After observing how our MPs conduct themselves in Parliament over the years, it makes people like myself wonder whether the MPs know why they are elected and sworn into that house called Parliament.
Let me tell you the meaning of Parliament: A parliament is a legislature, especially in countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modelled after that of the United Kingdom such as ours.
A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend and repeal laws.
An MP’s utmost duty, therefore, is to the Parliament, which is why he carries a title “MP” for the five-year period he is in there.
An MP’s duty extends to researching and thoroughly going through bills, seeking appropriate and independent legal advise where necessary on the effects of the bill when it is passed, constructively debating the bill when it goes through its reading stages, and asking relevant questions during question time on national issues as a voice for the six million voices who do not have the same privilege because of legislative limitations.
This can only be achieved when MPs understand this duty and perform it and also when there is an impartial Speaker who acts as an umpire and facilitates constructive debates instead of hiding behind the curtains of parliamentary standing orders and privileges and allowing his political affiliations dictate Parliament sessions.
I am at a loss trying to understand why people spend so much money, resources, time and even loss of lives to get into Parliament yet they could not open their mouth and speak a single word during the five years.
One would think that they are there for either the perks and privileges or for the so-called disillusioned Papua New Guinean view of politics – “power”.
Parliamentary political power is the power to make proper laws for the country, and not as ornaments to attract public attention.
I have seen that most MPs know how to say “aye” without knowing why they are saying “aye” and then complain after the law is passed.
Is this a joke?
Are we playing games in Parliament?
Ironically, during debates, they do not open their mouths but when it comes to bringing their shopping list for themselves or their districts, they have the voices to speak.
All MPs must know that accessing their district funds is a right so long as Parliament had budgeted for it and the institutions such as Finance Department, Works, National Planning, etc, are there to facilitate that.
The Executive Government of the day should not manipulate these institutions to achieve their political ambitions at the expense of the people.
Parliament must become a forum where its true purpose is observed by all MPs, not for giggling, murmuring, or verbal crossfire on petty politics.
One does not need to be a political scientist to categorise that as an abuse.
I invite MPs and all intending MPs to revisit the pillars of parliamentary democracy before raising your hand to become one.
I also invite the Speaker and all intending speakers of Parliament to revisit the principles that dictate that very seat.
May I also invite you all to pay a visit and see how debates are conducted at Canberra on your way to the casinos or watch rugby at Suncorp Stadium before your continuous ignorance takes this country down the drain.
Lest you forget, the six million plus people of PNG are praying and counting on you.