Bill on women’s seats deferred

National, Normal

COMMUNITY Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu is a furious woman.
She expressed her disgust that the bill to have 22 reserved seats for women in parliament was deferred until next year.
It was clear that there were some members of the government coalition who did not support the bill, either in its current form or in its entirety.
During a government caucus meeting, it was decided that because of disagreements, the bill to amend section 101 of the constitution would be deferred until March next year.
But, parliament was adjourned until May 10, and a furious Dame Carol questioned Speaker Jeffery Nape and leader of government business Paul Tiensten why they did not stick to the decision of the government caucus.
Government sources said a major coalition partner was not supporting the bill as well as many ministers of cabinet.
Dame Carol told The National outside parliament that there were some ministers who were not happy with the bill but, with the support of the opposition, she would get the required 55 to see the bill through the first session.
“For technical reasons, the bill has been deferred. I’m furious,” Dame Carol said.
She said she was also upset because, in the time-frame given, she expected parliament to resume in March but that had been put off until May, which may be too late.
However, she was optimistic that, with the support of opposition members, she would see the bill through parliament.
The opposition seized the opportunity to describe Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare of paying “lip service” to the women of this country.
“Today is a very sad day for women and girls who were looking forward to parliament dealing with the bill,” Abau MP Sir Puka Temu said.
Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta said the prime minister did not support the women’s bill because of his absence in the house yesterday.
“The prime minister was not there.
“The women of Papua New Guinea must know it is lip service as, in his heart, it is not there,” Sir Mekere said.