The Honourable Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka was traditionally welcomed to the Fijian Parliament by the Speaker of the Fijian Parliament, Honourable Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and the Secretariat.
During his address to the staff, the Honourable Prime Minister congratulated them for conducting the election of the Prime Minister, for the first time in the history of Fiji, on the floor of Parliament.
“Thank you for being steadfast on the conducting of the vote on the floor of Parliament.”
“For you, staff, it was just following the Constitution and the Standing Orders. But for me, it was the defining moment on how I would serve, and continue to serve this country,” the Hon. Prime Minister said.
He then reminded staff that the Honourable Speaker and himself were voted into office by the power of one vote and the significance of having that election on Christmas Eve.
“The Honourable Speaker and I were both voted into office by the power of one vote.”
“When you come in with a big majority, you probably get well-headed thinking you’re the most popular person in the nation.”
“When you’re voted in by the power of one vote, then you realise you carry the half plus that have voted for you and the nearly half that didn’t vote for you. That weighs you down, makes you aware of the heavy responsibility for having to lead the nation, knowing that almost half did not vote you.”
“You have to tread cautiously and wisely in the leadership of the nation,” the Hon. Prime Minister said.
The Honourable Prime Minister later had a brief meeting with the Hon. Speaker and Executive Management of the Fijian Parliament.
In the course of their meeting, the Honourable Prime Minister, in a display of humility, reminded the Secretariat that the Leader of the Opposition was to be provided with all the necessary support to properly carry out the functions of that Office.
He stressed that such support should address some of the difficulties that he and the Honourable Speaker faced when they were Opposition leaders in the previous Parliament.
The Honourable Prime Minister added that the Leader of the Opposition needs to be provided with his necessary budget and should also be given Government quarters unlike previous holders of that office.
The Prime Minister also reassured the Honourable Speaker, Secretary-General and the Secretariat that the Coalition Government will ensure that the necessary support is provided to Parliament to enable it to carry out its work efficiently and effectively with minimum disruptions.
The Honourable Prime Minister then toured the Parliament complex, specifically the Government Members Office on the second floor and the newly refurbished Committee room on the third floor. He was also informed by the Secretariat of the challenges currently faced by Parliament in terms of office space for the respective political parties represented in Parliament, MPs and staff.