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‘PNG crying out for change’ say opponents as crucial vote nears

Sam BasilKEITH JACKSON

AS THE day dawns on the much thwarted and ultimately court-ordered no confidence vote in the O’Neill government, both sides have predictably expressed great confidence in their prospects of victory.

Papua New Guinea's deputy opposition leader Sam Basil (pictured) told Radio New Zealand International he believes the no confidence motion will be successful even though he didn’t know if his alliance had the numbers.

Basil said that with universities shut down by protests and other services threatening to strike if prime minister Peter O'Neill doesn't step down, the country is in crisis.

"I think the current situation in PNG is crying out for a change,” Basil told RNZI. “O'Neill is a fighter, he will not go down without fighting but we are very adamant that he has done enough damage to this country and he has to go.

“Papua New Guineans all over are now asking for the prime minister to step down."

The no confidence move is expected from the opposition when the PNG parliament sits this afternoon after the supreme court ordered it to reconvene to hear the opposition's motion.

The Polye-Basil opposition bloc has only 15 members in the 111 seat parliament but Basil believes it has a good chance of rallying a majority.

"In PNG politics it's always determined at the eleventh hour,” he said. “All political parties are talking to each other right now."

A high-profile member of the governing coalition, People's Progress Party leader Ben Micah, told the ABC he had already urged the government to find a solution to defusing tensions that have arisen over calls for the prime minister to stand down and which Micah said now posed “a potentially bigger threat to our safety and security."

Micah, whose party holds seven seats, did not say if he would be asking O'Neill to resign. But he said the government needed to respond to civil unrest before things got worse.

Opposition leader Don Polye said the opposition is confident of its motion to remove O’Neill and has immediate plans to address urgent national issues if it can form a government.

The opposition went into camp earlier this week and it is negotiating with other backbenchers and government MP’s to oust the government.

It will need at least 56 votes this afternoon to successfully secure the no-confidence motion.

Comments

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Johnny Blades

Opportunity knocks. Micah's defection could mean William Duma gets the Petroleum and energy portfolio again.

Daniel Kumbon

Judas Iscariot hanged himself when he saw Jesus Christ finally hanged on the cross. The disciple had betrayed his own master for a few silver coins.

Will our PM and members supporting him hang themselves when PNG finally falls?

Philip Fitzpatrick

This is the dispiriting thing Paul and Corney. If O'Neill is booted out he will be replaced by another corrupt incompetent.

To echo some others - society is not an economy, it's people. This emphasis on the economy in both PNG and Australia is incredibly depressing.

And Jack, many of PNG's problems stem from it being a Christian country.

Lindsay F Bond

Promised dough
Prominents know
though promises
don’t always goad
providence flow.

Michael Dom

Two examples of the classic Melanesian Christianity that gets us nowhere:

"PNG is a Christian country and many silent Christians have been praying for this country..."

"The public will not decide whether PM O'Neill remains the prime minister or not. They have already decided that in 2012 and are waiting for next general elections in June-July 2017."

The first view assumes that praying to God in silence is good enough to change the actions of man on earth. This is precisely why laws were made and why there is free will. Please study your Bible in a better translation than the KJV.

The second view assumes that political leaders can do whatever they want after they have been elected. This thinking is always wrong no matter how you try to defend, nor who tries to defend it, God-fearing Christian or heathen-bound-for-hell. I've not much more to say on this except, this view is embarrassingly prehistoric.

#PNG Stop praying. #justdoright July 2017

Paul Oates

So Corney, you have successfully 'fingered' the real issue. It's all about 'dough', promised or otherwise.

Jack Kamkam

We can only praise God for what he is doing for this country because he has the power and authority over everything, so leaders you have to know that the decisions you are about to make will reflect whether you have fear for the Lord or not.

PNG is a Christian country and many silent Christians have been praying for this country and one answer is the supreme court ruling to reconvene parliament to discuss this special issue of a vote of no confidence against the PM.

So leaders you must me true to our heavenly father, true to your people who mandated you and to your family and to yourself. Make the right decision for a better PNG.

Corney Korokan Alone

The public will not decide whether PM O'Neill remains the prime minister or not. They have already decided that in 2012 and are waiting for next general elections in June-July 2017.

If the opposition has a strong case against the government, they will demonstrate that with their numbers in parliament today at the floor.

If they can't, then the hollow argument about peoples' cries and supposed crises are not convincing enough. Most of these stemmed from shallow understanding and self-interests. They have been managed and will wither out.

PNG is not in crisis as we're lied to and led to believe.

We understand the myriad of challenges that, other mineral resource dependent countries (like ours) are going through these times given the global commodity prices - which the current opposition will do absolutely nothing about if they succeed.

So the current members in the government are under no illusion to jump ship, as their promised dough (by the opposition) for 2017's electioneering for a return are hard to be guaranteed.

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