be called upon to join the Assembly, to be fully aware of the function of such an institution in the constitution making process,” says Rev. Yabaki.
“While the content of the lecture will not be specifically designed or focused on Fiji’s current situation, it will explore global models and put in the public domain what citizens should expect from the Assembly and that people will need to have confidence that their voice will be represented in the discussion and debates on the draft constitution through fair representation in the composition of the Constituent Assembly.
The lecture will be held next Wednesday December 5th, 2012 in the Lali Room, Holiday Inn, Suva from 6pm.