Senate 1979 : part 14
Full Text Record :_Global:footercell_
HON. SENATOR KAPADIA.- Mr. President, Sir, this is maybe an
appropriate time for the House to adjourn. I therefore move that the
House do ad jour ri now until tomorrow morn in cj at 9.3u.
HON. SENATOR DR. TABUA.- I beg to second the motion.
Motion agreed to,
MR. PRESIDENT,- OrdorI Tho House is adjourned until 9.30 tomorrow
The House adjourned at 4.00 p.m.
T H U R S D A Y , 1 6 A U G U S T , 1 9 7 9
The Sena le m e t at 9.30 a.m. pur suant to ad journmen t.
M R . P R E S I D E N T took the C h a i r and read the p r a y e r .
£r_e se_n t:
A l l M e m b e r s w e r e presort..
M I N U T E S
H O N . LEADER O F G O V E R N M E N T B U S I N E S S . - Mr P r e s i d e n t , Sir
I b e q tc
T h a t t h e m i n u t e s o f t h e s i t t i n g of t h e S e n a t e
held o n W e d n e s d a y .1 5 A u g u s t , 1 9 7 9 as p r e v i o u s l y
c i r c u l a t e d b e taken as read and b s c o n f i r m e d .
H O N . S E N A T O R K A U R B A T T A N S I N G H . - M r P r e s i d e n t , S i r , I b e g to
second, t h e m o t i o n .
Q u e s t i o n p u t .
M o t i o n agreed t o .
Q U E S T I O N S A N D R E P L I E S
N u m b e r of I n d i a n s e m p l o y e d at t h e N . L . T . B .
and Pi jian A f f a i r s B o a r d .
(Question No. 16/79)
HON SENATOR KAUR BATTAN SINGH asked the Government, upon
Would the Government inform the House the number of
Indians employed at -
(a) Native Land Trust Board, and its other sub-
sidiary bodies; and
(b) The Fijian Affairs in comparison with the
number of employees thereat of other races.
HON. LEADER OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS.- Mr President, Sir, it appears
that the answer is not with us. I believe the honourable Senator who is
just, leaving the House will be responding to the question. May we
leave it open, Sir, until we go to the next item.
RESUMPTION OP DEBATE ON THE
CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF FIJI BILL, 1979
HON. SENATOR KAPADIA.- Mr President, Sir, I beg to lay on the
Table the report of the Senate Select Committee appointed to consider
the Bill to establish the Civil Aviation Authori ty of Fiji.
Sir, I do not Jcnow whether the honourable Senators had the
opportunity to study the report in the short time that was available
to them this morning. I would therefore briefly explain what the
Committee has recommended.
Sir, the Committee met on 14 August for about four hours late
in the evening and studied the Bill clause by clause. We agreed in
principle that there was a need for the establishment of a Civil
Aviation Authority of Fi ji to assume the responsibility of the
Nadi International Airport as well as other airports in Fiji. The
proposed legislation would be complementary to the existing legislation
contained in the Civil Aviation Act of 1976. You will notice. Sir, that
there are references in the Bill before the House to the Civil Aviation
Act of 1976. It is the intention of the Government to amend suitably
the regulations made under the Civil Aviation Act of 1976 to vest the
powers in the proposed Civil Aviation Authority which are now being
exercised by the Civil Aviation Department.
Mr President, Sir, there was a lengthy discussion on clause 4
of the Bill which deals with the composition of the Au thority and
the procedure at their meetings. The Opposition Senators especially
complained that there was a tendency to appoint on statutory bodies
,ths supporters of the ruling Party and that there was not sufficient
consultation with people involved in related industries. However, Sir,
the other Members wer e not persuaded that there was any need to amend
clause 4 of the Bill to accommodate the views of those Members- who
expressed their reservations on the matter. It was finally agreed, Sir,
that we would leave clause 4 as it stands as it was not practicable to
write everything into the legislation. We have, however, recommended
in our report, Sir, that we hope that the Minister responsible will
consult the people in the aviation industry and other interested
organisations and parties before he appoints the members of the
There was also a lengthy discussion on clause 10 of the Bill.
As you will notice, Sir, the> Bill proposes that the Chief Executive of
the Authority should be appointed by the Minister. You are aware, Sir,
that there have been complaints both inside and outside Parliament about
certain ministerial appointments to statutory bodies. The Committee
came to the conclusion that as the Chief Executive would have as his
immediate boss the Civil Aviation Authority, that Authority should
appoint the Chief Executive. We appreciate, Sir, that the Chief^
Executive of such a body would be a person who should be highly qualif ieo in
civil aviation matters. He would also be vested with certain statutory
powers under the regulations now existing and made under the Civil
Aviation Act. So we appreciate, Sir, that the Minister should have some
say in the matter as the Chief Executive would be exercising the powers
which the Minister vests in that person by virtue of the regulations
made under the Civil Aviation Act of 1976. So we have recommended that
clause 10 should be amended to give effect to our views that the
Chief Executive should be appointed by the Authority with the approval
of the. Minister.
Mr President, Sir, we also had a lone;thy discussion on clause 18
of the Bill w'nlch deal s wi th t he compulsory acquisition of 1 and. You
will renal 1 that some of the honourable Senators who ire the nominees
of the Great. Counci1 of Chiefs expressed their reservations in respect
of this particular clause. We studied this c.l auso carefully and came
to the conclusion that, the clause did not in any way infringe either Lhe
provisions of the Native Land Trust Act or the articles of our Consti-
We al so considered al 1 the other clauses in the Bill and came to
the conclusion that there was no need to mako any chanqes in them,
but we did find in the Schedule, Sir, clause 2, that the name of the
company - ei ther by typographical error or otherwise - is sii ghtly
incorrect in that it is not the Nadi Airport Property Company Limited
but the Nadi International Airport Property Company Limited. We have
therefore recommended, Sir , that the Schedule should be suitably
amended to take care of that, aspect.
There is one o ther minor mat tor that has come to 1 ight since l.he
report was handed over for duplicating and if is this, Sir: You wi11
notice that thn Bi11 has been divided into various parts, however,
there is no men!, ion of Part I and therefore on the f i rst page there
will have to bn reference to Part I and again here the Bill will have
fco be amended.
Now, I come to the important aspect of our recommendation and it
is this, Sir: We were informed that it is the intention of the Govern-
ment, to hand over the management of the Nadi International Airport to
the Authority with effect from October 1,1979. If the House amends this
Bill then it wil1 have to go back to the House of Representatives.
As you are aware some other Governments are also involved in thi s
transfer and a 1.1 preparations have i>Gen made having this particular
date in mind. It may be, therefore, Sir, if this Bill is amended there
may not be sufficient time to finalise all these preparations because
there would be some uncertainty about it.
We, therefore, agreed that as the amendments suggested are not
seriously significant, the Senate should approve the Bill as it stands
provided the Minister responsible givers us an undertaking that ho
would introduce suitable amending legislation in the near future to
rectify some of the matters which I referred to, I was informed
yesterday, Sir, that the Minister has agreed to do so.
The Committee therefore recommends, Sir, that we should approve
this Bill as it stands and accept the undertaking from the Minister
that he will take necessary steps to give effect to the amendments
which we have put forward.
that have only been entered into in this country In the last 18 months.
I refer, Sir, to our new float plane exercises and to date,in the
course of less than six months, I think there have been three accidents,
one of which was fatal. It is an area I think, we should not pass over
The Bill in intent, I think we all feel does the job quite
adequately and with the assurance already given by the Attorney-
General for which we are most grateful, has persuaded the Select Committee
to act accordingly and I think that the entire Senate should follow
that pattern in a spirit of co-operation.
There was mention of the fate • or what would happen to any
litigation that is now standing in the name of the Nadi International
Airport Property Company, a litigation in which I have an interest,
Sir, after this Bill goes through. What happens in the event of any
new action and I was assured in the Select Committee that any current
action and any future possible action is adequately covered in this
Bill, and with that assurance, Mr President, I support the Bill.
HON. SENATOR KAUR BATTAN SINGH.- Mr President, I would also like
to thank the Seiect Committee which has done a wonderful piece of
work. I am also grateful to Senator Kapadia for the assurance that
he has given me and this side of the House that when the members of
the Authority will be appointed.,, they will make sure that people of all
sections of the community and people Who are concerned will be consulted.
Mr President, the last speaker has unfortunately in the beginning,
not declared his interest that he was one of the ringleaders of the
consortium that fought against the Motibhai tender. But I will not go
into the merits and demerits of the tender because I know the matter
is before the court. If I am irrelevant, Sir, I would prefer a gentle
hint from you. Mr President, I can see that some of the Members in
this House are trying to use the floor of this House for their own
personal grudge against certain people. I think this is rather sad and
unfair because the last speaker hinted at a family getting involved
in that private company. He should have been bold enough to name
the person and I would have replied to him with compound interest.
However, sTr, be that as it may, I can assure the House (and I am not
speaking on behalf of any company or any particular person) that
the particular person Jco whom the previous speaker has referred to has
no influence over the award of the contract that was given to the
HON. SENATOR INIA-- Mr President, Sir, I rise to contribute to the
Bill that is before the House. I have already spoken my piece in the
Committee but I feel that I had better touch on two aspects of the Bill.
You have heard that we spent a lot of time criticising the administra-
tive part of the Bill - Part III, clause 10. The main criticism is
that too much power is vested in the Minister.
HON. SENATOR KAUR BATTAN SINGH.- I am glad you realise that.
HON. SENATOR INIA.- I would like to say once again that this is
the form of Government that we have adopted - delegation of power.
This is the form of democracy that is in operation and this is the
normal thing, that whoever is in power will delegate some of it to
somebody else to taclcle one arm of Government. No one person can
handle the whole thing on his own and the Author!ty is given this
task. This statutory body is formed to carry out this form of
The part that I would wish to emphasize, Mr President, is that
this is part of government. The Minister who is responsible for civil
aviation has his job to do and if this arm does not do the job
properly, then he certainly is responsible for it. To be responsible
you have to have some form of power over those who control the statu-
tory body concerned. It is only natural that a lot of power toe given
to the Minister. There was a long list read out to us that the Minister
appointed this and appointed that - that he appointed almost everybody
there. Some disagreed with this. It is wrong also. Sir, to say that
if a Minister picks the wrong people to run a certain statutory body,
that all Ministers' choices are wrong. Just because one statutory body
did not do the job properly that does not mean that all statutory .
bodies are bad. We are only human beings, Sir, and it is only human to
err. Wrong, choices can be made sometimes. I am quite sure that none
of us will be bold enough to say that if he were a Minister, his
selection would be 100 per cent right. I strongly put in a plea that
if mistakes should occur in the selection of a controlling body, we
should not be too severe, Mr President. I am quite sure that the Minister
concerned, Cabinet and Parliament will never allow thiswrong thing to
be carried on forever and there are several ways of putting 'things
In addition to that, Mr President., I am thinking particularly of
land that is being used for airstrips. If this Authority is beyond
the control of Government, you will find it very very difficult to
get land, particularly native land. We have the greatest respect for
the Crown. There was a time when we ceded all our land to the British
Crown. The Crown was good enough to return it to us and I am quite
sure that if the Crown one day should want a piece of native land,
the owners would only be too willing to •help the .-Crown. If the
Authori,ty is going to be interpreted as a body that Government cannot
control, I am quite sure it is not going to be easy to get more land for
more airstrips. You may have to use compulsory acquisition of land.
