O’Neill to present bill to amend Constitution on vote of no-confidence

National, Normal

The National, Thursday July 11th, 2013

 PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday gave notice in Parliament that he would present a bill to amend provisions of the Constitution on the vote of no-confidence proposal.

The bill will now go before the Parliamentary Constitutional Review Committee before being tabled and debated in Parliament.

O’Neill said the Government would allow a “proper and sensible debate to continue” on the proposed legislation and would not use their numerical strength to gag debate and bulldoze the bill through Parliament.

He said the amendment was in the best interest of the nation and necessary for political stability, which he said had been lacking since Independence.

He added that it was not his intention to hang onto power as the amendment would ensure political stability and good governance by future governments.

However, the Opposition again warned that the proposed constitutional amendment would weaken parliamentary democracy.

Opposition MPs said the amendment would restrict the rights of the citizens represented through their MPs by placing hurdles to the conduct of the vote of confidence.

“You do not legislate on stability in government. You earn it and that simply defines democracy,” shadow attorney-general and justice minister Dr Allan Marat told the house.

Outspoken Opposition and Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Tobias Kulang warned that the Government was tampering with the Constitution.

Kulang also called for a referendum on the proposed legislation with views of stakeholders such as the Law Reform Commission and the Constitutional Law Reform Committee.

He recommended that a second chamber or senate be established in Parliament to ensure checks and balances were carried out.