Viliame Naupoto Crosses Political Aisle: A New Beginning

Former member of the now de-registered FijiFirst Party, Viliame Naupoto, today spoke in the Parliamentary chamber for the first time as a crossbench Member of Parliament.

While expressing his support for the 2024-25 National Budget, Naupoto highlighted that his current situation arises from a decision he made in Parliament, a decision he does not regret, and other decisions made outside of Parliament.

Members of Parliament who are not affiliated with the Government or the Opposition sit on the crossbench.

“Let me at the outset say, that the decisions made outside of this Parliament were theirs to make which I respect, and the reasoning behind their decisions, I will not question.”

“I have accepted the situation I am in, and I will move on as a crossbench Member of Parliament for the remainder of this Parliament term.”

“I have made my choice also, and as the saying goes ‘You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice.’ That, I understand very well.”

Despite the circumstances, Naupoto emphasized that he stands in the house with a sense of freedom; freedom to exercise his own judgment, freedom to consult across the floor, and freedom to work with others, including those across the floor. All of this is to ensure he serves the citizens well.

“Today is a new start for me.”

“Democracy is only partly about votes and Legislature, but Democracy is mostly about human encounter and interaction.”

“It’s about arguing, debating, and compromising across different people, with different beliefs, different political affiliations, and people who may be radically different. We learn to say, ‘OK, I may not fully understand where you are coming from, but I’m beginning to see you, and I show you respect, admiration, and reverence.’”

He added that the past politics of “us versus them” and “it’s my way or the highway”—elements he noted still present in Parliament—sow seeds of anger and hatred. When it emanates from Parliament, they fail to set good examples for the multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-religious society they serve.

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