O’Neill leaves for Russia, satisfied with parliament

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The National, Thursday 6th September, 2012

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill left yesterday for the Apec meeting in Russia, satisfied that the government had achieved its business over the two days parliament sat this week.
On Tuesday, the prime minister delivered his address to the nation, outlining broadly the government’s policies and five-year plan.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion tabled the much-anticipated report and recommendations of the inquiry into the sinking of mv Rabaul Queen on Feb 2, a tragedy which claimed 146 lives.
The government also announced the membership of permanent parliamentary committees, and Inter-Government Relations Minister Dion delivered a ministerial statement on effective service delivery to provinces.
“Since my appointment as prime minister after the general election, I promised to restore integrity and decorum to the house, and ensure house committees become fully functional and
carry out the tasks they are set up for.
“I also promised that the inquiry report into the mv Rabaul Queen disaster will be tabled so action is taken against those responsible for the loss of so many lives.
“That is what we have achieved this session,” the prime minister said in a statement.
“I have outlined our government’s policies and five-year
plan that will guide our development agenda.
“I am pleased that it has been well received by the broad section of our community.
“We have now tabled the inquiry report into the sinking of the mv Rabaul Queen.
“I will ensure the recommendations in the commission of inquiry report are implemented in earnest.
“We will punish those responsible, and put in place safeguards to ensure such tragedies do not occur again,” he said.
“We have also announced the membership of the parliamentary committees.
“These committees serve a purpose and we will
ensure they are sufficiently
funded and resourced so that
they deliver results.”
He said the suggestion by the opposition that the house was abruptly adjourned to stifle debate was ridiculous.
“It is a pity the opposition did not have a reply to my policy speech.
“They had the opportunity yesterday and today, but failed to outline an alternative. They have to shape up,” the prime minister said.
Among the prime minister’s delegation to Russia were Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato and Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Richard Maru.
Leaders of Apec’s 21-member economies would meet on Saturday and Sunday to discuss the theme “Integrate to grow, innovate to prosper”.
The Apec ministerial meeting started yesterday and would end today.
On the table would be Apec’s 2012 priorities which included the strengthening of trade
and investment, regional economic integration, food security and supply chains and innovation.