1. Scope: These rules for the Parliament of the Republic of Nauru are self-sufficient, except for any modifications provided by the Dais. These modifications will be announced at the beginning of the first session.
2. Language: English is the working language of the Parliament. Those Members of Parliament (hereafter “Members”) wishing to use other languages must provide contemporaneous and accurate translation.
3. Powers of the Dais: The Chair will declare the opening and closing of each meeting and may propose the adoption of any procedural motion to which there is no significant objection. The Chair will have complete control of the proceedings at all meetings. The Chair will also direct discussions, accord the right to speak, put questions, announce decisions, rule on points of order, and ensure and enforce observance of these rules. The Chair may also advise Members on the course of debate. The Chair will be subject to these rules at all times.
4. Quorum: The Chair may declare the Parliament open and permit all business to proceed when at least one-half of the Members of the Parliament are present. A quorum will be assumed unless specifically challenged and proven absent.
5. Speakers List: A primary speakers list will be opened at the beginning of debate to present, defend, or refute the merits of a proposed topic. Once an agenda has been chosen, a secondary speakers list will be opened to substantively debate the agenda topic under discussion. Delegates can be added to either speakers list by raising their placards when directed by the Chair or by sending a note to the Dais. Debate is automatically closed upon exhaustion of the speakers list. If there are resolutions on the floor at the time debate is closed, the committee will automatically move into voting procedure on those resolutions in the order in which they were brought to the floor. At no time can one Member be listed on the same speakers list more than once.
6. Time Limit: The default time limit is one minute. If a speaker exceeds the allotted time limit, the Chair has the power to terminate the speech. In order to change the time allotted to each speaker, a Member must motion to set a new time limit on speeches. This motion requires a simple majority to pass.
7. Speeches: No Member may address the Parliament without the permission of the Chair. The Chair may call a speaker to order if his or her remarks are not relevant to the topic being discussed or are offensive.
8. Yields: A Member recognized to speak in a substantive way may yield his or her time in one of four ways. Only one yield may occur per speech. Yields during debate on the primary speakers list and during caucuses are not in order. A Member who does not specify a yield will be presumed to have yielded to the Chair. The following yields are considered appropriate:
– To Another Member: The Member yielded to may speak for the remainder of the original Member’s time, and may not yield in any way at the end of his or her speech. – To the Chair: The remainder of the Member’s time is forfeited and the floor will be open to points and motions, after which the next speaker will be recognized – To Questions: Other Members recognized by the Chair may ask questions of the speaker germane to the speaker’s speech. Time will only be deducted from the speaker’s remaining time during his or her response. No follow-up questions or dialogue will be permitted. – To Comments: The Chair will recognize two Members, for 30 seconds each, to
give a comment germane to the speaker’s speech.
9. Right of Reply: A Member whose personal identity or constituents have been impugned by another Member must submit a Right of Reply in writing to the Chair. The Chair may grant the Right of Reply at his discretion, and the Member may address the committee for the set speaking time when given right to do so by the Chair.
10. Agenda: The first order of business is setting the order of topics. The Chair will open a primary speakers list for consideration of the agenda. Either a Member must make a motion to close debate or the speakers list will terminate before Members enter voting procedure on the matter. This motion should be followed by a motion to set the agenda, which requires two speakers for and two speakers against and requires a simple majority to pass. In the event of a crisis or emergency, the Chair may call upon the Parliament to table debate on the current topic so that the more urgent matter may be addressed. After the crisis has been resolved, the committee will immediately return to the tabled topic.
11. Debate: Once a topic is chosen, a secondary speakers list will be established for general debate. Speeches must be germane to the topic and may only reference resolutions that have been introduced to the committee.
12. Moderated Caucus: The moderated caucus is used to foster an in-depth substantive debate by temporarily departing from the speakers list and allowing the Chair to call on Members at his discretion. A motion for a moderated caucus can be proposed when the floor is open, prior to the closure of debate, and requires a simple majority to pass. The Chair may entertain the motion at his discretion. The Member who proposes the caucus should briefly describe the topic to be discussed, specify the duration, not to exceed twenty minutes, and the speaking time per delegate. A Member who successfully moves for a moderated caucus maintains the right of the first speech. Members indicate their desire to speak by raising their placards when instructed by the Chair. All Members must remain in their seats and maintain decorum. The only points or motions that are in order are points of order, points of personal privilege, and rights of reply.
