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Transparency International warns of unrest

Transparency International PNG says it fears there'll be social unrest in the country if some highly anticipated legislation is not passed before next year's general elections.

They include the creation of 22 reserved seats for women in parliament and the creation of two additional constituencies of Hela and Jiwaka in the highlands.

President of Transparency PNG, Lawrence Stephen said this while commenting on the sudden change of government.

“Everybody was taken aback,” he said. “On the one side, people are in need of a change. There was a sense in the country that things are not just working properly, not just to do with the prime minister being ill, but to do with a whole attitude that seemed to be developing where the leadership was not this apparently responding well.

“On the other side of it, it seemed to be very sad and possibly illegal for this sort of move to take place in the way it did and, when we watch as the speaker simply refused to listen to anybody other than the people here who now support him, that became even more disturbing.

Mr Stephen said he wondered whether the government could deliver on the most urgent pieces of legislation.

“Clearly the women's groups are hoping to see this law [for reserved seats] go through the parliament, but in past experience, when people are deciding the priorities of the parliament, they tend to put some things last and that seems to have been one of the things that drops off the agenda.

“The new electorates are extremely important, in particular, the new electorate of Hela, because many people who are looking at this as an opportunity for decisions to be brought closer to the people, power to be distributed in other ways and we can expect all sorts of social unrest if things are not handled quickly and carefully.

“The Jiwaka province is also a potential worry,” Mr Stephens said.

“Unfortunately, the reality for Papua New Guinea is that we have many things hanging over us and tend to postpone the important decisions and important actions until things break apart.”

Source: Radio Australia


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Martyn Namorong

Thanks TIPNG. I just wish you were a lot more vocal about these issues prior to and during the May sitting of Parliament. These legislative reforms were to be addressed during the that sitting.

I also discussed this issue, last month on PNG Attitude.

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