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Former Speaker questions accuracy of Parliament hansard

Former Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No. 3, Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao, has questioned the accuracy of Parliament hansard, claiming some of his comments had been deliberately excluded.

La’auli, who had quit the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) two weeks ago, raised the matter when Parliament resumed on Wednesday night.

Earlier during the day, the former Cabinet Minister and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi were embroiled in a heated exchange about the Government’s budget deficit.

“Mr. Speaker, the hansard of our meeting earlier today have arrived,” La’auli said. “I note with sadness that my speech as a Member of Parliament is not complete.”

La’auli claimed that his microphone had been turned off while he was still speaking.

“After our session earlier today, my constituency asked me why is it that my mic often goes off when I’m speaking.”

The senior Member of Parliament then asked Deputy Speaker, Nafoitoa Keti Talaimanu, to allow Members of Parliament to express themselves and let that be reflected in the official records. He said this was important since matters being discussed in Parliament are being broadcast for the world to see.

In response, Deputy Speaker Nofoitoa said Parliament procedures dictate that if there is an issue with the recording, they have four days to review and make corrections where there is a need.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi also took the floor and said La’auli’s concern indicates that there is a problem with all their speeches and how they were recorded.

“These mics cover the whole Parliament,” said Tuilaepa. “I’m making this point in case some people think that there was a special treatment for the speech by the Gagaifomauga No. 3 representative.”

But Laauli disputed the Prime Minister’s response.

“Mr. Speaker, I have the hansard, it’s only me and my mic that seems to be the problem. The record captures every statement made including the exchange with the Prime Minister except for the stuff I said.”

Tuilaepa immediately objected saying he hadn’t looked at the hansard.

“My only concern is that the country is listening and they might think this is being done to only one person. But as you can see, we are all using the same system.”

Deputy Speaker Nafoitoa asked Laauli to leave the matter with him. He added that he had been informed by Parliament IT officials that when four microphones are on at the same time, this can create problems.

Aside from the hansard, La’auli also asked the Speaker why TV1 was the only media group allowed inside Parliament when the rest of the media were kept outside.

“Mr. Speaker, you have total authority in Parliament and I humbly ask that you respect and consider all other media representatives.”

 Deputy Speaker Nafoitoa responded saying he could not change a decision that had already been made by the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.

Parliament continues.

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