This is going to involve several thousands of dollars. I must emphasize
this point, Sir, in that inside this House and in the Committee we
spent a lot of time arguing over this point. I emphasise this point.
Sir, because we spend a lot of time debating this point, and I would
like it to be recorded that this is another arm of Government which is
just as important as any other arm of Government and one arm cannot say
that it is more important than the other. If the people of Fiji realise
this, I am sure this Authority and other authorities would operate very
I want to say a few words on clauses 12 and 13 — "Officers and
servants" and "Protection from personal liability". This may be a
repetition of what I said on the debate on the Traffic (Amendment)
Bill, but I am glad that officers are protected. I am thinking
particularly of the officer who may give a fitness certificate to an
aeroplane. If the plane flew and crashed and investigations con-
cluded that the engine was faulty and it should not have been certi-
fied right, what would happen to the officer who certified it fit.
I brought this up before the Committee, and I was told tha t the
passengers who may die are very well protected. The servant is very
well protected too. I am told that an aeroplane company can be sued
and whoever did the repairs can also be sued, and I was told that the
lives lost have very good insurance coverage reaching up to several
millions of dollars set aside for this purpose. I am thinking
particularly of the people who use these planes to go to the outlying
islands and who sue the owners of the plane. These are points that I
feel it is my duty to bring before the House, and I hope Government
will look into the matter.
HOW. SENATOR RATU MATAITTNI.- Mr President, Sir, I endorse the
remarks of the last honourable Senator on what he said about the
compulsory acquisition of land and with your permission I would just
like to add on to that point„ The Crown Acquisition of Lands Act
which is mentioned in clause 18 of the Bill, and which was particularly
1 referred to in the Selec t Committees report, was enacted at that time
before the Pijians were represented in the Legislative Council. I
do not have any racial motive when I say this. I am just giving an
explanation. On page 12 of the Bill, the Schedule mentions the fact
that transfer of land, now under the control of Civil Aviation Depart-
ment , is automatically transferred or assigned to the Civil Aviation
Authority, with the exception of any Native Land lease, the transfer
of which to the Civil Aviation Authority will be in accordance to the
Native Land Trust Act, Rut if Government wants to acquire an area of
land to build an airstrip, and the landowners do not want to hand it
over to the Government or disagree with the compensation or cost
offered, then Government can enforce provisions of the Crown Acquisition
of Lands Act to acquire tha« land.
May I go back to clause 18, page 7, Sir:
"... as he may consider necessary, that suitable land for
such purpose cannot be purchased on reasonable terms by
agreement and that the circumstances are such as to
justify the compulsory acquisition of land for such
purpose ard that such purpose is a public purpose within
the meaning of the Crown Acquisition of Lands Act, he
may authorise the Authority as an acquiring authority
to apply to the Supreme Court under the provi sions of
that Act for an order authorising compulsory acquisition
of the land in which case the provisions of that Act
Now, Sir, all land are subjected to that Act, even Fi jian land.
As I said, that Act was enacted before Fijians were represented in
Parliament, long before Independence, and if the landowners
disagree with the compensation or refused to hand over the land to
Government for public purpose,he could go to court, but under his own
expenses. But Fijian landowners did not have the financial means
to go to court. That is why any land demanded by Government during
colonial days, was compulsorily acquired at the price that the
Government decided to pay. If the Fijian landowners disagreed, they
col]Id not go bo Court because they did not have the means. But if it
were freehold land that the Government: wanted to acquire compulsorily,
the owner of that land could sue it in Court. I remember particularly,
Sir, that there was much exchange of letters through the press, in
the Pi -jian language, about Grant ham Road - the road that comes from
Samabula 3 miles, goes through Raiwaqa to the University, The owner
of the land at this end of the road near the University was Morris
HodstromLtcLMorris Hodstrom did not agree to the arrangement and I
stand corrected on that. It was in the newspapers because Morris
liedstrom could have gone to Court against the Government for disagree-
ing about the amount- of payment that was going to be made to them for
allowing the road to go through its land. For several months the road
remained half done while discussions were held. If that was Fijian
land owned by a Fijian ,and thi s was mentioned in the Fijian newspapers,
Government would ,havo acquired the land because the Fijian land owner
would not have the money to go to Court. But that was pre-indepandence,
when the land owner who &iC not have the money, willingly gave the
land to Government because he could not qo to Court. But before the London
Constitutional Conference when we Members of the Counc il of Chiefs
were as"ked by our Fi jian Members of Parliament whether we had any
suggest ions about the Constitution to be made in London, this point
was brought up. Wo Fijians did not want our link with the British
Crown to be severed, so although we thought that the compulsory
acquisition of land should be abolished, we said that there should be
fair argument about it.If we waited to qo to Court, would the Government
pay for the law suit? That is why the Constitution now stipulates that any
law suits about disagreement of acquisition of land are paid by Govern-
ment . As has been mentioned, law suits like that are expensive. So
why take the trouble of spending so much money going to Court, when
there is a simple solution - lease the land on a perpetual basis and
save all those expenses. Everyone will be satisfied, both the future
owners and the present owners because the value of the land to them
will depend on the land valuation which under the Act is reviewed every
few years. So my point is:Instead of compulsory acquisition,can the
Government just lease it perpetually?
HON. SENATOR RATU VOLAVOLA.- Mr President, Sir, I would only
like to ask a question so that the honourable mover of this Bill
when he replies could give us the answer. My friend on my right
mentioned something about the insurance cover on aeroplanes
involvinq millions of dollars. I would like to know whether that
would cover the lives of the passengers on board the aircraft because
if I remember correctly, that cover will only cover the aircraft, the
company that owns it and probably the crew, but not the passengers. I
would like to know about that.
HON. SENATOR SIR JOHN FALVEY.- Mr President, Sir, I would like to
address myself to the last question asked. Aircraft insurance and the
liability of carriers to passengers who lose their lives or their
property in aircraft accidents are governed, i think, by the Warsaw
Convention and under that whether you take out your own insurance or
not, there is a certain limit to the amount you may recover, I believe
it applies also to the question of losing your baggage which is a
fairly frequent happening nowadays. The plain answer is that if you
want to be sure of recovering the appropriate compensation, you should
take out personal insurance on aircraft because in my view the amount
available under the Warsaw Convention is not really adequate by present
The honourable Senator Ratu Mataitini has come back again to this
question of the compulsory acquisition of land. It would not matter
if this particular clause was deleted altogether from the Bill because
there is power under the Crown Acquisition of Lands Act for the Crown
to acquire land for public purposes, and the establishment of airports
is a public purpose. The clause is repeated in this Bill for the sake
of simplicity so that it will be known that land foe it native, freehold
or what have you, can be acquired for the purpose of the establishment
of an airport. I think it is true to say that Section 9 of the Fiji
Constitution provides adequate safe-guards for the assessment of
proper compensation to any owner of land of whatever type which is
required for public purposes. I think that the Fijian land owners in
this country have been tremendously co-operative in agreeing to have
their land taken. In 1970 with independence, we made it quite sure
• that they would not be sold down the river, but they will receive the
same compensation as any other .land owner in this country receives
and I hope that the honourable Senator Ratu Mataitini will not overlook
this point. In particular when he talks of airstrips he should give
a little thought to the benefit that accrues to the owners of land
in the immediate vicinity of the airstrip.
HON. SENATOR RATU MATAITINI.- On a point of explanation, Sir,
I was trying to ask whether that particular Acquisition of Lands Act can
be amended, not now but later on, perhaps?
HON. SENATOR SIR JOHN FALVEYO- I could not quite understand
the honourable Senator's intervention but I think we are on the same
wave length. What I am trying to say is that Fi jian land owners, in
common with any other land owner in this country must be prepared to
give up his land lor public purposes. The Crown Acquisition of Land
Act was, as honoxrrable Senator Ratu Mataitini mentioned, an Act of
more years ago than I can recall and certainly it was long long before
independence, and all that independence did was to secure that:
(a) the acquisition of such land, if not agreed to, would
require an order of the Court, and
(b) that the cost of any application of such acquisition
before the Supreme Court would be payable by the
acquiring authority, which of course, is normally
So, I do hope that my honourable friend is satisfied that no
injustice, no harm at ail is going to be done to the Fijian land
owner by the creation of airports in the acquisition of land for that
purpose on native land in Fiji. I do remind honourable Senators that
airports in fairly recent times have been established almost exlusively
on native land, especially on the outer islands and I quote, Gau, Koro,
Vanuabalavu, Lakeba. I would also remi nd the honourable Member that
these airports are established as much as anything for the benefit of
the inhabitants of the area in which the airport is sited.
In all, Mr President, Sir, when looking at the various implications
I would like to state that I strongly disagree with this motion.
HOW. SENATOR RATU VAKALALABURE.- Mr President, Sir, I rise to
oppose the motion. My opposition to the motion stems from a personal
I am married to a non-Fijian whose family is politically stable,
financially stable and that at one stage, Sir, from the family I was
offered the job as a resident agent to enable me to go. I knew from
my heart, Sir, that if I would have gone then I would have earned a
good living in a good home but I knew. Sir, that I would not do any
good service there because my heart is in my country. I then had
to tell my wife, "Look this is where I belong, I am registered here so
are my children. If we are to struggle, let us struggle here. Let
us not take advantage of the help that is offered because one day 1
will have to come back to Fiji, either with you and the children or
Now, Sir, the motive which I think is behind this motion is not
what I have experienced, because if men come here they certainly would
take up opportunities that locals would have had, and at the same time,
Sir, they would simply come and ruin the country. I have met, Sir,
a lot of girls who were married to people who came as tourists. These
tourists had earned their money during the whole year, sacrificing
so much to enable them -simply to come here for a holiday. They married
local girls but had to leave them behind when they went back home, and
these girls that got married to these people are unstable in their homes,.
Sir, there was a certain incident sometime._ back which was in the
news, that a young girl from here got married and because of some mis-
understanding that took place in the home she was actually shot by the
husband. This was I think in Canada or one of the overseas countries.
But, if there is anything that w e can do to warn our young girls
that this is their country, their first loyalty and their love should foe
here, to marry locally and struggle locally for the benefit of the
HON. SENATOR MAL.- Mr President, Sir, the motion before the House
is very clear. I fail to understand why there is discrimination against:
women in Fiji. Women -are playing a very active role in world affairs
today, Sir. Some of the women are Prime Ministers of great countries
today and in the past, such as Shrimati Indira Gandhi who was Prime
Minister of India for a decade,'and so was Shrimati Bandarnaiker of
Ceylon- which is today known as Sri Lanka.Sir, we have a lady Prime
I^iinister of the United Kingdom, the mother of democracy. Two days ago
there was a new addition that is the Prime Minister of Portugal, Maria
De Lourdes Pintasilgo, Sir, in yesterday's newspaper we read that
Begum Nasrat Bhutto had assumed tr.e leadership of Pakistan People's
Party. We have sitting here amongst us. Sir, a very charming young
lady who is also playing a very active part in theaf fairs of Fiji.
