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Opposition withdraws no confidence motion

In a sign that it is struggling for traction against a rampant Somare government, the PNG opposition has withdrawn a motion of no-confidence in the Prime Minister.

The decision came after Sir Michael Somare asserted his dominance over Parliament, mustering a comfortable majority of MPs to pass two bills creating Hela and Jiwaka provinces in the Southern and Western Highlands.

“We have withdrawn the motion because we do not have confidence in the integrity of the process being used by the government,” said opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta.

“We heard from reliable sources that [Parliament’s] private business committee will reject the motion, allegedly on some technical ground,” he said.

“We want the Speaker to tell us what we should do to satisfy the private business committee so we can submit a new motion that will conform to the committee’s requirements.”

The government abruptly adjourned its urgent recall of Parliament yesterday after just two days of a week-long scheduled sitting.


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Paul Oates

That's the real conundrum isn't it? Will the current PNG Opposition (if there is any chance of it holding together other than by promise of personal gain) be any different if it obtains power?

The intention of the PNG Constitution was to provide a number of checks and balances so corruption and dictatorship would not develop. The trouble was that the precepts of those who designed the PNG Constitution were hopelessly locked into a different set of societal rules. They just couldn't see that PNG was not in the same ballpark as so called Western democracies. Mind you, Western democracies aren't above corruption, maladministration and malfeasance either.

I like your idea of challenging Sir Mekere and his Opposition members to set the good governance benchmark now. If they don't, will they be any different in government to that of the current 'kitchen cabinet'?

After all, the method for legally removing a bad government is already in place. It's just that no one is apparently either knowledgeable enough or prepared to buck the system and use it.

Could it be that those responsible for correcting the mess don't wish to 'Cross the Rubicon' themselves and be prepared to be held accountable for what they have done previously or what they might like to do?

One way an ethical benchmark might work in the future is to declare an amnesty and a 'rule off and start again' date. After that date, the law would be equally applied to everyone. That is, a sunrise clause must be set into the 'statement of ethical determination' with an operation date after which all bets and deals are off. Trouble is, 'who will watch the watchers'?

Phil Fitzpatrick

However this current farce spins out the Opposition needs to make it clear that it will deal with the perpetrators if it wins office in 2012. A good election promise would be to initiate an investigation which includes input from the public, and then take those suspected of corruption etc to trial. A promise like this made now and repeatedy hammered into the public consciousness until 2012 may encourage some of the current MPs into reconsidering their current destructive activities.

Paul Oates

Hi Reg,

What is it about the current PNG Ombudsman that has prevented any decision about the Opposition's claims? Did the newly appointed incumbent sign a secret deal before he was appointed? Surely there has to be someone in PNG that has the 'guts, gumption and get up and go' to make it happen?

What will it take mate?

Reginald Renagi

What's happening with PNG's national parliament of late is very sad indeed. The real losers in this political debacle are Papua New Guineans. The government has undoubtedly lost the whole plot of properly running PNG's national affairs since it took office in 2002.

In addition, nothing has really improved in any substantial way to improve the quality of life for ordinary Papua New Guineans since then and in its second term of parliament.

The plain truth today is the national parliament has become very disfunctional with the government playing a key role in this. It consistently uses its greater numbers to either bulldoze bills containing some half-baked ideas that have not been thouroughly analysed, and without subjecting it through any real critical and rational debate by parliament.

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