THE National Council of Women acknowledges the work done by the parliamentary committee on gender-based violence in addressing the pandemic of violence in Papua New Guinea.
We are happy to note that this committee has included the proposal to re-introduce temporary special measures (TSM) for the inclusion of women in Parliament.
We thank the Government for this consideration.
The council is not against any TSM.
However, the council is asking Prime Minister James Marape to explain the rationale for the five regional seats.
Why is the Government dividing and merging the Papua and Highlands regions to create a fifth regional seat?
What is the legislative and governance structure of this arrangement?
Where is the proposed bill for this concept?
Why is it not available for public perusal?
Administratively, how does the regional seats concept work?
What are the boundaries?
What electorates will these seats cover?
Do we have a supporting bureaucracy for the administration of these seats?
Based on current existing TSMs in our country, the three reserved seats are in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and the two in the Motu Koita Assembly, which are covering a wider constituency.
How will the five regional seats with a large constituency be practical for women representatives to do justice for those they are expected to represent?
What is the budgetary consideration for these constituencies?
Is there an estimate available to the public to make comparison for both the 22 reserve seats and these proposed five seats?
If we do not have such estimates, how can we justify such a proposal?
We note that the special parliamentary committee on gender-based violence has a significant and important role to play in addressing GBV.
We want to know why the significant agenda of the lack of women representatives in parliament and decision-making is addressed by the parliamentary committee.
If the Government is serious about the well-being of its citizens, especially women and children, we strongly recommend separate permanent parliamentary committees for the purpose of addressing these two issues.
Increasing women’s representation in Parliament deserves special attention and should have a separate permanent parliamentary committee as should the permanent parliamentary committee on gender-based violence.
This is Government’s third attempt in providing a legislative framework for women’s political representation in Parliament.
Can the Government guarantee us, the women of Papua New Guinea on how you plan to ensure that this proposal works?