The National, Tuesday 20th December 2011
LONE woman MP Dame Carol Kidu has questioned the validity and legal basis for laws whose effect are backdated.
Dame Carol used her own experience to state that she had been told quite categorically that laws could not be made retrospective.
When the Judges Pension Act was passed in 1997, two judges had died prior to the act being passed – former chief justice Sir Buri Kidu and Justice Cornelius. When Dame Carol tried to have the law backdated to cover her late husband’s entitlements, she was told the law could not have effect retrospectively.
She said this experience had given her serious doubt as to the legality of the recent amendment to the Prime Minister and National Executive Council Act which when applied retrospectively dismissed Sir Michael Somare for being away from office for three months.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, however, contended that laws can be made to take effect retrospectively. In an advertisement in today’s newspaper he says: “Parliament exercised its constitutional authority to amend and make laws. Such laws can be made before or after the events with which they are concerned. That legislation can be legally backdated. There is nothing improper or sinister in this process.”