MPs should be in Parlt for sessions


A REPORT in The National (Tuesday, Nov 23 – Pg4) titled “Opposition protest late start, leaves Parlt chamber” has once again prompted me to comment.
Last Friday, Opposition MPs left the chamber after waiting for an hour for the session to start which is unexpected.
In the past, Parliament always started between 10am and 10.20am and later.
It has always been a Parliamentary practice that Government MPs provide numbers for meeting quorums and not the Opposition but are they both being highly paid by the taxpayers.
Twenty years ago, during our time, it was very active simply because Government, Opposition and party Whips knew their roles and responsibilities well.
Government and Opposition whips were well-paid positions but those MPs these days are failing to carry out their duties and responsibilities during any parliament sessions.
In our days, say 1992-2002, I was Pangu Pati whip and my party leader, Chris Haiveta, always called me during a parliament session to find out where all Pangu MPs were then I began call them to make sure they were present during the session.
During any Parliament sessions, the Deputy Speaker, leader of government business and Government Whip are duty bound to making sure that all MPs are in attendance and on timely manner.
All Members of Parliament are paid whether they attend sessions or not and many MPs don’t even care at all.
What am saying here is Government and Opposition Whips must make sure that they keep a registry of all their MPs, contact numbers and locations at all times for communication purposes.
Before, inside Government caucus room, former Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan always reminded his coalition party leaders to ensure their MPs were in Parliament on time and that is how it should be done today.
In comparison, this term of Parliament is worse because that is why there is not enough debates on matters of importance and government policies and, as a result, few Government agendas are being rushed through and passed.
Please also note that in the past, we, the State Ministers, were not allowed to take any Ministerial overseas trips, except the Prime Ministers and Foreign Affairs Minister, during any Parliament session.
Parliament sessions take precedence over any other electoral duties of an MP.

Samson C Napo
Former Bulolo MP

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