If women are so able to run the affairs of those great countries
why is there discriminatory l a w in Fiji? As regards immigration, Sir,
if a male can marry outside and bring his wife in to Fiji so should
the girls be allowed if they wish to being their husbands in to live
here. There should be no objection at all.
HON. SENATOR INIA.- Mr President, Sir, I rise to contribute to
the mot-ion which concerns discrimination to women in our laws and
regulations. I have been waiting to hear of laws and regulations
pertaining to it but there seems to be hardly any.
Three examples were quoted here. Firstly, taxation. I waited
to hear where the discrimination was but so far I have not been able
to find out, and I have not got the law books to check from. Sir,
some statements were made that this caused dissatisfaction in the
homes. Now the little I know of income tax is that both husband
and wife if they work they fill forms and send these to the Inland
Revenue Department, and very often the department requires that both
forms must be completed and sent to the department because of certain
sections where you claim allowance for children. Now, the department
would like to know who out of the husband or wife is claiming for the
children. Both husband and wife may be claiming for the same child.
If one sends in his form first and the other did not the department
waits for the other form to come in. Now, Sir, I cannot see how that
should cause a big row inside the family.
With regard to the Provident Fund, I have two daughters, "Mr
President who are both married. I feel that what was stated yes-
terday was irrelevant. One married and withdrew her deposit from the
Provident Fund, came back and was re-employed. The second'one did not
withdraw her contribution but carried on, and the funny thing about it
it is that she did not resign.So I just cannot follow where the
discrimination comes in. It looks as though women have an advantage over
men in that they can withdraw their portion of the Provident Fund.
Now, with regard to Immigration and the scathing remark mentioned
regarding our Constitution, I was not very happy with that. I think,
if we speak badly of our "Bible", we must .make sure that we are right.
The drawing up of the Constitution of a country is something that is
very very important particularly when everyone puts in their thoughts
and come to a certain conclusion that this is for the betterment of a
nation, and not for selfish reasons. Mr President, I had hoped that the
reasons for the inclusion of this in the Constitution would have come
up but it has riot, and I think I had better mention it.
From our learned friend in one of the speeches he made in the House
yesterday, he touched on the 12,000 school leavers leaving school each
year. For ten years, it amounts to 120,000 - no jobs for them. If you
marry outside and bring your, husband in and he wants to work here and
be treated exactly the same as a citizen of Fiji what would the
situation be? Now, this is the part, Mr President, Sir, that hurts me
very much. When the Constitution was drawn up those concerned in the
drafting agreed to adopt this bit that sounded as if there was some sort
of discrimination for a very good purpose, Sir. Sometimes/ Sir, we
tend to forget the national interest in favour of our personal interest.
I think we should strike a balance, Sir, that although we would like
our relatives and our husbands to come and be employed here in Fiji,
vwe must not forget that when we do that, we are taking away someone's
bread and butter. And as long as you think along those lines, I think
you will never go wrong, Sir.
Another example was cited regarding abortion which I must thank
my doctor friend for answering. It was mentioned tha.t there was
discrimination regarding abortion, and the right of a person to decide
for herself. The doctor has explained very well the situation regarding
the law but I would like to add a bit on to that. This so-called
freedom to do whatever you like, that is wrong. Sir. This freedom
of ours is a licensed freedom. It is a freedom that is given to us
to do whatever we like provided we do not interfere with the rights of
another. How, we must ensure that this freedom given to us does not
cause a lot of harm to the society that we are in. We live in a
godly society, Mr President, a Christian society. We must think
of that part as well and there are others who think that man is made
by God. No one has the right to take away the life of an unborn
child. Lawyers can argue about how many days and how many weeks an
embryo can be classed as a living being. However, I still believe
Sir, that when the niale and the female cells merge together to form
a new life, a living person has come into this world although our
great lawyers refuse to believe that. They still count the days and
say that only when it reaches a certain stage will it become a human
being. I must humbly beg to disagree with that.
HON. SENATOR KAUR BATTAN GINGH.- If you cannot produce, what
fo rmula do you sugge st ?
HON. SENATOR INIA.- So, I would like to point out Sir, that if a
girl would like to have this right, she must consider that in the society
that she lives in, she has a duty to it and provided they agree, then
it is possible, but the society in this country of ours does not approve
of that. I must say, Sir,that Doctor Emberson when he was here made a
very strong attempt along those lines but he failed, and I still am of
the opinion that this right that our good pregnant ladies wish to have,
the right to abort a child, I must humbly beg to disagree with for the
betterment of the society that we are in.
With that contribution, Sir, I find it very very hard to agree
with the motion that is before us today.
HON. SENATOR RATU MATAITINI.- Mr President, Sir, I would like to
contribute something to this debate. Mr. President, Sir, the motion
itself says "that the Government takes steps to eliminate from any
statute and regulations that may stem therefrom any provision that
discriminates against women, such as for example in matters of tax-
ation and concerning the Fiji National Provident.Fund and Immigration."
First of all, Sir, we can regard the motion as a motion on di s~
crimination, but I look at it to mean that discrimination can be againsl;
or in favour of, so in interpreting the motion as on. discrimination, I
think it is discriminatory itself just to deal with discrimination
against and not to deal with discrimination in favour of women.
Secondly, Sir, on the motion and I guote, "to eliminate from any
statute and regulations that may stem therefrom", I believe the honourable
mover has been here long enough to have participated in the debates
which dealt with legal amendments, that is, amendments to existing
laws, Sir. There have been complaints, and I believe the honourable
the mover has heard that, Sir, from honourable Members including myself,
that it was very hard to speak fully on some amendments whan we had not
in Guernsey. Then, if an overseas male wants to marry a female Fiji
citizen, he must really want to marry her, not just for convenience.
Incidentally, Sir, Guernsey is part of the Channel Islands
which in its relationship with the British Crown, Fiji almost followed
when the Constitutional Conference just before Independence, was being
mooted. Pi ji almost followed the arrangement between the Channel
Islands and the British Crown.
I remember, Sir, some time this year there was an advertise-
ment from the British newspapers quoted in one of the local papers
that an overseas non-resident female student studying in England had
reached the end of the period of her visa to stay there. So she
advertised for a marriage partner, to be married to a resident male
in England. She put in the advertisement that the marriage was not
to be consummated. She would pay £300 to the male who agreed to
marry her - no other obligations - he just marries her, ta"kes the
money and off he goes. There is no obligation at all — just to
• enable her to become a resident of England in order to complete her
study. Do we want that, Sir? I believe our females of Fiji would
not like that, because they would only be regarded as ordinary
Chattels. A Fiji female who tries to make an arrangement like that
is worse than a chattel because she realises what she is doing.
Sir, although we understand that Japan has one of the
highest economies in the world, the country has an organisation
called the Women1s League against Abortion Laws. Japan is one of
the most industrialised nations in the world. There is no unemploy-
ment there. In fact, at one time when they practised abortion, they
were so successful that they were in danger of being short of
finding employees. It was not the Japanese Government which tried
that the women disregarded the propaganda about abortion. It was
the women themselves, out of their maternal conscience who disregarded
this propaganda. Yet some of us say that denying the women the chance
to have an abortion is discriminatory. On that, Sir, I come back to
what I have said in the beginning that as I was against the motion, I
was unwilling to go out of my way an<t search in the various law books
where discrimination against women existed so that I could find out
what I could say against or in favour of such a regulation or act,
I hope. Sir, that the honourable mover will pardon me if I
have to quote again from the "Fiji Times". The "Fi ji Times" of 15
February, 1975 recorded that PPSEAWA (Pan Pacific and South East
Asia Women's Association) Fiji branch had a meeting in Suva and they
asked the Acting Attorney-General at the time (1975) to come and
address them on discrimination against women. May I quote from the
"Fiji Times" - "The Fiji branch of PPSEAWA organised this function
as one of the events to mark International Women's
Year this. year.
The Acting Attorney-General said after some preamble:
"Fiji has provided equality between men and women in the
Constitution, among other things. It is also true that
Fiji is gradually and persistently trying to provide more
opportunities for women. Women can vote in local and
Central Government elections. There are equal chances for
men 16 Auy.r 1979
a woman who wants to get into Parliament and the Senate,
and she can also be elected as a councillor in local city and
town councils. Both married and unmarried women have equal
rights with men in the field of civil law also.
She can get, dispose of or inherit property; she is in the
eyes of the law on an equal plane with men.
Parents have equal rights and duties in matters relating
to their children, and if they separate or become divorced,
the interests of children are paramount.
If there was discrimination, then it was discrimination
in favour of women, he sai C,
'Our laws prohibit betrothal of girls before puberty,'
he gave as an example„
'No marriages may be contracted by the female who is
below 16 years of age.'
At work, women are protected by legislation too.
No woman should be employed at night between 6p.m. and
6 a tm. in any industrial undertaking except in some cases,
And no woman should be employed in underground work in any
mine except again, in special circumstances, some of those
being a person who was engaged in health and welfare services
and a person who in the course of her s t u d i e t
of time training underground.
A pregnant woman was entitled to an allowance, 42 days
before and 42 days after confinement.
Women are not discriminated against where wages are concerned.
Can I stop here and go back to what the Prime Minister of England,
Mrs. Thatcher has said:
"The struggle for equality is no more than a
relentless struggle for a living wage and a decent life."
It is not against c'isc riminat ion, but a struggle for a living wage
and a decent life.
Now, to continue with what the 1975 Act ing Attorney-General had
"With the Government as a large employer recognising and
practising the right of women to equal remuneration and
equality of treatment in employment, there is reason to
believe that equality of pay and conditions of employment
are being increasingly recognised, he continued."
I am sorry that I have to quote so much, because, as I said, I
would not qo out of my way to look at all the Law Books of Fiji to
find out the discriminatory laws against women. I am a member of the
Council of Chiefs nominee here, and I am bound to refer back to them
any motion that seeks to change the Constitution.
Mow, Sir, in saying that, I am not against the females of
Fiji. Before I sit down, I would like to quote from a book, Sir,
called the Talmud - on the religion before the Christian era. The
general basic principles of Judaism Christianity and Islam are derived from
Talmud. The Talmud, Sir, lists out, as the Ten Commandments, the
badic laws, and I will quote what it says about women, Sir:
"The Lord did not create woman from man's head
so that he can command her, or from man's foot so that
she would be his slave God made Eve from Adam's side
so that woman will always 'be nearest man's heart .. .
Be careful not to make a woman weep: God counts her tears."
So, when I oppose this motion, I have this quotation in mind,
HON. SENATOR WEAVER.- Mr. President, Sir, first of all, I
would like to thank my fellow Senators for the very intense and
considered contribution that they have made to this motion. As I
mentioned in my opening address on the motion, this is a matter of
principle and not on any law in particular and I must apologise if
the examples attached to the motion were found by the Senators to be
of far far greater importance than the principle. I would like to
touch on these particular items.
I would like to make a special point of thanking the honourable
Senators who made positive contributions trying to see both sides
of the issue; for they will immediately recognise that there are two
sides of the issue - you can take up someone else's view point and
give a positive indication of a mature mind.
