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03 July 2014

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I think Bomai has not only explained the status quo in PNG but has also highlighted a travesty of similar nature that has befallen Australia.

There was prior to Independence, as Chris rightly pointed out on another post, a robust and reliable legacy of systems left to PNG to work with.

During the years following Independence, Australia too experienced the winds of change that shook the underpinnings of historic conduct of governance under the well defined models that developed over centuries out of the UK Common Law.

The passing of the Australia Act allowed the erosion of former notions of stability in the arena of Separation of Powers to evolve into the current estate where International law often takes precedence over national law.

The resulting conflict of laws is often dealt with by further legislation arising to counter the conflicts that traditionally were dealt with by courts availing themselves of the procedures explained by Chris in this post that gave enablement to jurisprudence that was not overridden by the legislature.

It wouldn't surprise me to find that the more recent products of electoral choice in PNG are themselves vassals or victims of the lassitude that has descended upon "democracies" the world over who now find themselves given over to globalist ideology.

Bomai Witne has pointed to a major flaw in how PNG's political institutions currently work.

Those of us born into mature and stable democracies typically do not understand much less care how the political system really works.

We just take it for granted that is does and will continue to do so.

Concepts like the separation of powers are not usually discussed over dinner or at the footy.

If discussed at all, the underlying constitutional and legal basis of democracy will only arise as a topic during a university lecture or, very occasionally, when an academic or lawyer goes on radio or TV to explain the fundamental "rules of the game".

It is a disheartening fact that, in Australia, at least one Queensland Premier, who governed for an uninterrupted period of over 20 years, expressed complete ignorance of the concept of the separation of powers.

Unsurprisingly, his government was, for a long time at least, regarded as the most corrupt in the history of this country, although the recently dumped Labour administration in New South Wales may yet be proved to have been even more corrupt.

What this brief history shows is that, to work properly for the greater good, democracy relies upon people adhering to both the written and unwritten "rules of the game", with the latter probably being the more important.

In fact, the "mother of parliaments" in the UK does not operate according to a written constitution at all. Rather, it relies for guidance upon following a series of legal principles and precedents that have been established over many centuries.

Most importantly, it relies upon the politicians, bureaucracy and the judiciary each playing their respective roles according to the well established concept of the separation of powers.

Without very disciplined adherence to this concept, inconvenient as it sometimes is to politicians, then the risk of what might politely be termed "role confusion" or, less politely, outright corruption, rapidly escalates.

As Mr Witne points out, PNG's fledgling democracy is in mortal danger right now because of an abject failure by politicians to obey inconvenient rules.

How the current imbroglio over Peter O'Neil plays out will provide a good guide as to whether PNG is a country where the rule of law prevails or if the country will inevitably become just another "failed state".

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