TIPNG opens up on trio’s departure

National

THE resignation of Electoral Advisory Committee members is another indication of the state of the nation, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) chairman Lawrence Stephens says.
He said it was not the first time that nominees to important roles had felt compelled to resign rather than be compromised by failures of the institutions to follow due process.
Stephens said he respected their decision.
“Constitutional office-holders occupy essential, independent but often very lonely chairs,” he said in a statement yesterday.
“We (TIPNG) are disappointed to the learn that members of the committee have found it necessary to resign but respect their duty to do so if they are not receiving the information necessary for them to give fully informed advice.”
Stephens said the committee played an important role in advising the electoral commissioner.
“In fact the advice provided to the commissioner needs to be much broader than this source.
“Elected MPs should also be seriously consulted as should candidates not elected, members of the public service and the wider community,” he said.
Stephens said the committee was created by law to provide advice to the electoral commissioner and that it was a very sensible way to involve level-headed individuals in giving advice to a constitutional office.
He regretted that the committee was not activated before the 2007 or 2012 elections as it could have played a useful role.
Stephens said a lot needed to be achieved and this could have been done if the committee was involved.
Stephens said the TIPNG nominee had tried to get the committee started well before the 2017 elections so that it could help the commissioner.
“When we were finally recently asked to reaffirm our support we did so, looking forward to the commissioner taking advantage of its role,” he said.
“We also stressed the importance of advice being given on the basis of facts being presented with details of options considered.
“This would assist ensure that it was indeed providing advice and not simply being told of some of the decisions were being made.”
Stephens hoped the commission will embrace the resignation of the committee as a step in continuing to strengthen its role as an essential, proudly independent, corruption free and effective constitutional office.

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