Parliamentary Handbook

This handbook was written in response to a request from the Vanuatu Parliament, after two workshops for Members of Parliament in 1997 and 1988. It does not pretend To tell you everything an MP needs to know. Rather, it is designed to introduce new Parliamentarians, and people planning to be candidates for election to Parliament, to the most fundamental aspects of the job. The serious student of Vanuatu politics will have to read more than this. However, I hope that new Members of Parliament will find this a useful document to keep beside them, to answer their many questions when they are first elected to the House of Representatives

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Constitution of Vanuatu

The Parliament of the Republic of Vanuatu came into existance by the virtue of the Constitution, which is the nation's supreme law: Articles 1 & 2 provide the framework for governing the Republic of Vanuatu and make it clear that the Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic of Vanuatu. This means that all other laws must be consistent with the Constitution.

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Standing Order

Standing Orders are written rules of procedure which provide for the conduct of proceedings in the House including the passage of bills, rules of debate, the maintenance of order, appointment of committees, and the matters affecting the operation of the House.

Every Parliament in the world has rules. They have them to try to make conduct of their houses of representatives orderly and constructive. The rules of the Parliament of Vanuatu are in the standing orders of Parliament. These rules started to be used in Parliament in January 1982. They are published in French and English.

Every member of Parliament should be given a copy of the Standing Orders as soon as possible after they are elected. It is very important that all MPs know what is in the Standing Orders. They tell in detail how an MP can add to the life of Parliament. The authority of the Standing Orders is given by the Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu 1988 under clause 21(5). This clause hands over to Parliament the right to "make its own rules of procedures".

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United in Peace we progress statue

United in Peace we progress Statue in front of Vanuatu Parliament House. Design by: Allan Palmer

" From the past to the present the strength of a nation has been, still is and always be, the unity of it's people. If people are to be united, then family unity must prevail. If the laws, principles and customs of nation assist the families to be united peacefully the country can only progress."

The husband is the head of the family and leads his family to the future with confidence. The wife is the pride of her husband. Her and her children are beatiful, dressed well and healthy. The parents represents the elderly generation.
This means that she cares for her family and looks after their health
The son is looking towards the future that his father is pointing to
He holds a book to his chest which shows that he cherishes education as the road to progress
The daughter in her mums arm represents the individual Ni-Vanuatu's feeling in a display of peace and security and also represent the future of the country.

To listen to the live interview between Allan Palmer (Statue designer) and Buzz FM96 Vanuatu explaining the meaning of the statue, please click here.

Part of the interview script in the audio:

Kizzy Kalsakau: Some Vanuatu history is not told, only a few people know about them. The new generations don’t know anything. I’m referring to something that you designed. It’s the family statue in front of the Parliament House.

Allan Palmer: Yes, I heard some rumors about some people claiming this and that about the statue. It came on the 10th anniversary of independence in 1990. The committee of the independence celebration, of course because of us supplying vehicles to them during that grand celebration they were going to have, they asked me if I had any other ideas or anything. I said no it’s only an idea, because I like history, I said why don’t you create a statue. I didn’t intend it to be in front of Parliament. For me it’s a statue in town where people could look at it and think about peace and unity. You can be united by force, but you have to be united in peace, then it works.

So, when the committee heard that, that was it. I left them and forgot all about it. But then some months later I received a letter from the Minister of the Government of Vanuatu asking me if I could create a statue. And I accepted.

But I’m not a sculpture, I’m not an artist. I can give an idea, and the idea is of a family because it all comes to the family first because when you look at a nation, what makes a nation, powerful? It is when the family is united, people are united, they sit down and they talk together and then it can only progress. I’m not talking about my own knowledge, no, I don’t have that knowledge. I’m talking about when people study books, I’m not going back 2,000 years, 3000 years, just look at 1st world war, 2nd world war for example. Just an example. As soon as the First World War in 1918 ended up, because it’s a hundred years now, the world created a league of nations to put peace. But in the 1930s it was demolished. Then we came to 1942 – 1945, Second World War. As soon as the war finished, what the nations thought was the best thing to do, they decided to form the United Nations. That word, United, and when you look at its charter, its aim, — Chapter One, first paragraph: The aim of the United Nations is to put peace and security worldwide. But it all boils down to the family.

So, my aim was to show in town a stature that would symbolize a family. The husband or the father being the head of the family. Now, I’ll talk a bit about the husband. The father, I made him out to be Melanesian, because it is a Melanesian country. So, if you look at the statue, he is Melanesian. He is healthy, he is strong, you can see his muscles. He is healthy and his finger is pointing towards the future. So, he’s caring about his family to make sure it progresses on. Then he holds his wife with his arm. So, he cherishes his wife. He looks after his wife. And if you have a look at his wife, she’s well-dressed, she’s got pearls, so he is looking after her. So, I made the wife like a half cast, because it tells us color is not important, it is not the color that he wants, it’s the heart. And then there is the young boy in the front. He’s about 10 or 11 years old and he cherishes a book. He’s holding a book on his heart. And that can be regarded as sacred education and can also be spiritual education because Vanuatu’s Motto: Long God Yumi Stanap, In God We Stand. That was the Motto when the country became Independent until today. It is a Christian country indeed. It is a very religious country. And so, that little boy is educated at high school he learned spiritual education as well.

Then I made the little girl. She could be 4 years old and being held by her mother and her head is lying on her mother’s side, like she is at rest, at peace. She feels secure. She’s in the family that is united in peace, not forced, but united in peace and love and she’s at rest. And then because the husband looks after her so well, and she wants to go where he goes, he points to the future. The whole family looks towards the future with him. They are all looking towards the future because they trust the head of the family – the father.

So that was the main idea – putting the family together so that the nation can have a family that sticks together, it is united in peace, well educated, in good health, then the nation can only progress.

Kizzy Kalsakau: The statue came with a motto?

Allan Palmer: The idea was to have a family united in peace and love. So, I put this in French, English and Bislama – ‘United in Peace We Progress’. The words are on the white marble down at the bottom or base of the statue. A lot of people do not see it, but if you have a look down at the bottom on a white marble there (now reddish brown). It was done by China.

(Extracted from Vanuatu Daily Post)

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