O’Neill wants parliament to repeal controversial laws

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The National, Wednesday 19th September 2012

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill wants parliament to repeal five controversial laws the previous government he led introduced last year.
“The coalition government that I lead now has agreed to correct the wrongs of the recent past by repealing these controversial laws.
“We have done so to restore confidence in the judicial, legal, political and administrative systems and processes established by the Constitution,’’ he said in a statement.
The controversial laws include the Judicial Conduct Act 2012, Supreme Court (Amendment) Act 2012, Parliamentary Powers and Privileges (Amendment) Act 2012, Prime Minister and National Executive Council (Amendment) Act 2011 and Prime Minister and National Executive Council (Amendment No.2) Act 2011.
The past parliament passed the legislations when the government led by O’Neill and Belden Namah was confronted with various Supreme Court rulings testing the legality of his regime. The most significant one was the inference that Sir Michael Somare, the man they had deposed on Aug 2 2011, remained the legitimate prime minister.  
O’Neill said in a recent statement the repealing of the laws would give effect to the current government’s policy on a legislative programme for unity and reconciliation as announced by the governor-general on Aug 21 when he opened the ninth parliament.
It also gave effect to the Alotau Accord agreed to by the coalition partners of the current government, O’Neill added.
“We believe this will protect and prevent any erosion of confidence in our judiciary, parliament and the executive government.
“We have moved on from the events of the past 11 months since Aug 2, 2011. We believe the wider community out there expect us to do this.
“As prime minister, I am firm in my resolve to restore and instill confidence in the rule of law and operation of our constitutional democracy. With this decision, we are moving decisively in that direction.”
He signed the NEC decision before leaving for the Apec meeting in Russia last Wednesday.
The repealing of the laws will be tabled in the next sitting of parliament.
Namah and some of his colleagues in the previous government are now on the opposition benches.