4 Jul 2005

Vanuatu Family Protection Bill needs more consultation, says Women's Affairs minister

8:19 pm on 4 July 2005

Vanuatu's Minister for Women's Affairs, Isabel Donald, says she expects the long-delayed Family Protection Bill to be passed by parliament later this year.

After a decade of being tabled on and off, the bill was again shelved by parliament last month.

This latest setback has frustrated women's rights advocates in Vanuatu but Mrs Donald says it's only a matter of time before the bill, which aims to provide avenues of protection for the family, is passed.

She denies that the delay is due to concern among leaders that sections of the bill threaten the authority of males in Vanuatu society.

"The main reason for the holding back of the Bill is that the Bill has been through consultation with, let's say, not more than ten senior members of parliament, and this time there are more new members of parliament who haven't been through the Bill in the proper consultation. That's why we are to clear the Bill back to the backbenchers of government to look at the real issue, section by section of the Bill."

Vanuatu's Minister for Women's Affairs, Isabel Donald