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Undemocratic parliament = absolute power

BY SAM BASIL

THE SPEAKER of the national parliament, Hon Jeffery Nape, has eroded the spirit of PNG’s democracy for three consecutive years and continues to do.

When becoming a member of this eighth parliament, I was given a copy of the constitution (edited version, July 2007) and started browsing through the Speaker’s role and responsibilities.

The constitution states clearly in Section 108(1) that, the Speaker is responsible for upholding the dignity of the Parliament, maintaining order in it, regulating its proceedings and administering its affairs.

Jeffery Nape’s decisions and actions on the floor of parliament have clearly shown that his conduct is not in accordance with the constitution or the standing orders of parliament. Simply there is no democratic process in the proceedings of parliament.

In the last sitting of parliament the Speaker…

(a)    failed to entertain the motion of no confidence notice which was officially handed to his office at 0930 on 21 July;

(b)   failed to entertain the nay call by the opposition which was followed by a call for a division seconded against the leader of government business who proposed that the parliament at its rising be adjourned until 16 November;

Surprisingly the clerk of parliament, Mr Don Pandan, excluded the division calls from the Hansard distributed a week after the session. The national parliament clerk has also failed his constitutional duties to properly advise the Speaker to act in accordance with the constitutional laws, the acts of parliament and the standing orders of the parliament.

Mr Pandan must be referred to the Ombudsman Commission.

We have heard that during intense lobbying two very influential government MPs spent three hours with the Speaker. The Speaker’s undemocratic rulings on the floor raises many questions regarding the integrity of the chair.

Is the Speaker above the law? Why haven’t the relevant authorities stepped in to address all the corruption claims against the Speaker including his undemocratic conduct on the chair?

Last week’s denial of the opposition’s rights to call for a division has seen the Speaker’s office denying the rights of almost three million people that those 45 members of parliament represent in opposition.

Maybe it is time now for ordinary people to directly vote a Speaker into office who can be independent from political influence.

There is no hope for us elected MPs to exercise our rights and freedom on behalf of our people.

Source: Press release by Hon Sam Basil MP, 1 August 2010

Comments

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Billy Wakondi

For the last eight years, the NA Party and its leadership has put a useless Speaker in parliament. He ensures that no one asks awkward questions or challenges the NA led government.

The Speaker has not done anything constructive in his home electorate of Sinasina-Yogumugul in the Simbu Province all this time. He cannot do anything much for his people while being in the Speaker's chair.

Jeffery Nape is also a victim of his own job as Speaker. His people will remove him from being an MP come the 2012 elections and good riddance to him.

Reginald Renagi

Wholeheartedly agree with Barbara Short that PNG must immediately set up its own ICAC. This is important if the current government is serious about curbing corruption in the country.

There are widespread reports of many corruption-related incidents that must be investigated and action taken against the perpetrators in a timely way.

This must be done within the next two years before the 2012 national elections for obvious reasons.

Barbara Short

I believe PNG should set up an Independent Commission Against Corruption as soon as possible. AusAID should help with this.

It appears that the judiciary lacks leadership and lacks organised bodies that can investigate allegations of corruption we hear about constantly in relation to the government.

These allegations need to be investigated quickly. People who have been corrupt need to be exposed and removed from office and then people will start to show some respect for the members of parliament.

This problem has gone on for too long. These allegations have been around for a long time and it makes it hard for one to know who one can trust.

Surely the members of parliament want their names to be cleared. If they don't, then we start to think that they must be corrupt themselves.

God can save PNG if the people who know the Truth are willing to stand up for the Truth. Courage Brother, do not stumble!

Peter

This story is from Indonesian Papua, not PNG, but it should send shockwaves around the world of journalists.

A journalist with Papua local channel Merauke TV was found dead on Friday, apparently from torture. Jojo, chief editor of local daily Koran Rajawali, said journalists had received death threats related to their coverage of the upcoming regional election.

“The senders said they would kill the journalists and they could not seek protection from the military or police. Some of the journalists have reported the threats to the police,”

Journalists at both PNG's national papers have received death threats in the past for covering issues of corruption in high places.

Former Attorney General Marat claims he has received death threats. Last year someone tried to assassinate the Ombudsman. Lawyers acting for Bank South Pacific in their court case against Yama received death threats and had to leave the county.

How long will it be before a PNG journo or public figure is killed for revealing the truth about corruption or standing up against injustice?

We know it is quite common in dictatorships, but democratic countries are persecuting and targeting journalists as well: 823 journalists have been killed worldwide since 1992.

Details by country can be found at this interesting site run by the Committee to Protect Journalists -

http://www.cpj.org/killed/

Emma Powan

Sam Basil - You are a true son of PNG. We need more PNGuineans MPs of your character who know where they stand from the word go.

No parliamentarians today can be trusted. What they say is not what they mean and what they mean is not what they say. A real bunch of hypocrite, compromised, low low leaders up there.

Keep it up. Your conscience is clear and you are setting the bar high for young leaders by speaking out, up and against all ills of the parliament.

The day will come when justice will prevail and favor will be given back to the people and those who fight and speak for the people.

Joe Wasia

Keep flying above storms, Sam Basil. PNG is with you. Though we are away from Waigani, we see you flying high. Your voice is heard from all over the country.

And that's great. Keep shinning because you are representing us, the poor Papua New Guineans.

Peter

More corruption has been highlighted in the censored report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Finance Department. This time the issue is the National Court Registry.

"The Commission has recommended that an independent inquiry be conducted into the operations of the Registry of the National Court to identify systematic failings and misconduct."

http://pngexposed.wordpress.com/

Papua Tauna

I fully support Sam Basil's comments. It is time PNGeans used people power to overthrow this corrupt Somare regime.

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