Parliament will debate on the Interpretation (Amendment) Bill of 2023 this Friday after the Attorney-General Siromi Turaga moved the motion that the Bill be brought in through Standing Orders 51.
Speaking on his motion, the Attorney-General said that in 2021, the Interpretation Act was amended to provide that where any written law authorises or requires a person to provide his or her name, the person must provide the name as specified on the birth certificate, and where any written law authorises or requires a person to provide any form of identification of himself or herself, the person must provide such form of identification which accurately reflects the name as specified on the birth certificate.
Turaga said these changes however disadvantaged mainly women who were then mandated to change the name on their birth certificate to include their spouse’s surname in order to continue using their spouse’s surname for various purposes including official identification or documentation including voter ID cards.
The Office of the Attorney-General had conducted consultations with the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Solicitor General.
The Bill if it is passed by Parliament, the amending legislation will come into force on a date appointed by the Minister by notice in the Gazette.
Since there was opposition to the motion, a vote was taken where 27 members voted in favour, 21 voted against it and 5 opted not to vote.