[94 Oct 27 2015]
The Opposition Leader’s North tour was her first official visit as Leader of the Opposition and was jointly funded by the Parliamentary secretariat and the Opposition office.
Principal Administrative Officer in the Opposition Leader’s office Mick Beddoes said today that comments from the Prime Minister and Attorney General questioning the Opposition Leader’s recent North tour were misleading and inappropriate.
Beddoes said the decision by the Prime Minister’s office to instruct civil servants not to receive or speak to the Leader of the Opposition did not deter Ro Teimumu from continuing with her tour. All it did was highlight the Prime Minister’s inappropriate unparliamentarily behavior and lack of common courtesy towards a fellow Member of Parliament and the Hon Leader of the Opposition.
The reported comment by the Attorney General that Parliament did not sanction the Opposition Leader’s trip to the North is also utter nonsense! Beddoes said that over the past year the Speaker, Secretary General, Members of Parliament, Government Ministers, the AG and Prime Minister made multiple local and overseas trips and none of these are specifically ‘sanctioned’ by Parliament.
In 2013 the PM spent $1.036 million of taxpayers’ money on travel and accommodation. His 2015 budget is $1.029 million. The average annual travel spend by a Prime Minister pre coup was $363,000 and no one says anything.
Yet the moment the Opposition Leader undertakes a very limited first official local tour to meet citizens in the North costing just $5,318 covering 7 days. The Prime Minister and Attorney General respond with almost hysterical childish behaviour! This bizarre attack is clearly disproportionate the undertaking of the Leader of the Opposition and a sure signal that they are perhaps scared of her uncovering the truth from her interactions with government officials and citizens. Which I am sure will happen Beddoes said.
This was hysterical behaviour by the Prime Minister and Attorney General was supported by a bizarre attack from their main propaganda media.
The PM, the AG and their propagandists need to come to terms with the real world.
Beddoes said for the record, the Opposition Leader does not require the Prime Minister, Attorney General or Parliament’s approval to undertake her responsibilities to the citizens and taxpayers of Fiji to keep the Government of the day accountable. It is her core function.
The cost of the Leader of the Oppositions expenses on the tour was paid for by the Parliament Secretariat which amounted to approximately $2,749 while the support staff’s cost of approximately $2,569 was paid for by the Opposition office.