Crisis in House

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James Marape

PARLIAMENT passed the 2021 national budget yesterday with more than half of MPs including the Opposition absent from the chamber, assuming it had been adjourned to Dec 1.
Opposition lawyers could not obtain a stay order from the court in time to stop the Parliament sitting yesterday morning but will challenge the legality of it later.
Speaker Job Pomat, after reviewing the laws governing the calling of meetings of the House on Monday, ruled that a motion passed last Friday to adjourn to next month, was wrongly entertained.
He therefore recalled Parliament yesterday, catching the Opposition MPs who left last weekend for a camp in Vanimo, West Sepik, by surprise. They were still in Vanimo yesterday.
Prime Minister James Marape, backed by 50 MPs including himself, welcomed the passing of the 2021 national budget saying the work of governing the nation must continue.
“It is time to finish the year and pass the budget for a new year. I am still PM leading this government and have been leading for 18 months. It hasn’t been easy,” he said.
“There are debts we are trying to clean and get loans that have less interest like the Australians have given.
“The IMF, ADB, World Bank, Japan are assisting this country. We are trying to clean the debts we have incurred over the last couple of years.”
Lawyer Phillip Tabuchi of Young and Williams lawyers representing the Opposition said an application for a stay order had to be withdrawn around midday as Parliament was already sitting by then.
Justice Derek Hartshorn in the Supreme Court agreed to withdraw the application and had the substantive matter adjourned to the registry.
Tabuchi said: “The application for injunction to restrain this morning’s (yesterday) sitting had to be withdrawn because the events had overtaken the application. We will reconsider legal avenues and take it from there.”
Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill described yesterday’s Parliament sitting as illegal.
“Last Friday, 57 members voted to adjourn Parliament to Dec 1. If the Government has the numbers they can pass the budget on Dec 1,” he said.
“Unfortunately, they knew that more than half of MPs are out of Port Moresby and not able to attend Parliament.”
He accused Marape and Pomat of “making a mockery of our parliamentary system, the mandates of our people, the democracy that they have enjoyed for the last 45 years”.
He said any MP could move a motion for parliament to be adjourned.
“In fact (last Friday), Belden Namah moved a motion to suspend Standing Orders. When you do that, it means Standing Orders do not apply,” he said.
“The 57 members gave him (Namah) that authority to suspend standing orders.”
O’Neill said they were redrafting the application to the court to declare the sitting illegal.
“Today they (Government) were trying to pass a budget which is not printed. It is illegal. Why the rush?”


  • History repeating itself, remember PM Wingti’s snap resignation n re-election the next day in 1993 I think.

    The court eventually ruled it illegal n Sir J was elected PM in 1995 if I am correct with the years.

    The opposition followed procedure by suspending parliamentary standing orders
    They adjourned parliamentary seating to 01 Dec 20.

    The govt thought they can collude with speaker proper n recall parliament disregarding the events of parliament last week presided over by deputy speaker.

    Our legislative arm of govt is in crisis. I am hopeful the judicial arm of govt will resolve that crisis as in the 90s.

  • Payback time. When Grand chief Sir Michael Somare was in hospital and the NA Government was power, Belden Nama and O,Neill formed alliance with other members and use the Parliament House to exercises the powers to topple the Somare /Abel Government. Guess what? The NA led team was at Konedobu Haus while the O,Neill, Nama faction were locked up at the Parliament House. One faction claimed to have legitimate power at Konedobu Haus whilst the other use The Parliament House to exercise powers on the floor of parliament. History will repeat,,,,

  • Marape is desperate to hang on to prime minister post despite claiming it is not his birthright.
    He said bring it on and now he is running.
    He will run out of breath when courts make Parliamentary sitting on Monday illegal.

  • PMJM is highly educated and smart. He can read the law books that govern the process and procedures involved in managing Parliament meetings. The deputy speaker erred and was made right in the recalling of Parliament that passed 2021 budget. The quorum to pass laws is 37. The government has the right/power to recall Parliament to deal with urgent matter, such national budget. The court is highly likely to agree to recalling of Parliament in favor of government lawful. Oh by the way WD is back in government and the government numerical strength is expected to increase to 58 over the coming weeks. Parliament is adjourned to 21st April 2021, the Vanimo camp is expected to be break up which provide the opportune time for PMJM to negotiate for 12 ministerial portfolios left vacant by renegade ministers. Hence, PMJM and his government including our smartest governors such as Allan Bird, Garry Jufa and Peter Numu at the moment are smart, they are following all the rules of law that govern our system of government. They are in control and will ensure going forward into 2022 with PMJM and Pangu.

    • Strongly agree with you Erupe, however since the matter is before the court, let’s just wait and confirm the outcome of the court on Monday.

  • The reality to those heading the opposition for PM post , are frankly irrelevant.
    Has nothing but contempt for the values and norms that are essential to democracy among them truth and dignity completely disagreement in any of their philosophies as national leaders.

  • My tiny piece of advise to Hon PM Marape, when you next fill in the decommissioned ministerial portfolios, make it a condition that these portfolios be given only to MPs that resign from their current party affiliation and join Pangu Party to increase your numerical strength. Increase your numerical strength to ensure you have the numbers going into 2022 election.

  • only the unprincipled will dare to return to PMJM. it happens everywhere when the unprincipled are lured to high positions. they are captains of ships which have no anchors. they go where the wind blows them to.

  • Common sense dictates that:
    1. The opposition will NOT make miracles in the short time remaining before the next national general elections.
    2. The damages related to the political instability perpetrated by Nama last Friday far outweigh any gains to PNG and it future.
    3. History shows that third world resource rich countries in Africa and other parts of the world faced similar challenges in thier governments. We probably are witnessing the greed of foreign interests unfolding before our eyes now. The opposition MPs should really thing about the future of this country. Please allow PMJM to ensure we benefit well from our natural resources and create a better future for PNG.

    • James, I kind of agree with you in your points. The current scenario played by the opposition is suspicious, as said by many in the other forums, it is highly likely, the elite few leading the opposition are serving foreign investors (likely resource extraction giants) interest. They are using the saying “Peoples’ Interest” as a smoke screen to lure MPs and dismantle what the current government is doing for the greater good of this country. This government is one of the few sensible one I came to realize in this 18 months of their existence.

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