Earlier in the debate, Sir, I was accused of not being honest
with the motion by putting it forward as a surreptitious way of
changing the immigration laws for the specific purpose of permitting
immigrant races into Fiji. Shame, I say. Shame I say a thousand
times that such an illusion could be made on such a straightforward
matter, as discrimination against women,,
I expected this motion,Sir, to be a completely unbiased motion,
free from any taint of racial undertones to be accepted in the spirit
in which it was moved and it would receive the same sort of under-
standing as the motion that was debated yesterday. I feel a little
guilty in not stating in my first address that discrimination and
equality go hand in hand. The last speaker touched on this point
and I am grateful that he can see that you can have discrimination
for as well as discrimination against. And when preparing this
motion I cautioned the ladies' organisation that I addressed that there
are some things I am going to have to advocate that may not be to
their advantage, but it would be in the interests of equality.Their
response was "we want no special treatment. All that we ask for is
equality", and I am pleased to note that there are members who do
cherish the principles of equality. On behalf of the multitude of
women in this country and their million of supporters abroad, all
sides seeX equality. If it is good enough for the boys then it is
good enough for the girls. Any right thinking person can follow
that. In the interests of wontens1 rights and fairness, it surely
follows that what is good enough for the girls must be good enough
for the boys. Let us do away with the very ppecial privileges for
boys and treat them equally as the girls. If there is any real
concern by the men of this country about racial harmony being
maintained by restrictions on marriage to non-Fijian citizens, if
they are honest with themselves let alone with the rest of our
honourable citizens, they will take positive steps to see that our
immigration laws for men follow the same principles as they now
follow for women. If we cannot agree to let the girls have the
husbands of their choice, then stop the boys from bringing in over-
seas girls as a right, not as a condescending concession.
Taxation,Sir, does lead to disruption in the family. By
virtue of Bill 6 of 1974, section 42(1) and (10) leads to matrimonial
conflict because it makes no distinction between man, son and daughter,
but not the wife. Again the same law allows women who work to claim
illegitimate children, yet men cannot. This is an advantage the girls
have and in the interests of fairness, the same should be applied to
the boys. Let us not dismiss the needs of children. Even if they are
illegitimate, they need our love and care.
Another Senator has quite mischieviously accused me of tending
to mislead the House. How envious,Sir! I speak only from personal
experience in my many contacts with tha more unfortunate members of
our community. How many more broken homes do my fellow Senators want
to learn of before they are convinced that this sort of thing does
happen? Never let it be said, however, that our tax law alone has
led to a broken home, but it does contribute and I know of the many
personal cases that I have come across that this is so.
It was also mentioned about the labour laws and the way they
relate to what women are capable of performing. I think,Sir, what
nonsense. We educate our children equally to learn how to make their
own decisions. Let them make up their own minds on what jobs they
care to undertake. Look at the lady welders, brick-layers and
politicians that we have. We have a law that prohibits a woman from
working in a laundry at night, but a far more taxing job is that of
a waitress in a hotel or a restaurant. And this is permitted. Per-
haps ,Sir, thi s sort of unfair folly will persist as long as our law
makers are happy to enjoy the services in our hotels yet they turn a
blind eye on the plight of job opportunities offered in an after-
hours laundry service. If we are trying to protect our women from
working at night, why do we not apply the same thinking to hospitals
and hotels, et cetera. As fer as jobs go, I say just leave it to the
girls; they will make up their own minds.
In the Nadi area, Mr. President, when I went to pay my tribute
to our late colleague, I visited some of the farms. They have
their own blocks, Sir, and their own sugarcane farms but, Sir, when
you go into their homes they are fall of cowdung and pretty awful,
at least I saw that in one of the homes that I visited. When I
asked the owner if he could improve "his home he said that he had
borrowed a lot of money for his farm which he had to repay. You
go to Ba, Mr. President, you go right round to Rakiraki, come down
the Taileva side, in the Wainibuka, in Tailevu, in Naitasiri, in
Rewa, in Namosi and Serua, you see these individual farmers, Sir,
they are not concentrating too much on cassava and dalo but the bulk
of these farmers have realised that unless they have cash crops
they will fail. Most of themhave cocoa farms. Sir, and the price
is very good and I understand it will remain so, and so is yaqona
These are sure crops which will get an assured income, and you see
these farmers in rough and ready made shelters and it is sad to see
the children and the housewives suffer and struggle in small homes.
You go to the islands along the Bua coast and you find the same
thing. You see dotted here and there rice and cocoa farms. They
seem to be well developed farms but they live in miserable homes
especially in the Waiqele area. And they really struggle, they
bring in their vegetables to Labasa and they return to their
miserable homes. And one of the interesting things that I
experienced, Sir, is when I went to a farm in Waiqele, I ate some
fish in a home there and I asked the owner of the house, "Where
did you get this fish?" Apparently, the farmers barter with the
Fijian fishermen. The Fijian fishermen gave fish in return for
rice from the farmers. So it shows that they can save their money
while the surplus produce is bartered.
Mr. President, Sir, this motion simply asks for the Housing
Authority to get into the rural area. Before I touch on the actual
motion, Sir, may I be allowed to make comparisons between the housing
in the urban areas and the rural areas. It would certainly give
you a true picture.
Sir, in the urban areas, the cost of the land is colossal. You
get nothing less than $4,000 per quarter acre, and you would be
fortunate to get anything less. And it goes up to $12,000 to
$16,000 per quarter acre. Not only that. Sir, attached to the
price of land is the sewerage and electricity charges. On top
of that, one has to live and whatever is left, Sir, goes towards
the payment of the house. I also understand, Sir, that there is
discrimination in these urban areas, because only a person who gets
less than $70 per week is entitled to get a loan, and I also under-
stand. Sir, from a report which I have got from HART that they
accept people earning $30 per week so there is a gap. What happens
to the rest of the people ? They become squatters, which we do not
want, bat we should not have this problem because we have a lot of
space. There is also the problem of people who drift to the urban
areas because they do not have good homes and to stop these people
from drifting in from the rural areas, they should be assisted with
having good homes in their villages and settlements.
In the rural areas, Mr. President, thsre are small streams
or wells which supply water to the people. We have free firewood,
no elec trieity aid for the bulk of our needs it is cheaper to buy
it there than in Suva. Sir, I tried to find out what type of
building would suit the rural people. I consulted several con-
tractors for quotations and I asked them if they could quote to me
what a one-bedroom and lean-to house (subject to further extension
if a farmer so desired to improve on his lot) would cost. Hs
quoted 3500 and the same quotation was given by Morris Hedstrom
wh^n they had the sane type of houses on sale at Taveuni some
time ago, but which they had ceased making. However, Sir, the
principle is still the same. A cheap reasonable home for an
energetic farmer who wants to be successful can be built; for $500.
Mi'. president, Sir, we have a Rural Hous ing Scheme. I thi n\\
the policy of this scheme is to buy at a very cheap rate, bat we
have realised over the years that when you give your order for
instance, if you ordered for paints, they would probably give you
one tin wherea.3 you have ordered enough for the whole house.
They come in bit by bit and when you add up everything you have
already lost four or five buildings, Sir. And we are at present
still looking for some steels that were ordered for Vanua Lava.
The Company has already sent it but where on .earth these steels
are, no one knows. It should have gone to the poor fanners who
would have to pay for it since they were the ones who gave the
order. But it is still out on the boat somewhere and one of
the biggest problem, Sir, is that these poor people do not "know
now to go about recovering their losses. These are some of
the problems that our people have to face. But going back to
rural housing,Sir, I feel that for a farmer, his wife and maybe
his children to start off today to be successful in the future
would need a good home. Of course, Sir, it must be a home that
is able to stand against hurricanes. Hurricanes come and they
do a lot of damage, even bend steel as they did Ln Darwin. and
that is unavoidable.
In the outer islands, Mr. President, or in the rural areas,
if these homes are introduced, we have a lot of local timber.
Given a settlement or a group, a chain saw with gauges, they can
rip their own timber, have it treated and it is f Lrst-class, Sir.
Mr. Presidant, I have never come across beautiful grains
in a timber as there are in coconuts trees, Yaka and Vesi. These
are all local woods. But our people are not guided along the
right lines and advised about how they could improve their homes.
I am not saying that the Government has failed, but our people
should be assisted in building a better home to start thsir
family. Given a better home, I think it would stop the trend
of young people coming into the cities.
Mr. President, Sir, while talking about housing, I would
also like to inform the House that in many cases we have found
that our people have gone back to their lands after having
served mos t of their time here and there working either in the
plantation or in Suva and they have accumulated a few thousand
dollars in Fiji National Provident Fund. Now, this Provident
Fund policy is so vigorous that unless a person uses his contri-
bution towards building his home or in instances where he marries
a career woman and the lady draws her money contribution on
marriage, he does not receive any money from the Fund until he
reaches 55 years of age* Sir,whereas his money is "being borrowed
left and right by other agencies. Sometimes the poor man does not
reach 55 years of age because he has suffered a lot in the early
HON. SENATOR KAUR BATTAN SINGH. - Life starts at 50.
HON. SENATOR RATU VAKALALABQRE. -Well,that is very good for
the Member concerned that he is just starting, Sir. I think I have
Now, Sir, the F.N.P.F. is a sure security and_ instead of giving
it away to other agencies, our poor people should get that. If they
can get $500, Sir, or even a $1,000 they can build a pretty good
home. At least they must be given the opportunity to get this
F.N.P.F. money when they need it, and not on the condition that they
should build their homes on their farms. If that could be done, I
would be very grateful so.would be other people because. Sir, it is
a fact that most of the people who have gone to the cities have
realised that the bright life is not as good as they had thought,
and have gone back to their villages. It is only the young ones
who are trying to come to the cities and try out their wings and
may be some of those that have other business interests, but the
majority have now realised that the place for them is on their
farms. We .find that most of these people are going back to the
farms either in sugarcane, in the copra area, yaqona or any other
farm. They have experienced the life here in the city and they
realise that this is the wrong spot to come to. Sir, this F.N.P.F.
money should be released to our people. I appeal to this House
to introduce a motion recommending this.
Now, Sir, that coald be a way out, but I am sure the Government
would most probably ask about the repayment. Sir, the repayment
must be made according to what the person can produce and what he
has. A farmer's produce should be ascertained for instance if
the farmer has 200 yaqona roots, Sir, he will br^ able to pay the
With cocoa, rice and sugarcane plantations there must be a
policy laid down to hold the rural people on their land to develop
the country because unless these people are housed properly, they
will come to the towns and then Fiji will be a lost nation because
Fiji relies entirely on agriculture.
There is also a problem that might arise about Fijians1 titles
to their land. I think the Government knows that there are a lot
of very successful farmers who live on "mataqali" (land owning
unit) land. The Government has all the necessary records. We
have administration, we have government branches like Agriculture
Department that can recommend this. If they can recommend this
we can be rest assured, Sir, that that particular household will
have a generation of successful farmers.
Mr. President, Sir, I did mention here at one stage thai where
there is a "hard working farmer or a hard working man, there is a
beautiful hard working cook. Where there is a great man, there
is a great lady. Give the man a home to start off in the rural area.
