9 Sep 2013

Quota system for women not envisaged as permanent for Tonga parliament

1:26 pm on 9 September 2013

A Tongan scholar says the quota system for women she is proposing for her country's parliament would not need to be permanent.

Only a handful of women have ever been members of Tonga's legislative assembly and at the moment there is only one woman MP.

Sulia Makasini is writing a paper on how an interim quota system might work while in Australia under the Pacific Women's Parliamentary Partnerships Programme.

She says as Tonga has been undergoing political reforms since 2010 it is the right time for a quota system.

"We are in a transition phase moving towards democracy. The King has divested a lot of his autocratic powers. And so the experience of quota systems around the world show that countries that are undergoing reform or going through post-conflict situations, this is the time when women are mobilising or advocacy groups are bringing up women's issues."

Sulia Makasini says hopefully the necessary legal frameworks to accommodate a quota system will be in place by next year's general election.