The National, Thursday 25th April 2013
By ABIGAIL APINA
THE integrity of the national parliament has eroded over the years partly because of the misunderstanding of the true role of parliament, says Transparency International PNG.
A presentation by TIPNG recently in Kokopo highlighted that people view the role of MPs as “project managers” instead of “policy makers”.
TIPNG’s researcher on open parliament initiative John Varey said there was little community or school-based civic education on the role of parliament throughout the country.
He said this had resulted in the formation of the open parliament initiative this year which was funded by the European Union, and was now being implemented after a MOU was signed last Monday with Speaker of Parliament Theodore Zurenuoc.
The aim of the open parliament initiative is to help leaders communicate what they are doing, provide a platform for citizens to understand the role of parliament, increase awareness of the functions of parliament, its committees and proceedings, and support the speaker’s agenda to restore, reform and modernise the national parliament.
TIPNG has prioritised collecting information on official activities of MPs to compile a database, put these information on a website, link database to phone network which will also allow SMS access, assist parliament prepare annual report on the whole of parliament, and utilise the media in disseminating these information.
He said the initiative would inform the public on the work of the parliament and it would provide factual information.
He added it would also have an oversight body including a representative from parliament and would benefit all voters, MPs and the media.
Varey said the main requirement of initiative was timely access to public information.
“This will also promote transparency and accountability in the work of parliament,” he said.