Please do so. Give the farmer a small home. He will be successful
and we will soon see a beautiful four-bedroom home extending on what
he can earn. And then, Sir, if it so happened that we can vis it
the farmer, and I know one day we will have to visit one of these
farmers if we agree on this today, we would certainly see a great
oooX and a great lady. Sir, I appeal to this House to be constru-
ctive and to say what they wait to say and not to forget that Fiji
is a*~i agricultural country and it is the policy of the Government
to help the rural area. Even though I am grateful to Government
for what it has done for the rural people, I again appeal for a
home for them to start off with. I commend the motion to the
HON. SENATOR KAPADIA. - Mr. President, Sir, I think it is an
appropriate time for us to adjourn till 2.15 this afternoon,
MR. PRESIDENT. - I take, it that there is no objection. Orderl
The House is adjourned till 2.15 p.m.
The House adjourned at 12.35 p.m.
The House resumed at 2.15 p.m.
HON. SENATOR RATU KIKAU.- Mr. President, Sir, I wish to support
the motion before the House for the following reasons: Much has
been said in the past few months about the Housing Authority and as
such has become a focus of public interest. Needless to say a commis-
sion of inquiry has been set up to look into the structural anomalies
of the organisation and review its overall functions in the hope of
improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the statutory body which
has a vital role to play in this country. Sir, urban/rural differences
are highlighted now and then in terms of income disparities -
development and so forth. But it seems that these issues quickly
simmer or diffuse sometime or other in the process. X am of the view
that rural development in the form of provision of low cost standard
housing will be a welcome project in the rural areas. Better hensing
would mean better or improved health standards even though other
factors are involved. The Housing Authority could provide building
materials and local carpenters, utilising their own scheme, may be able
to generate some trend of employment amongst their own rural commu-
nities . As to the question of payment, this need not be over-
emphasised as the conditions of keeping up the continuous regular
payment should provide an incentive to low income earners to fully
utilise their level of production in terms of maximising possible
agricultural benefits. On the other hand, Mr, president, Sir, cess
money or any other money that has been deducted by the Fijian Affairs
Board could perhaps be channelled somehow in this direction. Rural
development itself is a misnomer for many at the grassroot level.
People have to fully appreciate certain trends of development at
their own level. Certain basic needs have not yet been fulfilled
due to mismanagement of resources, inability to determine priorities
and so forth. These basic needs would include good housing,
sufficient food, clothing and the like. Mr. President, Sir, this
allowance to provide housing for low income earners in the
rural area would not only be of great benefit to those people who
would otherwise be struggling for a whole lifetime to achieve this
objective, but also in the nation's interest to do so. Rural
electrification and water supplies have been installed, so why not
give some provision for housing despite the fact that the Ministry of
Fijian Affairs and Rural Development has some provision for rural
housing. I think, that the Housing Authority would be able to equally
cope with this wider area because of the nature of this institution.
With these few words, Mr. President, Sir, I support the motion before
HON.•SENATOR KAPADIA.- Mr. President, Sir, the honourable the
mover of this motion has put forward some strong arguments in support
of his motion. I agree with him that the provision of adequate housing
in the rural areas would help, to a certain extent, to kerb the flow of
people from our rural areas to urban centres. With housing, the other
facilities will have to be provided such as medical facilities, schools
for the children, the playgrounds, facilities for entertainment and so
on. All these will have to be done together to make life more
attractive in rural areas. I agree with the honourable mover of the
motion that as Fiji is basically an agricultural country, we should
give great emphasis to our rural development. I think, Sir, that
the Government is quite conscious of this fact and is working in this
The problem of housing is prevailing not only in most of the
developing countries but also in some of the advanced countries
of the world. The Government of Fiji is quite conscious of the
problems and the difficulties which our people in the low and middle
income brackets are facing in the matter of housing. Government is
doing everything possible within its limited resources through the
medium of the Home Finance Company and the Housing Authority. The
Housing Authority has built hundreds of units in the last ten years
in Nepani, New Town, Kinoya, Kalabo, Nadera and other areas of
the central division; in Nadi, Sigatoka, Lautoka and Ba in the
western division as well as in Labasa, Savusavu and Levuka.
These areas would be considered as urban and peri-urban areas.
The Housing Authority has already decided on a policy to place
greater emphasis on the socio-economic conditions of the people?
of Fiji in planning housing development and further investigations
will be made towards providing housing in the rural areas.
The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing considers that a
reasonable proportion of funds available to the Housing Authority,
should be earmarked for rural housing and loans bo made available
to those who could provide security. Loans, in the Fijian' villages,
can be made to those who are in receipt of regular rental income and
are in a position to assign this for the repayment of the loan.
This does not mean that the Housing Authority has not taken interest
in the past in the matter of providing housing in the rural areas.
Indeed, it has undertaken successfully considerable work in vat* Lous
areas in the past and I would like to give a few examples of this
The Housing Authority advanced a loan of $200,000 for the re-
building of Namoli village in 1969. This project has 124 sites and.
the Authority provided the supervision for the construction of 64
houses, while the remainder of the sites were made available for
allocation. The scheme was successfully completed by the end of
The Housing Authority also assisted the people of Tavualevu
village in Tavua. The first stage consisted of 2 3 houses and these
were completed by the end of 1973. A further 10 houses were completed
in the second stage in 1974 by villagers through their own resources.
The Housing Authority also assisted the people in Korobobe
village in Nadi. You would recall that Nadeli village which was
destroyed by Hurricane Bebe was replaced by Korobebe village. A
loan of $60,000 was made to the villagers for the construction of
36 houses on a self-build basis. The project was completed in
early 1974, but instead of 36 houses originally planned, only 21
Again in Rewa, I am informed, in Waivou village, in February
1974 the Housing Authority approved a loan of $12,000 to the villagers
for the construction of 18 houses. This was later increased to 20
houses, and with the increase in building cost, the final loan was
increased to $36,000.
So, you will see, Sir, that the Housing Authority has not been
totally inactive in the matter of provision of housing in the rural
areas, although I do agree with the mover of the motion that
there is still a lot of work to foe done. There is considerable
merit, S i r, in the suggestion which he put forward, namely,
to try to devise a simple home, possibly with the help of materials
locally available so that it could be within the means of the
poorer sections of our community. Again, Sir, this is one avenue
where perhaps the Housing Authority could divert its attention and
play an important role in devising such a home. We have been hearing
for guite some time that the Ministry of Urban Development was
seeking designs for such homes. I hope that the ministry would come
forward with some concrete plan in the near future.
HON. SENATOR I. TA8UA.~ Mr. President, Sir, before I speak, on
the motion before the House, I declare my interest in that I am a
Board Member of the Housing Authority. But today I do not stand
here as a Board Member of the Authority, but as a Member of this
House to contribute to the motion of national importance.
Sir, it is common knowledge in this country, especially to
Members of this House, that at the moment the Housing Authority is
concentrating on building homes for low wage earners in the urban
centres. I have seen some people on top wage brackets acquiring loans
for houses from the Housing Authority, whom I think rightly should
go to the Home Finance for this loan.
But coming to the motion before the House, it says: "That
the Housing Authority provide homes for low income earners in the
rural areas." The Housing Authority is thinking of building houses
in the rural areas, but the problem in building houses in the rural
areas is security. We all understand, it is common knowledge, that
land is the number one security, but in the rural area the lands are
communally owned. But even with the problem of security of land
that is communally owned, I still maintain that the Housing Authority
can extend this development to the rural area. Take the western
side for example, where people with cane can give authority to
the Sugar Corporation to have direct deductions from the company
for Housing Authority home deductions. Leases can be taken by the
Housing Authority as security thus extending housing in the rural
We know that housing is one of the basic needs. I have just
recently been to Singapore and over there it is believed that every
Singaporean should have a roof over his head. I think Fiji should
start thinking along these lines because the population of the
country is increasing and we do not want to be caught in a position
where we cannot provide housing for everyone. With this point I
support the motion before the House,
HON. SENATOR DR. TABUA.- Mr. President, Sir, I stand to support
the motion, and in doing so I would like to contribute to some of
the factors and perhaps the medical factor that is a strong factor
in the housing problem of our nation today. Words have been taken
out of my mouth by my honourable colleague Senator Kapadia, but with
your permission I would like to read from the Development Plan
VII to remind and perhaps reassure the mover of the motion as to the
policy of Government up to this time. I will read from page 128
chapter 18 on housing:
18.1 The long term objective of Government is to ensure
that all families desiring to live in a decent home should be
able to do so at a cost a family afford; and as far as
possible to enable families to own the "houses they live in.
18.2 The policies of the Sixth Plan were confined to urban
housing alone. During the Seventh Plan period efforts will be
directed also towards the housing needs of the rural people
in an effort to improve upon and make rural living more
attractive. This would include:
(a) expansion of the normal housing programmes into tho
(b) creation of new rural centres, such as in Seaqaqa;
(c) expansion of the Housing Authority's cash loan scheme
into rural areas;
(d) village and settlement housing schemes ."
So I hopo that this will reassure the honourable mover of the motion
that efforts have been directed in the line of the motion that is
before the House today.
Perhaps, I may also quote from the position in the Housing
Authority today with regard to the applications that are now awaiting
action. This is in the urban centres and perhaps this will give the
mover of the motion an insight into the problem that we now face
in the urban centre and this may be a strong factor in as far as
extension of housing into the rural areas is concerned. The list
as it stands today is 9,212 ' on the waiting list. Some of
these applications were lodged in 1977 and they are still on
the waiting list in 1979. Some of these applications have been
approved and the applicants have not come forward to accept the
houses, which I think is duo to many factors and one of them is the
human factor of which I am going to speak on at length on this
If we exclude the number of applications that have been
approved in the Housing Authority we are left with about 5,000
applications. So, 5,000 applications are a high number to consider
and this is only in the urban centres. So I hope that we will
realise the difficulties that the Housing Authority is facing today
on behalf of Government to try and give everyone who has applied
a home wherever they are.
There are many factors that have been mentioned by my
colleague, Mr. Kapadia, which are great forces that act on this
issue. But I am only going to speak on the human factor. Sir, I
believe that the housing problems that we have today is the result
of the undercurrents that are going on in society so that our needs
for housing outrun the ability o~ the Government in being able to
provide the houses that we need. This is not to discourage the
mover of the motion speaking from this side of the House, but I
Vould like to take our thoughts to the question of what can we do
as Members of this House, as elders in society and as parents,
fathers, grandfathers in society? What can we do ourselves as
individuals to help the situation that is now before us? The answer to
that guestion will be different from the different colleagues here
in the House, but I would like to take our thoughts into the line of
the human factor - what can we do with regard to controlling the
family members that are now applying for houses in our society? I
believe that this number which I had quoted lias been increasing since
1977 because of the increasing number of applications so that we are
all the time outrunning the ability of the Government to give houses.
This is where my question lies and where my thought lies and where I
would like to request the Members of the House in their thoughts, in
their help and in their contribution, whether or not they think there
is a great possibility in controlling the members of our families.
When I speak of human factors here we have already heard of
the financial factor, of the Government factor and of the ability
factor of the applicants in paying the loans that have heen given
in the form of a house. But I believe that this is one of the
strongest factors and perhaps little attention has been paid to it
and it is all the time prompting a losing battle in our fight
When I speak of human factors I mean nion and women, husbands
and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, fiances and fiancees, and
I would also like to mention the institution of marriage because
I know that this is a great factor that is considered when houses
are being applied for. In our society we have types of marriages.
