Then National, Tuesday 11th September, 2012
By STARZA PAUL
KUNDIAWA-Gembogl parliamentarian Tobias Kulang says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill must stay in the country and allow for lengthy debates in parliament to defend his visions and policies.
Kulang said in Port Moresby yesterday the manner in which O’Neill “made a hasty escape without proper conduct and completion of the ninth parliament sitting shows that his statement to the nation is not his”.
“If he cannot allow for debate on his policies and plans then he must have borrowed all these from somewhere and the ideas and visions were not his,” Kulang said.
He said in the Westminster system of government, parliament should have been allowed to sit for four days but in the first sitting of the ninth parliament they only sat for only two-a-half-days.
He said such short sittings were uncalled for and not in the true democratic spirit.
“It’s very unhealthy when senior members with the prime minister run off like this, leaving behind no one to run this nation and people.”
Bulolo parliamentarian Sam Basil raised similar concerns, saying such overseas trips by government MPs were costing taxpayers dearly.
He said backbenchers travelling with the prime minister and his senior ministers must question why their voters gave them the mandate to represent them in the parliament.
“It is not for you to go relaxing and partying when the very people who voted you are suffering and in dire need of basic services such as infrastructure, health and education,” he said.
He challenged backbenchers to live up to the standard as leaders and not to be “briefcase carriers of senior officials in the government”.