O’Neill’s gift to new govt: Extraordinary economic mismanagement
Peter O'Neill re-elected as prime minister with comfortable majority

Is it constitutional to elect both the PM & Speaker today?

Sam KoimSAM KOIM | Facebook

THE combined reading of section 142 of the Constitution, the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates and Part II of the Standing Orders of the National Parliament shows that the following order of procedure has to be followed for the first two critical days of the 10th Parliament.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

  1. Members will assemble in the Chamber at the appointed time.
  2. The Clerk will read the National Gazette notification calling the Parliament together and the notification appointing the representative of the Governor-General to administer the Declaration of Office and Declaration of Loyalty. (This may be administered by the Chief Justice).
  3. Notice is given in the normal manner for the appointment of the Speaker and the Prime Minister.
  4. Parliament adjourns to the “next sitting day” which is Thursday 3rd August 2017 for the election of the Speaker followed by the Election of Prime Minister.

Thursday 3 August 2017

  1. Election of Speaker. When more than one Member is proposed and seconded as Speaker, the Clerk acting as Chairman of the Parliament will conduct an election by exhaustive secret ballot.
  2. Parliament’s decision on Election of Speaker is announced.
  3. Parliament will be suspended whilst Mr Speaker presents himself to the Governor-General and is sworn into office.
  4. Mr Speaker returns to Parliament and reports that he was duly sworn in by the Governor General.
  5. Parliament will proceed to elect a Prime Minister, or be adjourned for no more than 3 days.
  6. The nominee of the party invited by the Governor General to form government will be asked state whether he accepts the nomination. If he accepts the nomination, the voting of the Prime Minister Proceeds by dividing dividing and moving Members to positions indicated by the Speaker.
  7. If the nominee does not master the simple majority to form government, then Speaker will call for and accept nominations, duly moved and seconded on the floor of Parliament.

Parliament cannot elect the Speaker and Prime Minister on Wednesday 2 August. This is the first session/sitting day where notice is given. The voting of the Speaker and the PM has to occur on the next sitting day which is Thursday 3 August.

This is the correct interpretation confirmed by the Supreme Court in Haiveta, Leader of the Opposition v Wingti, Prime Minister; and Attorney-General; and National Parliament [1994] PGLawRp 197 (25 August 1994).

The main reasoning was provided by Amet CJ and Kapi DCJ (as they then were respectively), which drew unanimous support from the three other members of the bench. A relevant portion of Amet CJ’s reasons is reproduced as follows:

______________

APPOINTMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AFTER A GENERAL ELECTION: SS 142(2) AND (4)

Section 142(2) is a general enabling provision for the appointment of a Prime Minister. The operative provision is s 142(4). Section 142(2) simply states that the Prime Minister shall be appointed, at the first meeting of the Parliament after a general election and otherwise from time to time as the occasion for the appointment of a Prime Minster arises.

Section 142(3) and (4) provide the time frame and the order in which the principal formal business of Parliament on that occasion shall be conducted. As I have concluded that the consideration of election and appointment of the Prime Minister under s 142(3) shall be "on the next sitting day" following Parliament being formally advised, to render consistency of this interpretation to the same expression also in s 142(4), and for the avoidance of uncertainty, following a general election s 142(2) and (4) apply.

The election of the Governor-General, if necessary, the Speaker, and the Prime Minister shall take place "on the next sitting day" following the calling of Parliament. That is that, after Parliament is convened on the first day when the writs are returned and the new members are sworn into office, notice is given in the normal manner for the appointment of the Speaker and the Prime Minister, which are then adjourned to be considered and voted upon "on the next sitting day". This conclusion has the effect of over-ruling the case of Mopio v Speaker of the National Parliament (supra).

_____________

It will therefore be unconstitutional to elect both the Prime Minister and the Speaker on Wednesday 2 August when parliament meets for the first time after the general elections. It has to occur on the next sitting day –Thursday 3 August.

Comments

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Lindsay F Bond

So polarising as previous prime minister, the person Peter O'Neill has effect of emptying 'cross bench' sitting, placing even those who are justly cross, in alliance with those who claim as rightly their oppostion to leaderslip under a PO'N led ministry in control of the nation's finances and services deliveries.

Philip Kai Morre

PNG is in a real political and constitutional mess and needs international inventions like UN and Common Wealth Countries. Our democracy is under extreme anarchy and MPs are corrupted to reap the country. Election should be declared as failed election and others are not duly elected. False declaration is seen in many parts. In case of Gumine, Simbu province,Lucas Dawa Dekenai is duly elected and declared in front of election officials, security forces, and the people of Gumine and Simbu Province. How comes Nick Kuman is recognised as elected MP for Gumine by so called chief justice, commissioner Gamato and Governor General. who declared him and witnessed by who. The RO whom he named him (Peter somebody) died 3 months ago.

It is obvious that the government is corrupt including the court system and every body down the line. I am feeling the pain and our children will suffer more if we don't do anything now. Can we do something to protect our country if elected leaders can not do. they lived in paradise while we people are suffering.

Lindsay F Bond

Sad day for PNG.
Grandising of some election placements ahead of those not declared.
Gathering as parley at the Haus to agenda said at odds with Constitution.
Gazundering Constitutional intent for 'Equality and participation".

Lindsay F Bond

Let all take a deep breath. Appraise a pause with due order.

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