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Peter O’Neill is comfortable winner of no confidence vote

PNG parliament this morningKEITH JACKSON

FORCED by the Supreme Court to a parliamentary vote of no confidence yesterday, prime minister Peter O'Neill survived in his job by a comfortable 85-21 majority.

The vote came after two months of protests and demands by students, pilots, port workers, doctors and other health workers who had called upon O’Neill to resign over a long-running corruption case.

He has been fighting a warrant for his arrest on official corruption charges for two years, saying the allegations against him are politically motivated.

During debate on the motion, his government was accused of corruption, interfering with the processes of parliament and not listening to the people.

"To make the wrong decision here would be a mistake," he said. "Today it is up to us on the floor to make a change," deputy opposition leader Sam Basil told parliament.

Basil told parliament PNG needed change and under O'Neill's leadership the country had nothing to show from the riches that had flowed from the exploitation of its rich resources.

"Papua New Guineans are poorer today than they were at the start of 2014 because the prime minister's (corruption), mismanagement and unilateral decision making," he said.

He accused O'Neill of destroying PNG's economic base and government finances and of spending too much on unproductive infrastructure in Port Moresby.

In reply, the government accused the opposition of attempting to create instability by means of a “malicious” motion.

Morobe Governor Kelly Naru said it would be premature for parliament to throw out the government.

"We must exercise restraint, be patient and allow justice according to law to prevail in the case against the prime minister," he said.

"The prime minister remains innocent until proven guilty."

He argued the people will decide on the government's fate at next year’s election.

Former minister Ben Micah, who joined the opposition ranks just a week ago, said the government's days were numbered despite the vote.

"Today you can hold your numbers, but you cannot run away from the truth that your government is not going to last long," he said.

"And you know why it is going to collapse? Because it is full of men and women who are not telling the truth."

Micah said the government should not hide behind lies.

"Government has become oblivious, arrogant, insensitive to what our real responsibility should be," he told parliament.

Finance minister James Marape said he was concerned that PNG's image had been tarnished internationally because of the motion.

When the motion was voted upon and lost, Speaker Theodore Zurenuoc adjourned parliament until 9 August.

There is a heavy police presence in Port Moresby and some community groups are planning to continue civil disobedience and protest activities.

Sources: ABC, AAP


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William Dunlop

PNG's image was tarnished forever when O'Neill manipulated his way into office using the boofhead Namah.

Joe Digiben

Is the motion put before the floor of parliament on vote of no confidence on the Prime Minister Peter O'niel or to vote the alternate Prime Minister Don Poyle? The speaker needs to address this motion as it unfolds. The sole purpose of the parliamentary members meeting is to put a vote of no confidence on the Prime Minister. It is not to vote Don Poyle as the Prime Minister. It ought to be after the vote of no confidence, then the vote for alternate Prime Minister can take place. The manner in which this motion is structured and presented had impact on the parliament members who voted on the motion. Can somebody explain.

arthur williams

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!
From Les Miserables

Bernard Corden

oil nap kaikaim braun rais, tinpis na tapiok

Philip Fitzpatrick

Be interesting to see what happens next. It's certainly more interesting than the ho-hum stuff in Australia we seem to be looking towards.

And now there appears to be a viable opposition. That might make a difference. Unless the members now start abandoning the opposition and go back to the honeypot.

Jeffrey Mane Febi

Thank you Messrs Mynnchii Kipefa, Bire Kimisopa and Johnson Tuke, eastern Highlands MPs.

You heard our cries for a change! Individually you won even while losing the vote of no confidence today.

Keith Jackson

If any reader has a list of those MPs who voted for, against or who abstained from the motion of no confidence, I'd appreciate if they could send them to me for publication - KJ

Bernard Corden

Well done Keith,
I wonder if the management at the Alotau resort would forward a copy of accrued expenses during their recent sojourn

Bernard Corden

Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.....

As Marie Antoinette famously said, oli nap kaikaim biskit - KJ

Moais Gabuar

I just have this strange gut feeling that the worst in civil disobedience is yet to come. Stay braced PNG.

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