13. Unmoderated Caucus: A motion for an unmoderated caucus, which requires a simple majority to pass, is in order at any time when the floor is open, prior to the closure of debate. During an unmoderated caucus, formal debating procedure is temporarily suspended. The Member making the motion must indicate a total length for the caucus, not to exceed twenty minutes. The Chair may entertain the motion at his discretion.
14. Suspension and Adjournment: At the scheduled time, a Member may motion to suspend Parliamentary functions until the next session. At the end of the final session, a Member may pose a motion to adjourn, which suspends all Parliamentary functions. The Chair may rule such motions out of order. These motions are not subject to debate and require a simple majority to pass.
15. Tabling a Topic: When the floor is open, a Member may motion to table the topic, which means that the discussion is temporarily suspended in order to discuss a more pressing issue. The Chair has discretion to entertain the motion. The motion requires a two-thirds majority to pass and merits one speaker for and one speaker against. If the motion passes, the topic will be set to the pressing issue that prompted the tabling. Once debate closes on the pressing issue, the committee will resume the secondary speakers list of the topic that was tabled.
16. Closure of the Speakers List: A motion to close the speakers list can only be in order if a draft resolution is on the floor. Such a motion may be ruled out of order by the
Chair. The motion merits one speaker for and one speaker against, and requires a two- thirds majority to pass. If it passes, debate continues until the speakers list is exhausted, at which point the Parliament moves into voting procedure. Once the speakers list is closed, it cannot be reopened.
17. Closure of Debate: A motion to close debate may be made at any time when the floor is open, before the exhaustion of the speakers list. The Chair may entertain the motion at his discretion. The motion merits one speaker for and one speaker against, and requires a two-thirds majority to pass.
D. Points and Motions
18. Point of Order: During the discussion of any matter, a Member may rise to a Point of Order to indicate an instance of improper parliamentary procedure. The Member raising the point may not speak on the substance of the subject under discussion. A Point of Order may interrupt a speaker.
19. Point of Personal Privilege: Whenever a delegate experiences person discomfort that impairs his or her ability to participate in the proceedings, he or she may raise a Point of Personal Privilege to request that the discomfort may be corrected. A Point of Personal Privilege may only interrupt a speaker when the point relates to an inability to hear or understand the speaker.
20. Point of Parliamentary Inquiry: When the floor is open, a Member may raise a Point of Parliamentary Inquiry to ask the Chair a question regarding the rules of procedure. A Point of Parliamentary Inquiry may never interrupt a speaker. Members with substantive questions should not rise to this point, but approach the dais during unmoderated caucus or send a note.
21. Motion for No Confidence in the Government: At any time when the floor is open, a Member may move for a procedural vote to debate no confidence in the Government (which removes the President and his Cabinet from office). The motion being proper, the Parliament will automatically table the topic they are discussing, and the Chair will open a secondary speakers’ list with a 90-second speaking time. The Chair will then call for all Members who wish to be placed on the secondary speakers’ list, with the President having the right of last speech; after this call, no further names may be added to the list. Yields are in order. There are no points or motions in order, except for Point of Parliamentary Inquiry, Point of Personal Privilege, Point of Order, and Right of Reply. Debate will close only when the speakers’ list is exhausted, at which point the Parliament will vote on the motion of no confidence in the Government, which will carry with a simple majority of the body. Abstentions are out of order
22. Motion to Elect a New Government: If the Parliament votes no confidence in a Government, the Parliament will move into a five-minute unmoderated caucus, after which the Chair will ask for two to three nominees for President. Two nominations must be received for any candidate; no Member may nominate himself or herself for President. Voting is conducted by secret ballot. Abstentions are out of order. A simple majority is required to elect a new President. If the first election fails to elect a President, the Parliament will move into another five-minute unmoderated caucus. After the caucus, the Chair will repeat the election process as many times as is necessary in order to elect a new President. The President will then select four or five Members to the Cabinet, in accordance with the Constitution. The President will submit the list of Cabinet members and their portfolio assignments to the Chair.
23. Working Papers: Working papers are a vehicle for Members to disseminate ideas, outline possible solutions, and aid the Parliament in its discussion and formulation of resolutions. Working papers are informal, written documents that do no have to adhere to strict format. It does not need sponsors, but requires the Chair’s approval to be disseminated. The Parliament does not vote on a working paper; ideas appearing in working papers that the Parliament wishes to vote on must be incorporated into resolutions.
24. Resolutions: A resolution is the official document the Parliament uses to take action on a particular topic. A resolution may be introduced when it receives the approval of the Chair and carries the signatures of at least one-fifth of the Members. A resolution may not be referred to in formal debate until it is officially introduced on the floor.
