The National – Tuesday, December 14, 2010
SPEAKER Jeffery Nape has taken up his posting as acting governor-general at Government House, complying with one of the Supreme Court orders.
Attorney-General Sir Arnold Amet yesterday confirmed that Nape had taken over from Paul Tiensten who had been acting since last Wednesday.
Sir Arnold said his swearing-in as a minister, and the instruments signed for the appointment of Sam Abal as deputy prime minister, were in order.
He said last Friday’s court decision, declaring Sir Paulias Matane’s appointment null and void, did not affect any decisions or instruments that Sir Paulias had signed since June 25.
Sir Arnold said he would advise cabinet to recall parliament to appoint a new governor-general.
He said they would meet tomorrow to find a way to deal with the Supreme Court decision and for parliament to be recalled to conduct the election of the governor-general.
Sir Arnold admitted that parliament had made a mistake that had been corrected by the Supreme Court.
“There is no constitutional impasse.
“The government and cabinet will be advised on the implications and take the step forward as per the direction of the Supreme Court.”
Sir Arnold said the court ruling was explicit, unfortunately, the government did not pay attention that the normal term of office of the vice-regal came to an end on May 24.
He said, constitutionally, Sir Paulias ceased to hold office and, constitutionally, the speaker automatically takes over as acting governor-general.
“That was a mistake by parliament and we have been corrected now by the Supreme Court.”
He said that had been pointed out by the Supreme Court and the first thing was for parliament to re-elect a governor general, with nominations called under the standing orders.
“Is PNG facing a constitutional crisis? No,” Sir Arnold said.