We have legal marriages, de facto marriages, and we have heard a
little while ago about bogus marriages. These are the types of
institutions or marriages that we have in our society which I
believe is an adverse factor in our trying to solve the problem
of housing, and this may be or will be a great factor in slowing
down the extension of housing from urban centres to rural centres.
It is a fact of life and we must accept the fact that in our human
society and in life itself this is truo, real and is happening.
So, if we look back with all due respect let us ask ourselves
if we really need the children that we have now. Mr. President,
it is rather a harsh question, but I think if we are honest to
ourselves we will agree that probably one or two in our family
actually arrived accidently - not according to our wish - and the "
fact that we have accepted, them does not nullify "•""he fact that they
were accidently conceived for that matter.
I ask another question: Do we have unwanted children, children
who have arrived accidently into our midst, into our family for that
matter and into our soc Lety today. And here again, Sir, if we are
honest to ourselves we will say "yea", and I would like to confirm
the fact that this is true today because of the many things that
are happening in our society that prove that children have arrived
accidently and are unwanted in our society.
Mr. President, would you allow me to quote from some of the
newspaper cuttings that will confiron this. I emphasise this
because this is the real problem that we have today and it is going
to affect the housing situation very much. The "Fiji Times" of
23 May, tells us of the baby that was thrown at the rubbish
dump at Wailoaloa. Now, this was an unwanted baby. And on 29 May,
wo had in the "Fiji Times" a report from the Bayly Clinic which
said "ScSioolgirl Mothers in Suva", and the report said:
"Up to three pregnant schoolgirls a week were seeking
help from the Bayly Clinic welfare department, almoner
MrS.Shirley Hemming said yesterday.
The parents frequently asked for an abortion, which fhe
clinic could not do.
But we try our best to counsel and support these girls.
In some cases the slur on the family was so bad the con-
sequences could be frightening."
This is the sad situation that we have here today, and Mr. President,
Sir, if you allow me to quote further to enlarge on the problem that
we have today, I will read from the editorial of the same issue.
" In the past 10 years the number of people on
Government welfare has increased by 1000 per cent.
Even the Bayly Clinic welfare department, trenchant
supporter of the right of the needy to get help from
the state, is questioning this mammoth increase.
Its annual report says that there must be better ways to
deal with the problems of the poor.
They will have to be found. Fiji cannot afford to
support people at this rate of increase.
It is not merely that the country cannot afford
it financially. It cannot afford to foster the
handout mentality which encourages people to exist
on welfare rather than strive to be independent and self-
Then the commentary went on to say:
" A different approach could win also a little more
of the general community support which is often largely
And this is where I want to come in, Mr. President, Sir. This
effort from the members of the society to subordinate government
in its effort to try and give homes to those that need homes. And
again, Mr. President, Sir, we have another incident here. "Baby1s
Body Pound in a Creek" - another unwanted child, and this problem
is increasing everyday in our society. Here is another one,
Mr. President, Sir, bundled up and thrown at night in one of the
side streets and was found by one of the hotel bouncers when he
retired home at night. This is a very sad picture, Sir, of what
is happening in our society today. This leads me to believe that
there is a real problem. All we are seeing now in these newspaper
cuttings and what we hear is the tip of the iceberg of what lies
underneath which is the actual crux of the problem that we face
today. If such is the situation then what do we do?
Mr. President, Sir, if I may be allowed to quote again from
one of the works that has been done on behalf of the South Pacific
Commission in which we are very much involved here. This is by
Professor Murphy of Canada's McGill University, who works in the
South Pacific area to try and assess the mental health problem that
is now rising in the South Pacific Commission area, I will only
quote a few important issues that was mentioned here, from the
"Pacific Islands Monthly"but I would like to assure the House that
here we have a calm before the storm. It says:
"The problem of mental health in these areas is directly
related to the weakening of traditional supports. Where the
care of the mentally disturbed had long remained primarily
with the extended family and the community, changes in
these protective environments not only reveal cases not
brought previously under psychiatric care, but precipitate
psychotic behaviour previously latent, or tolerated, in the
Suicide rates as a pointer to those sections of a community
under relatively more strain than others show that in Fiji
there are 20 times as many suicides in the Indian than in the
Fijian population. Of these, the rate is highest among
young Indian women and old Indian men."
The truth of that report, Mr. President, Sir, is well known to the
colleagues of mine in this House and more so to the Members of our
Indian community. The truth today is that the suicide rate is
rising in the young Indian women for many reasons, some of which I
shall be touching on. Then we come to the question ot abortions,
Mr, President, Sir, and I will add to this one by reading one or two
portions of it bocauso this is the core of the problem.
HOW. SENATOR KAUR BATTAiJ SINGH.- Has alcohol anything to do
with the iiiot ion?
MH, PRESIDENT.- Order] That is not a point of order. You
are only interrupting.
HON. SENATOR DR. TA3UA,- "Kids of Alcoholics - His mother was
an alcoholic, but David seemed the model child. At 7, he was
cleaning the house, making dinner, doing the laundry and
minding his unruly younger brother. In high school he was
class president; in college, he graduated with the highest
honours. Then, having worked "lard to get into law school,
he inexplicably found the goal an empty one. Depressed,
lonely, confused, he sought help. "Finally, a therapist
said to me, 'Was either of your parents alcoholic?1"
recalls David, 26. "I was flabbergasted, I had always been
a good kid, a smart kid. I couldn't make the connection."
Most therapists would not have made the connection
Most of our Members will not "be able to connect what I am trying to
say with this alcohol problem that we have in our society.
MR. PRESIDENT.- Order, ordor1 Honourable Senator, would you
k Lndly come closer to the motion now.
HON. SENATOR DR. TABUA,- What I am trying to illustrate, Mr.
President, Sir, is the inter-relation of these two problems that
we have the human factors that I was talking about and the
hous ing problems that wo have today. The number that we have out-
runs the ability of the Government in as far as the housing problem
is concerned, and I believe Members of this House can have a hand in
help iig the Government in trying to see to the numbo r of children
that wo have in our family so1 that we have a limited family and
are able to fit into the society. So that with our financial
abilities we are able to share in the problems of housing that
we have now.
Mr. President, Sir, I would just like to mention very briefly
the attitude we have towards family limitation and this attitude
is the greatest factor attributable to the difficulty in helping
Government wi th the housing problem - our attitude towards limiting
our numbers. As I have said before, we outrun the Government by
increasing our numbers in the family, in the nation for that matter,
so that Government is facing great difficulty in trying to help us
with our housing problems.
HON. SENATOR KAUR BATTAN SINGH.- Family planning!
MR. PRESIDENT.- No interruption, honourable Senator..
HON. SENATOR DR. TABUA.- Family planning is the word. And I
hope that my "colleagues will be able to share this view with m e ,
I know that for some of my colleagues this will be their
last session, but I hope they will take away some ideas with them
and are able to help others whether they come back or not.
HON. SENATOR I. TABUA.- We will all come back,
MR. PRESIDENT.- Order, order!
HON. SENATOR DR. TABUA.- We will be able to help each other,
and help the Government through limitation of our family. Our
attitudes towards this are different, and this I deeply respect
because the doctors themselves have differing attitudes towards
family planning, but I strongly believe that here lies a solution -
in everyone participating in helping our Government to solve our
housing problem. I support the motion.
HON. SENATOR RATU MATAITINI.- Mr. President, Sir, I will be
very brief. The motion refers to the provision of homes for low
income earners in the rural areas. First of all, Sir, I do realise
that the Housing Authority has been doing a marvellous job. Although
it might have far reaching plans to cater for housing needs in the
urban areas, the Authority is limited in the funds available to it
and I understand, it has in some ways been financed by public revenue.
But, generally the Housing Authority does find some money out of the
loan that it can contract from other organisations to cater for
the housing needs, for which it was set up. I do realise too, Sir,
that with the money available to it, it is not enough for it to
provide houses to all the applicants in the urban areas. Not only
has it lacked finance but it also has difficulties in acquiring
land to build the houses when it has the finance to do. so. There
has been a long waiting list, as has been mentioned by the previous
speakers. If that is the case in the urban areas, Sir, if Government
intends to extend the work of the Housing Authority to the rural areas,
I would say that in fairness the "first come, first serve" basis
should be used, and if that is followed, Sir, it would mean that
all those who are in the waiting list in the urban areas would have
to be catered first, before anything is done for the rural areas.
Sir, the motion, in one way, seeks the provision of houses by
the Housing Authority to rural areas. But for this to be done there
must be funds reserved out of the finance available - say, this
much is for the rural area, and this much for the urban area and
the present waiting list in the urban areas should be catered for
from such reserved fund. if that is done, I believe, Sir, it would
be a step towards the provision of houses in the rural areas.
Now, Sir, these houses are not provided free by the Housing
Authority. They have to be repaid and I do believe that the
people in the rural areas are not looking out for a handout. They
only expect the Housing Authority to have a sympathetic look, at
their position when they do apply, Sir. And when a loan is granted,
there must be a security for that loan, Sir. In the urban areas,
of course, there is a limit on the maximum amount earned by an
applicant before he can be granted Housing Loan, But if the
Housing Authority provides homes on the applicant's property, that
house itself is a security for the loan.
If a person who has received the loan is unable to pay the
instalment to the House Authority, the Housing Authority can sell
the- home and recover its losses. That is in the urban areas, Sir.
In the rural areas, and I include here the villages and
settlements, can they provide the same sort of security in order to
be considered favourably by the Housing Authority? No, Sir, unless
they have a lease title to the land on which they are going to
build. So that makes it more difficult for the Fijians who own land
as a mataqali unit and not individually. It makes it more difficult
for a member of the matagali to offer his land as a security.
It has been mentioned' that the Housing Authority has moved into
some villages. The village near where I come from, Waivou, was
mentioned. They offered security that was accepted by the Housing
Authority.And in fact in another village from the same area has a
home built by the Housing Authority, but the owner of that house
offered as a security a property within the urban area, which the
Authority can confiscate and sell if the owner could not repay
according to the agreement that was drawn up.
So in my mind, Sir, for the provision of homes such as these
finance is needed, land is needed. A low income earner will not
have all the finance. So, security for the loan is needed. Can the
standards reguired for such houses not be relaxed so that it fcak.es
less to build a house under such scheme as this? Particularly, so, in the
Fijian villages because I think, it is quite wrong to require the
same standard of building in a Fijian village as is required in an
urban-area. Can that be looked into. Sir? A loan from the
Housing Authority could be applied for to be spent on the building
of an ordinary Fijian b u r e ~ of course, with proper security. Sir.
I take it that most of the low income earners will be members of the
Provident Fund of Fiji. And now a member of the Provident Fund
can apply, of course, through the Housing Authority, to have part of
his contribution in the Provident Fund channelled to the Housing
Authority for the building of a home, for the repayment of
a housing loan or for the repair of an existing home. Can a member
of the Provident Fund, when borrowing his own money, have the balance
as the security itself? Or would it be against the Provident Fund
legislation to offer its funds as security for such loans? If that
is so. Sir, can it be looked into to help the low wage earners in
the rural areas to obtain loans from the Housing Authority?
