Committee’s power taken over : Speaker

The National, Monday July 18th, 2016

THE Supreme Court has served the powers of the permanent parliamentary committee on private business to declare the motion of no confidence to be in order, Speaker Theo Zurenuoc says.
Zurenuoc said the court in his view had taken over the powers of the clerk by ordering that the notice of motion be put on the notice paper without being formally introduced to the house in accordance with standing orders.
He said this in Parliament on Friday after Parliament was recalled as ordered by the Supreme Court and adjourned for seven days to consider a vote of confidence against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
Bulolo MP and deputy opposition leader Sam Basil, in notice number 295, moved that Parliament had no confidence in the prime minister and nominated  Kandep MP Don Polye to be elected as the next prime minister.
Zurenuoc said: “The Supreme Court orders were somewhat in my view, vague, ambiguous and open to all sorts of interpretation.
“The Parliament was put in a situation where the notice of motion for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister was to be introduced, then debated and finally voted on in today’s (Friday) sitting of the house.
“At approximately 11.30am (Friday), the chair received from the Supreme Court an ancillary order.
“As a direct result of the Supreme Court orders, the legislature has been forced to breach provisions of the constitution, the organic law on the calling of meetings of Parliament and the standing Orders.
“It is disturbing to note that the ancillary order was given pursuant to a newspaper article that was not dealt before with any court to verify the substance of it.
“The reasoning behind the ancillary order was that the speaker published in today’s (Friday’s) issue of the Post Courier, in Page 5 under this title, Order of the Day, for today’s sitting which provides for the tabling of the motion of no confidence, for the motion to be moved for debate, calls for the vote, taking and counting of the votes and announcement of the winner all in today’s sitting of Parliament.”