25. Introduction of Resolutions: Once a resolution meets the stipulations above, a Member may motion to introduce the resolution. A procedural vote is then take to determine whether the resolution shall be introduced. If the motion receives the required simple majority, the resolution is considered introduced onto the floor. A resolution will remain on the floor until debate on the topic is postponed or closed. Debate on resolutions proceeds according to the secondary speakers list for that topic area and Members may refer to the resolution by its number. More than one resolution can be on the floor for any given topic. A resolution is considered withdrawn if at any time it lacks a sponsor. Signatories can add or remove themselves anytime after the introduction of the resolution to the floor; it is only at the time of introduction that the resolution must carry the requisite number of signatures.
26. Pertinence: If a Member feels that a resolution is not germane to the topic, he or she may motion to question the pertinence of a particular resolution. Such a motion merits one speaker for and one speaker against and requires a two-thirds majority to pass. If the motion passes, the resolution is immediately withdrawn from consideration.
27. Amendments: Members wishing to amend resolutions may do so in one of three ways:
– Non-substantive Amendments: Correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, or clarify (without changing) the meaning of any resolution. Upon the approval of the Chair, will automatically be incorporated into the resolution without vote. Any Member may propose such an Amendment. – Friendly Amendments: Substantive changes to resolutions that carry the support of all of the sponsors of an amendment. With the approval of the Chair, will automatically be incorporated into the resolution upon the motion of a sponsor of the resolution. – Unfriendly Amendments: Substantive changes to resolutions that do not carry the support of all the sponsors of a resolution. In order to be considered, unfriendly amendments must have the approval of the Chair and the support of at least one-fifth of the Parliament, at which time they are introduced to be debated alongside the resolution. Members should only sign onto unfriendly amendments they support. Unfriendly amendments are only withdrawn upon the removal of support by all of its sponsors.
28. Procedural Voting: All voting is considered procedural with the exception of resolutions, amendments to resolutions, votes of no confidence in the Government, and establishment of a new Government. All Members must vote on procedural matters; abstentions are out of order. If there are not enough speakers for or against a particular motion, that motion automatically fails or passes.
29. Substantive Voting: Upon the closure of debate, the Parliament moves immediately into voting procedure. The only points or motions in order are: Point of Personal Privilege, Point of Order, Point of Parliamentary Inquiry, Motion for a Roll Call Vote, Motion to Divide the Question, and Motion to Reconsider. No one shall be allowed to enter or exit until voting procedure is completed. No contact between delegates shall be permitted. Resolutions require a simple majority to pass.
30. Method of Voting: No proxy voting is allowed. If a member should want the votes to be recorded by roll call vote, he or she should motion for a roll call vote. Approval of such motion is subject to the discretion of the Chair. In a roll call vote, Members may vote “yes”, “no”, “abstain”, or “pass”. Any member who passes during the first round of votes must vote “yes” or “no” and may not abstain.
31. Order of Voting: Resolutions will be voted in the order in which they were introduced. Unfriendly amendments that accompany resolutions will be voted in the order in which they were introduced. If an unfriendly amendment is successfully added to a resolution, but the resolution subsequently fails, the unfriendly amendment fails along with it. Motions to change the order of voting on resolutions are out of order.
32. Motion to Divide the Question: A Member may motion to divide up the operative clauses of a resolution. Preambulatory clauses and suboperative clauses may not be divided. The motion requires two speakers for and two speakers against followed by a procedural vote requiring a two-thirds majority to pass. If the motion passes, the Chair will take proposals on how to divide the question and prioritize them from most severe to least severe. The Parliament will then vote on the proposals until one passes by simple majority. If no proposals pass, the resolution remains intact. If a proposal passes, each divided section is voted on in a procedural vote to decide whether it is to be included in the final draft. Once all the sections are voted upon, the recombined resolution will undergo a substantive vote. If all of the sections fail, the resolution as a whole is considered rejected.
33. Motion to Divide the House: A motion to divide the house is in order when, immediately after a resolution is voted upon, more than one-fifth of the Parliament has abstained or the number of abstentions can sway the passage of the resolution. The motion must be made by a sponsor of the resolution. The Chair can entertain the motion in his discretion, and require that all Members who previously abstained give a “yes” or “no” vote. If the number of “yes” responses alters the status of the resolution, the resolution passes.
34. Motion to Reconsider: Immediately after a resolution is voted upon, a Member who voted on the prevailing side may move to reconsider the resolution. The Chair may entertain the motion in his discretion, and call for a speaker for and a speaker against the motion, which requires a simple majority to pass. If the motion passes, the Parliament will vote on the resolution again.