HL Deb 07 May 1970 vol 310 cc400-2WA

asked Her Majesty's Government

Whether they will make a statement on the constitutional conference on the future of Fiji.


The Fiji Constitutional Conference was held in London from April 20 to May 5. The Fiji delegation included all the elected members of the Fiji Legislative Council ex-one who is ill in Fiji. They all signed the Conference Report.

The Report sets out the principles on which an independence Constitution will be drafted. It is proposed that the Constitution should contain a statement of fundamental rights and freedoms and that it should provide for a Governor-General, a nominated Senate and a House of Representatives.

All aspects of the proposed Constitution were agreed between the representatives at the Conference of the Fiji Government Party and of the Opposition party. As stated by my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary on May 4 in another place, a particularly satisfactory aspect of the Conference was agreement reached between the representatives of the two parties about the composition of the Legislature. The Lower House, the House of Representatives, will have a greater proportion of members elected by voters of all communities than the present Legislative Council. The Constitution will provide for an election not later than five years after the first sitting of the present Legislative Council, that is towards the end of 1971.

Subject to the endorsement of the Conference Report by the Legislative Council of Fiji and to the necessary legislation being enacted by Parliament here, Fiji Independence Day will be October 10, 1970. The Fiji delegation informed the Conference that it was their intention that Fiji would apply for membership of the Commonwealth.

I have arranged for copies of the Report to be placed in the Library of the House.

House adjourned at eight minutes before eight o'clock.