PARLIAMENT has now become a rubber stamp for the executive government, according to Jamie Maxtone-Graham, chairman of the bipartisan parliamentary committee hearing evidence on the May anti-Asian riots.
Mr Maxtone-Graham, who is Anglimp-South Waghi MP, was appointed to lead the inquiry and report to Parliament by the end of year about what caused the riots.
“Disbanding the committee will not resolve the problem,” he said yesterday when reacting to The National report yesterday that it would be disbanded.
“We have a lot of parliamentary committees sitting idle, unable to perform their roles as provided for under Parliament Standing Orders,” Mr Maxtone-Graham said.
“Parliament is dead.”
He said that parliament should be alive with these various committees performing their roles and functions.
Mr Maxtone-Graham said committees were healthy for democracy as was happening in democratic nations around the world.
He said committees provided checks and balances on Government’s own weaknesses, on how funding were used and non performance.
“Sadly, we are coming to a stage where the Government does not want to be checked on.”
Mr Maxtone-Graham said when his committee was set up by parliament, no funding was forthcoming for four months “and it was becoming ridiculous to conduct its inquiry”.
He said with the funding assistance provided by the Speaker, they had started the investigation.
“Now, when we are doing some work, we are uncovering weaknesses in the Government systems that are allowing illegal people into the country.
What we are doing is for the good of the country. We are not playing politics,” he said
Mr Maxtone-Graham said successive Governments had failed to provide sufficient funding for State agencies.
He said the Government’s own weakness had allowed the problem to get out of hand.
“I want to complete my task and report back to Parliament, and then I will be satisfied,” Mr Maxtone-Graham said.