New laws will be made public: Clerk
The Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei says copies of three new laws to restructure the judiciary will be made available next week for the public.
In response to an article published in the Samoa Observer on Wednesday (“Attorney General’s material “propaganda”: Fiame), the Clerk said copies of the three acts have been distributed to its mandatory parties as per Standing Orders 112.
Those parties are the Secretary of the Head of State, Attorney General, Registrar of the Supreme Court and the Minister responsible for administering the legislation.
The statement from the Parliament's administration office follows criticisms that parliamentarians had yet to see a complete copy of new laws that had been passed three weeks ago.
On 15 December, Parliament passed into law the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Amendment Bill 2020 and Judicature Amendment Bill 2020 in favour of 41 M.Ps.
Four other M.Ps including the veteran M.P. for Lotofaga and former Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, voted against the bill during third reading.
Fiame, who has been vocal about the three laws, said that without access to a copy of the laws in their entirety it is difficult to discuss the new legislation.
“No one has seen that, so unless we see that it’s hard to have a proper discussion,” said the former Deputy Prime Minister in a recent interview.
According to Fiame she was unable to discuss the new laws to see what has actually changed in the absence of copies being made available.
But in response to the statement made by Fiame, the Clerk said even after the bills are passed all approved amendments have to be incorporated in the original bill.
“Once a Bill has been passed in Parliament and in preparing that Bill for assent by the Head of State, amendments proposed by a Parliamentary Committee and approved by the Assembly during the [consideration in detail] and the Third Reading Stage, it shall be incorporated as part of the original bill as introduced in Parliament,” the Clerk said.
“Where a Bill has been finalised with all its amendments approved in Parliament, it is presented to the Head of State for Assent.
“Amendments of formal nature may be made and clerical or typographical errors may be corrected in any parts of a Bill by the Clerk.”
Once the bill has been assented to by the Head of State, it becomes an Act of Parliament and the Office of the Clerk is responsible for publishing, and for the sale of Acts to the public, he added.
Tiatia said the three bills in discussion were passed in Parliament on 15th December 2020 and printed copies of it were presented and already being assented to by the Head of State.
Furthermore, he confirmed the copies of the acts have been distributed to its mandatory parties and will be made available for sale to the public at Mulinu’u office next week.
It will also be uploaded on the Legislative Assembly website “shortly” he said.