HON. SENATOR INIA.- Mr. President, Sir, being a member from the
rural area, I rise to support this motion. I must thank the mover
for airing the needs of the low income earners of rural areas.
After listening, to the conditions laid down by the Housing Authority
in the urban areas, it looks as if there is not a chance for we rural
people to put in an appearance. I must thank the honourable
Senator from the Government side for reading out the achievements
of the Housing Authority. They have done a splendid job in those four
areas. I have also noticed, Sir, these people had money and good
security in order to make it possible for them to get a loan to
start off a housing scheme. It looks as if the big snag all along
is the availability of funds and these funds can only be passed over
to someone who can present a good security. Perhaps that is the
reason why it has been confined more to the urban areas where wages
have been regarded as a good security. The Housing Authority seems
to favour very much a permanent, regular worker in a town or a city.
I would like to put in a special plea, l*he first thing that a
man thinks of is that his family must have food to eat. You must be
able to feed your family starting off with just the two of you.
Then later on you must have good water to , drink; whether you be in
a city or out in the village, you must have food everyday, three
meals a day and I hope it is balanced and good clean water. After
tbat you need a good roof over your head. These are some of the things
that people in every society must have in order to survive and it is
only fair that leaders of our society must always take into consider-
ation the housing problem.
I think at this stage I must relate an incident that happened
when I was being shown around Hong Kong. While we travelled down the
road, I looked up and saw there were some corrugated iron over a
couple of branches with a married couple underneath. The good people
with me did their very best to divert my attention elsewhere but I
looked up and asked what that was and it was a very embarrassing
question. They showed me the wonderful several storey homes where
they have got everything but I ecu Id not forget the few corrugated
irons on the hillside, one after the other for a long distance. It
was not only five but close to about five hundred on one slope. It
shows up very well on the slope. Also, down the beach there were
not enough houses for the poor people and they lived on their boats
floating by the beach and they also fed their pigs on the boat.
I was saying, Mr. President, that a good family, a good
Turaga-ni-Koro, a good leader of an island, a village or a nation must
never forget the condition of housing in the country. It is a right
that every family is entitled to. It saddens my heart today, Sir,
that in the attempt that is being made to house our nation, if you
want to come under this wonderful scheme, you have got to leave your
village and come to Siiva and other towns. Do not be surprised, Sir,
if we leave all our villages behind and all come here. We all
contribute to the taxes of this country and why should there be more
conside cation given to housing here in towns and cities and less to
those of us out in the country. This is a point, Mr. President, which
I find hard to follow. Our poor people in the country do not show up
very much because they are scattered out in the bush and very often
are not seen by people but here in towns it shows up very well if you
pass by the road side.
I apprec Late the efforts t>at have been made by Government to houoi*
the several thousands who arc here in the great towns and cities. Las t
week I was over at Lautoka and while being taken around in the bus I
could not help noticing that- there were better houses being built by
the Housing Authority there than in Suva. If good security and first-
class repayment of the loan is the centre of such a scheme then it looks
as if it is going to be very difficult for those of us who live in rural
areas because regular employment is impossible and so we cannot join your
fund scheme. We will have to be jegarded as self-employed. The poor .rural
earner will find it difficult to qualify.
However, M r , President, in the rural areas, like in the West
where a lot of land was leased out and regular income paid in, if
they are wise they could work it in such a way that a pottion of the
lease could be deducted every time payment came in in order to meet
their responsibility. Perhaps several villagers or several owners of
land could have better houses in that way.
Similarly, we have the provincial councils which may be able
to guarantee the loan so as to make it possible to bring a housing
scheme into that province. Similarly, we have good co-operatives
that deal with the produce of the members - deductions could be
made to repay >the loan and the co-operatives could serve as some
sort of guarantee. 15 such a thing is impossible, then what is the
next best? I cannot think of another, except the one that struck
Roturna and that was Hurricane Bebe. This seems to be a solution to
housing in rural areas. Let the hurricane -strike you, blow down
your houses and you will get new houses tomorrow, paid or unpaid.
I notice, Sir, that the moment the houses are down by the hurricane,
not only Fi ji bu t the whole world comes to the rescue. I congratulate
and wish those people well who manage to get their new houses free
although Rotuman did not come under that category. We still have
to pay and pay, and 1 do not know the end of it. When I gave good
advice the other time regarding the new houses, I asked our good
friends to make sure that new hurricane-proof houses were built and
not a cheap small shed. I hope my friends take that advice, not
thinking of the cost. That is your only opportunity and you must
fight for it. If you get it, let the repayment be 10 or 20 years.
If our urban friends should complain, I would like to reply
that for alI these years we have been concentrating our funds
to the urban areas and uardly anything was done for those of us
who are far out in the country.
With these few remarks, Sir, I support the motion strongly.
MR. PRESIDENT,- Order 2 The House is adjourned for 15 minutes.
The House adjourned at 3.30 p.m.
The House resumed at 3.47 p.m.
HOW. S-SMATOR RATU VOLAVOLA,- Mr. President, Sic, I rise to
support the motion. The motion to me, Sir, is a very straight-
forward one. The intention of the motion is to provide homes -
asking the Housing Authority to provide homes for low income earners
in rural areas. I only hope. Sir, that the term "income earners in
rural areas" will include villagers. During the colonial days we
had what is commonly Tcnown as the "Fijian regulation" which caters
for the housing of villagers. There was no problem then. According
to the Fijian regulation you have to provide a house for a newly-
married couple. That is that and it has to be done. The Fijian
regulation is being repealed by Government. What is the Government
doing about replacing this housing requirement in villages? The
Government should therefore find ways and means of providing houses
to rural dwellers. Hence, this motion before the House.
HON. SENATOR TNOKE TABUA.- Hear! Hear!
HON. SENATOR RATU VOLAVOLA.- If the Housing Authority is
to provide homes as envisaged in the motion, I believe it will
have to make plans for the village which must be to the satisfaction
O L the community as a whole - the siting of houses, inclusive of
sanitary appliances, playground for children, young men and women,
and for ceremonial occasions. This will not only affect the particular
village, but surrounding ones as well, and probably, the whole
community ~ if this is going to be extended throughout the country.
Today, Sir, the Government is helping Provincial Councils financially
to the extent where I believe they can afford to guarantee such work
to develop villages. So what is wrong with that. Sir? The only
thing I can remember now is for Government to see that the Housing
Authority does the job. In villages (I am thinking about
villages along the R^wa Delta) which a re ve ry poor wi th 1i ttie
financial help coming to their aid, they manage to build churches with
the funds available to them. Little by lit 1:1 e payments are made
until the whole account is paid off. They could not do that with
the Housing Author!ty ~ to build first and pay later. Why cannot
this be done wi th the Provincial. Council as guarantor? When houses
are built, people in the villages will work together to find ways
and means of raising funds in order to pay back what they owe, as
they do wit'i churches. I feel, Sir, that the trouble today is that
people in the Authority have very little faith in the people in
rural areas. If only they had faith in them - give them this and
1st the people find a way to pay back. I think they will do it.
I would not like to quote, but what I think the Bible says faith can
move mountains. So if the Authority has faith in rural dwellers and
help them wi th hous ing, I believe they people can afford to pay.
The Housing Authority is prepared to build houses in certain places
to accommodate squatters. I do not know where the squatters get
their finance from, but the Authority builds homes for them in order
to settle these people in Housing Author ity projects. If the
Housing Authority and tho Government is prepared to do this for
squatters, I fail to see why they cannot do the same for rural
I support tho mo tion.
HON. SENATOR WEAVER*- M r . President, Sir, I wholeheartedly
support this motion because it is a step in the right direction,
and there are some people in the rural area who appear to be missing
out on some of the housing benefits that are so obvious in the
As the Honourable Senator Inia pointed out, housing provided
by the Housing Authority in the towns is outstanding and is a compliment
to the Authority. I would also like to record here the efforts
by the Government to satisfy the needs of the rural people.
I recognise too what Senator InoXe Tabua has pointed out concerning
the problem the Housing Authority faces with rural housing and
that is security. This problem is perhaps related to a motion that
has already gone through this House in relation to Pijians in
business. Senator Madhavan ably put forward one of the fundamental
problems and that is the matter of values - where you place your
values. Concerning security over repayment of the loan, repay-
ment by the squatter is assured by the tenant but security over the
building is provided through the block o C land on which the house
is 'built. If we oxtend this into the village and the country, I
think the areas we ar(; looking at in particular villages, are
communally owned. I think that last year I had put forward a suggestion
which might help solve some of the problems our Fijian citizens must
come to grips with if the villages arc to be incorporated, so thcih
they become a legal entity which can negotiate with authorities like
the Housing Authority and so that banks and others can deal with a
viable enti ty. The same applies to the "mataqa-M", if they ary
incorporated so that bankn and Housing Authorities can deal with
thorn in due course. Mr. Presideat, this is a problem that hits the
Fiji ^n members o f our community harder than anyone else because t;ie
other memberd of the community, not having any "mataqali" land, wil1
always tend towards freehold or lease. It is this lease or freehold
title which gives the holder borrowing power. Now, when our
Fi ji an ne ighi>ours can align thei r thinking towards achievement, they
will see for themselves that the communal system while it offers this
tremendous and wonderful value of relaxation, is an impediment i\\o
ach Lovoaio.it - achievement in material things such as houses. As
a simple student of the ways of -ny neighbours, it appears to mo that
the communal system as practised anywhere in the world wj>uld roqui re
the combined efforts of ail members of that community, and you get a
wonderful result. The stumbling block, Sir, is that it" one or more
of that total communal block does not contribute evenly or su?fieLently,
the total productive force is depressed. Whereas in a society
where the individual is considered on his own merits, where we have
100 indi v'iduais in a society considered as individuals, you can have
half or more than half not contributing at all, and the other half
will surge ahead as individuals and not -as a community and tiere
is no holdi ng back of achievement,
We have in Fiji an excellent example before us in two cattle
schemes - one, a big farm with everyone contributing, and the other
with a hundred separate farms. I think the scheme wi th the hundred
separate farms is going to be a wonderful success, only because
before it fails, you would have to have a hundred failures. And
with the one big scheme, you only have to have a few individuals
not contributing their fair share; it is an imposition on those who
are working, and slowly the concentration of efforts deteriorates.
Now, the alternative to an idividualistic society is a communal
society, incorporated, so that banks and others may deal with a
bankable entity. I think a lot of these problems can be quickly
solved-with the help of the Housing Authority and other agencies
which Government have introduced. With those words. Sir, I whole-
heartedly support the motion.
HOW. SENATOR MAL.- Mr. President, Sir, the motion before the
House is asking the Housing Authority to provide houses for the
low income earners in the rural areas.
Sir, we have the provincial councils and rural development
committees to look after most of these things. This afternoon we heard
Dr. Tabua giving us a good lecture on abortion, birth control
and so on, and he advised us not to have too many children. That
is a very good idea, but, nevertheless, husbands and wives,
without children, still need shelters.
