Opposition recommends referendum

National, Normal

The National, Thursday July 4th, 2013


THE Opposition has forwarded three recommendations for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, his Government and the Parliament to consider as an alternative to proposing amendments to the constitution.

During a press conference at Parliament, Opposition spokesman and Member for Kundiawa Gembogl Tobias Kulang said before going ahead with the proposed amendments affecting the provisions on motions of no confidence and calling of Parliament, the Government ought to hold a national referendum to ask the views of the people.

He said the prime minister and ministers in the NEC wore two hats, one as law makers and the other as the National Executive. 

This is unlike many jurisdictions where the legislature and the executive were separated and did not sit in the same parliament to avoid compromise.

Kuang recommended that a national referendum be held for wider consultation to make amendments to the Constitution so it captures the views of the people and not just a few politicians.

He also suggested and recommended that the country introduced a second chamber, a upper house and a lower as in other countries like Australia to make the work of legislators impartial from influence from those with vested interest groups.

He said the Opposition also suggested that the country adopt a presidential system of government so the president is separate from the legislator as in the US so the Constitution was not toyed around unnecessarily like it was being done in the country to suit politicians’ greed.

Kulang stated that the country’s interest needed to be protected.

He said the Constitutional Law reform Commission was the body that should review laws as a mandated body in consultation with the people.

He said the proposed amendment was not only dictatorial but dangerous for the country and a violation of the Constitution.

The Opposition was calling on the Ombudsman Commission, the former prime ministers and the people of PNG to stand together to speak out as the proposed law was not in the best interest of the nation.