A female member of the Fiji parliament is suspended until the next election for using 'offensive words':
Roko Tupou was voted out of Parliament until the next election for using offensive words on Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy during a heated debate in Parliament.
"It is very disappointing that with the suspension of Tupou Draunidalo, women's representation in Parliament is further reduced to 14 per cent," said Ms Bhagwan-Rolls, whose organisation centred on the role of rural women in national decision-making.
"Furthermore, one would have expected that the Speaker — who has oversight of the parliamentary process, including ensuring discipline — could have simply used her power proactively as she observed the debated remarks. She can force a member to withdraw from the House (for the remaining part of the day) as a cooling off period which would have paved the way for dialogue and mediation on the issues of concern.
"In other Parliaments, an initial suspension is for a shorter period such as 20 days. For example, the initial suspension period in the UK Parliament is for five days for a first offence and 20 days for a second offence, during which time they cannot take part in votes and debates in Parliament.
"Instead, what we have is an extremely harsh penalty at a time when both sides of the House should be focused on rebuilding our country following the devastation of Severe TC Winston."