O’Neill warns Somare of arrest

National, Normal

The National,Thursday19 January 2012

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has warned that leaders who bring shame to parliament will face contempt of parliament charges.
“If (Sir Michael Somare) continues to disrupt parliament, he will be arrested.
“Sir Michael is not above the law,” O’Neill said yesterday following a surprise visit to the chamber by Sir Michael and a group of MPs.
O’Neill indicated that Speaker Jeffery Nape would tighten up security in parliament to ensure such a “disgraceful and shameful act is not repeated again”.
He made the comment after the Somare group promised to interrupt parliament for the rest of this month until they were allocated their “rightful” seats by Nape.
“I call on (Sir Michael Somare) to stop this act of desperation. He must respect the fact that he led the government with a majority and a lot of members have left because they no longer have faith in him,” O’Neill said.
He said parliament’s business was disrupted by “this shameful act and the Grand Chief must realise that he is no longer a member of parliament”.
He said suspended MP Arthur Somare was in the chamber too which was illegal.
“This kind of behaviour goes to show that they think they own this parliament,” O’Neill said.
“The general election is three months away and I ask them to go back to the people to seek their mandate.”
O’Neill said many MPs on the Somare side did not condone the antics in parliament yesterday.
“They are trying to sabotage parliament.
“They will be dealt with through the parliamentary process. I urge them to think before involving in such acts.”
O’Neill urged the two factions to work together, including getting one of Somare’s MPs to move a motion to rescind the motion to disqualify the Grand Chief for him to return to parliament.
He said the Supreme Court decision of Dec 12 had been superseded by events in parliament and, if the Grand Chief wanted to challenge that, “he can go back to court”.
“The acts played out on the floor of parliament are to get attention at any cost, even to the country.
“I am sure the speaker will make necessary security arrangements.”