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Coat of Arms of Sri Lanka

Mr Speaker

I should begin by thanking you and the party I represent for giving me this opportunity to speak here today. Many years ago, as I child, I used to attend debates in Parliament, and marvel at the learning and commitment of our Members of Parliament. That was in the old chamber, which was a place of great dignity. I must admit to having felt some sorrow when I first attended a debate in this Chamber, sadly the debate in which I think I saw Parliament at its worst.

It was the occasion in which Mrs Bandaranaike’s Civic Rights were taken away, and I thought then that my youthful dreams of being a Member of Parliament were misplaced. It seemed to me then that the excessive grandeur of this chamber went hand in hand with a reduction of the actual dignity of Parliament, and the situation seemed to get much worse when that Parliament ensured its own extension without permitting a General Election.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

May 2010
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