Nauru speaker accuses MPs of treason
The speaker of the Nauru Parliament stands by the decision to expel five of the eight opposition MPs from parliament.
The speaker of the Nauru parliament has accused five MPs suspended from the house of high treason.
The MPs, who believe their constitutional rights have been infringed, are seeking legal redress, but have been frustrated by the government's removal of the chief justice.
Two weeks ago their salaries were stopped and phones and offices taken.
Mr Scotty says they might be allowed back if they were to apologise, but he says parliament is working better without them.
The MPs make up more than a quarter of the parliament but speaker Ludwig Scotty told Don Wiseman that despite the MPs suspensions their electorates are still well served.
LUDWIG SCOTTY: No, they feel the same, these voters they vote for the two MPs in the same constituents, so if one is away, there's still another one. But what you see, what you're asking, seems like that the suspension of these people is illegal, you think so?
DON WISEMAN: I don't know, I know that they certainly consider that it's illegal and unconstitutional and they certainly want -
LS: If they do something wrong, [does] that mean they do not have to be suspended. If they go against the rules of this country, the laws of this country, does that mean that they don't have to be suspended? There's two from the district of Meneng, who did great disorder in the House so they have to be suspended. The other three, they went to the foreign media, talking away, saying they have freedom of speech. But what's the idea behind going to foreign media other than representing their people in this Parliament.
DW: So you're effectively telling me then that going to foreign media amounts to something illegal?
LS: Oh, exactly, I think so, government thinks so, and the Parliament thinks so, because these people they don't talk out in this Parliament on Nauru, they went to the foreign media talking against Nauru, that means against the government of Nauru. You know, it could be very difficult by way of assistance to Nauru, if somebody goes around talking away like that, you know, don't you think that would amount to high treason?
DW: No, I wouldn't think that at all, I would think they were doing their job as Opposition MPs. I know that they had significant concerns about what the government was -
LS: Tell me, can you tell what's the use of going to the foreign media, what do they achieve, what does the country achieve?
DW: So they've been punished purely because they went to the foreign media?
LS: Not only that. Because they're talking away against the government of Nauru for unfounded accusations. You just imagine, telling the government of New Zealand and Australia, to stop giving aid to the government of Nauru.
DW: I know what they said because I conducted some of those interviews and what they said is that they had grave misgivings about the way in which your government was interfering in the judiciary.
LS: No, no, what they tell you is untrue. You don't know what is going on in this island, I know, and the people of Nauru know. That's why they change the government, that's why they put on the Waqa government and done away with the previous government to which these three MPs were members of that former government.
DW: As the speaker, what do these five MPs have to do to get back into their seats?
LS: No, you separate these people, don't put them together, don't say they are five suspended. Because they have different categories of suspension. You see these two from Meneng, they created disorderly behaviours in the House so I had to suspend them. The other three are suspended by the House itself, because of a motion put into the House. I think you know the motion, because of these people talking away somewhere. You know you don't have to put them together - don't say they are five. There is three and there is two. They have to apologise, but they don't want to apologise. What good is that? Why don't they lower down their head and apologise and come back into the House? Why not do that?
DW: So the group of three and the group of two, if they were to apologise, you would let them back in?
LS: Oh, well we will see. We have to decide on that. Myself, as you know, I couldn't do much when the House speaks. The House is the muscle which owns procedure, you know. It happens anywhere in the world in a democratic country, the parliament speaks, whatever it is, it can change laws and do anything it wants. I myself as speaker, I cannot do much in that sense when the House speaks.
DW: You are Nauru's representative on the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, have you sought any assistance from the CPA?
LS: Why do I need to do that?
DW: Because you've got a Parliament that is missing more than a quarter of its MPs.
LS: Why do I have to do that? I don't know, why are you advising me to do that?
DW: I'm not advising you anything, I know that -
LS: You're telling me to get advice from the Commonwealth, CPA, whatever.
DW: Do you think that the CPA does good work?
LS: I do think so, yes. Yourself, do you think the Nauru Parliament is not doing good work?
DW: I imagine that a Parliament that has got more than a quarter of its members not there can not be working as well as it would if all the MPs were there.
LS: It's working well, I can tell you it is working well. It is working better, in fact.
DW: Because there's no Opposition?
LS: No there is still Opposition there. Even if Opposition is there, you don't know. I'm telling you, you don't know the Parliament of Nauru. The Opposition is always there, but it is not as strict as other countries where they do have former members of the Opposition parties. You know, here, it's only a collection of people with like minds. And I can tell you that because of these people being out of government, they're creating havoc in this Parliament and somewhere else for the country. Why don't they hold their horse and await their time and they're back in Parliament again. They might be lucky.
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