Further, we heard Senator Inia advocating free houses for
newly married couples. That is a very good idea, too and some
states overseas do provide this. But the main question is, where
would the money come from? The ideas are good, but the problem is
money. I think to provide houses in the villages, the best
thing is to give every person in the Koro (village) who is not
working in the urban areas, five or 10 acres of land, and the
provincial council .should guarantee the loan from the Development
Bank and other institutions to build small houses for them. And
then they can work hard to make the repayments. Otherwise, if
you have the Housing Authority building houses in the villages,
what 'would they do if they do not get any tenants. To build houses
in the urban areas is quite goody because if one leaves, another
would take his place.
It is a good idea to keep the rural dwellers from coming into
the urban .or city areas because if they all come to urban areas,
they would not be able to find jobs. And you would have the jobless
and all the problems associated with it. It should not happen in
Fiji, because it is a very small place. As Louis Blanck once
said when preaching socialism in France in 1848, that each and
everyone would get job in cities, but when the people came to the
city they could not find jobs, and there was a second revolution.
I hope this does not happen in Fiji, but there are still everyday
problems on the street.
I support the motion.
HON. SENATOR RATU VAKALALABURE.- Mr. President, Sir, there is
only one point that I would like to refer to. I believe that the
honourable Senator Ratu Mataitini had also raised this matter. I
therefore appeal to Government to see that in DP VIII a fund is allo-
cated to look after rural areas. With housing, Sir, we understand that
the Authority has got to borrow from other institutions. So, if
Government can allocate a certain amount for rural housing, that would
probably be a solution and rural people do contribute to the nation's
I wish to thank the honourable Doctor; and I think he did raise
the point that we have to be careful about family planning. He said
that instead of the one we are asking for now, we would most probably
ask for ten. Well, I do not want to ruin the opportunities. But there
d s only one point that I wish to raise and I think it has something
to do with this problem. I know that in the villages, Sir, women go
to the doctors everyday either for pills or something else. But they
are all foreign things that are injected into them. From experience
I can tell you that in my villages, two ladies had their breasts
removed because of cancer - they were both very young ladies, but they
are both dead now. And just before one died, she admitted to the
doctor that she had something injected into her way back. And probably
there are more who have had this injected into them. If only they are
warned by the Medical Department that the foreign bodies would always
be in them, they would realise this and get them removed or renewed
periodically. But the things just disappeared in the muscles and they
have to be operated on.
To honourable Senator Kapadia, I wish to assure the Government
that we are more than grateful for what the Government is doing for
the rural areas. I thank my honourable friend from Rotuma and say to
him: Even though you do not get the houses, but when the going gets
tough, tough becomes the going.
Mr. President, Sir, before I resume my seat, I would like to
take this opportunity of thanking you once again for the privilege
you have given me over these three years, especially on the last
motion that I moved. You have sat and listened to the debates and I
will always remember this. To my honourable colleagues from the
Government side, I would say that I am very grateful that we had a
good term together. To the Opposition, may I take this opportunity
of thanking you for the opportunities that you have given us. You
have a very strong opposition which I sometimes hate. To the Leader -
I congratulate you. To my honourable members from the Great Council
of Chiefs, once again, I wish you good luck. This time next week,
we hope to meet again with the Great Council of Chiefs and we will
sign the nomination papers. Thank you very much, Sir, for looking
Motion agreed to.
HON. SENATOR KAPADIA.- Mr. President, Sir, I move that this
House now stand adjourned sine die.
NATIONAL BANK OF FIJI
HON. SENATOR KAUR RATTAN SINGH.- Mr. President, Sir, I would like
to speak very briefly on the National Bank of Fi j i and its management.
Whon the Genet ai Manager was appoin ted, the country was hold that he
is an expert in banking. Before he took OVQT as Manager from the late
Mr. C.P. Sharma, he was doing a good job as Act-ing Chief Manager, and
the Auditor-General is satisfied in the Bank's Annual Report of 1974
and 1975 for the good work ho has done. When Mr. Ibrahim Hreish was
in full control the 1977 and 1978 report has this alarming comment by
the Director of Audit and I quote: "A sati sfactory system of accounting
and related internal control did not exist during the period under
audit." Sir, this House should also note that the business in the
bank has dropped by 10 per cent and according to the Director's ropo>t
on page 5, and it is also reported by the Audi tor -Genera.] , that: the
sum of $252,765 is unaccountable. This is a tru.«t fund and I think
this is a serious matter. Thi s mystery has been with the bank for the
last two years and yet the so-called expert Mr, Hreish has not been
able to solve it. This House has the right to question this man's
credenti als, his qua Li flea tions and experience and also questi on hi a
behaviour towards the clients of the bank. Evon more sfrange i s the
Bank Directors' attitude when on the ono hand they state that the
Bank's business has decreased by 10 per cent and that they are also
concerned about the deficiency in assets, and on fhe other hand they
had the audacity to praise the Bank's Chief Manager for his skilled
and energetic leadership.
Sir, I am sure that, wi th your past experience in law and pub].i c
life, you will consider this as a seriou s state of af f aiis. The
Chief Manager, Mr. Hreish, has let this country down and the members
of the Board of Directors have very bad! y mi sdirected themselves.
Therefore it is only fair and proper that: the Directors should grace-
fully resign or the Minister should alternatively sack them. The
Chief Manager's services, in view of the serious anonialies and mis-
management in the Bank, should be terminated forthwith and he should
be sent back to his beauti ful country and continue to ride on a camel.
MKDICAL INQUIRIES REPORT
Sir, I now conic to the medical inqui ry. Some people say thi s
is a revealing document, somo people call it forward-looking and others
call it constructive. In my respectful opinion, it is revealing
because it reveals the gross inefficiency of the Min i. stry and i ts
staff and this has been well described in tho report which has been
tabled in Parliament.
Sir, on pag? 14, the report shows that from 1970 to 1977 the work
load increased from 24.5 per cent whereas the medical staff has
remained the same. The result is clear and as we all know, doctors
and nurses have been overworked resulting in a drop in efficiency and
Any defects, I can tell you, have never been intentional. Like
most Government services, it is a question of finance and funds and
at the moment the Ministry is studying the financial implications of
the whole report, while awaiting instructions from the Public Service
Commission, which has not given the authority to the Ministry to
implement even part of the report, as it involves additional expen-
diture which as you all know, must have prior approval of Cabinet and
ultimately Parliament. This can only be done after the matter has
been fully debated in Parliament.
MR. PRESIDENT.- Order! The honourable Member's time has expired.
Do you move that the honourable Member's time be extended?
HON. SENATOR KAUR BATTAN SINGH.- Yes, Sir.
HON. SENATOR AKANISI DREUNIMISIMTSI.- Reference was also made
to a question which was asked in the House last year regarding the
establishment of pathologists in the medical services. As far as my
memory can serve me, it was never intended to inform the House that
the Ministry was not aware that there was not a shortage; in fact
because they were aware that there was a shortage, the Ministry had
sent a doctor, who is now nearly completing his training in New
Zealand this year, to come back and join the Medical Department as a
The Ministry of Health will continue to train more pathologists
as and when funds are available. The Minister of Health, I do not
think, ever intended to mislead the House and I think, in my opinion,
he has been supported very very well by his administrative staff.
Motion agreed to.
MR. PRESIDENT.- Order! The House is adjourned sine die.
The House adjourned at 4.31 p.m. sine die.
MONDAY, 22 OCTOBER„ 1979
The Senate met at 10.00 a.m. pursuant to notice.
MR. PRESIDENT took the Chair and read the Prayer.
The Hon. Senator A.I.N. Deoki, O.B.E., Attorney—General
The Hon. Senator Ramanlal I. Kapadia
The Hon. Senator Dr. Sevanaia B. Tabua
The Hon. Senator W.M. Barrett, J.P.
The Hon. Senator Ratu Livai Volavola O.B.E. (Vice-President)
The Hon. Senator Inoke Tabua
The Hon. Senator Ratu Glanville W. Lalabalavu
The Hon. Senator Ratu Tevita Vakalalabure
The Hon. Senator Ratu Marika I«tianara
The Hon. Senator Ratu Meli Loki
The Hon. Senator Joeli Sereki
The Hon. Senator Kaur Battan Singh
The Hon. Senator Suman Shiromaniam Madhavan
The Hon. Senator Chandra Prakash Bidesi
The Hon. Senator Bakshi Balwant Singh Mai, M.B.E.
The Hon. Senator Colin Stanley Weaver
The Hon. Senator S. Basawaiya
The Hon. Senator Akanisi Dreunimisimisi
The Hon. Senator P.M.K. Sherani
The Hon. Senator Ratu Jone Mataitini
The Hon. Senator Wilson Inia, M.B.E., J.P.
ADMINISTRATION OF OATH
The following Senators subscribed to the Oath of
The Hon. Senator A.I.N. Deoki
The Hon. Senator W.M. Barrett
The Hon. Senator Ratu Meli Loki
The Hon. Senator Ratu Marika Latianara
The Hon. Senator Joeli Sereki
The Hon. Senator Subramani Basawaiya
HON. SENATOR RATU VOLAVOLA. - Mr. President, Sir, it gives me
great pleasure to welcome the new senators to this House. Some of
them are not new to me, Sir, like Mr. Andrew Deoki, Mr. Barrett and
Mr. Basiaw'aiya. I would also like to welcome the three nominees of
the Great Council of Chiefs. I hope the new Senators will contribute
to the deliberations of this House in a way as to lift up the name
of this House as we have done in the past.
HON. SENATOR KAUR BATTAN SINGH.- Mr. President, Sir, it gives
me great pleasure to acknowledge the addition to our ranks of some
distinguished members. I am sure that the whole House will agree
with me when I say that we welcome with pleasure and look forward
to contributions of honourable Senators Andrew Deoki, Ratu Marika,
Subramani Bas-<awaiya,Wesley Barrett, Ratu Meli Loki and Senator
Mr. President, Sir, may I say from this side of the House that
we received the news of Mr. Deoki's appointment as Attorney-General
with great pleasure. Senator Deoki, Mr. President, Sir, is a dedi-
cated son of Fiji and has had a distinguished and varied career. Indeed
one can say without hesitation that he has continuously fought for
multiracialism in all aspects of life; from the Suva City Council
Sea Baths to the primary and secondary schools and even in Parliament
itself. He has always expressed faith and confidence in the
abilities and interests of the local people to run this country.
Sir, in the chosen profession of law. Senator Deoki attained
the position of one of the leading barristers in this country.
Integrity, charity and wisdom were his outstanding qualities.
In the field of sports, Sir, he also has a record of dedicated
service for many years. Senator Deoki was associated with the Fiji
Football Association and in 1961 he led the first Fiji team on over-
seas tours as Manager where I had the privilege and honour of being
one of the members of the squad.
Sir, in the field of politics, Senator Deoki has had a proud
and distinguished record. He served as a Member of the Legislative
Council where his contributions were valued as thoughtful, construc-
tive and concise.
He was a timely and indeed, was accepted by the people of Fiji
as a worthy successor to the late Pundit Vishnu Deo.
Senator Deoki was the first Director of Public Prosecutions and
he was also an independent Vice-Chairman of the Sugar Board.
Mr. President, Sir, I also welcome honourable Senator Basawaiya
who has been a dedicated party worker and whose influence affected
the working of my party, though temporarily he has been absent from
Parliament. He brings with him the knowledge of economics and indeed
his ability to debate issues of merit and his experience in Parliament
would be of great benefit to the Senate.