The National, Friday, May 20, 2011
By JEFFREY ELAPA
PARLIAMENT is a dead organ that needs to be dissolved immediately to allow for a fresh election, the opposition said.
In a press conference soon after parliament adjourned yesterday, former opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta said all leaders needed to “take measures to resuscitate the legislative arm of government for the benefit of the people they represent”.
Sir Mekere said parliament was not working as it continued to be adjourned.
They blamed the government for not providing the numbers to allow the quorum for important bills listed on the notice papers.
They feared that important enabling legislation for the Hela-Jiwaka Transitional Authority, the boundary commission report and other important bills were likely to fail.
They said the government failed to provide the numbers as a result of the infighting within the ruling National Alliance party over its leadership.
The opposition feared the bill to reserve 22 seats for women was likely to fail as there was not enough time for it to be debated before the next election.
Sir Mekere challenged acting Prime Minister Sam Abal to have some control over the movements of his members.
“They are like cowboys. While he is in office they are fighting for the office. It is a failure of basic human consideration and respect,” he said.
Former deputy prime minister and member for Abau Sir Puka Temu said many outstanding bills needed to be passed and the government must provide the numbers to needed for a quorum.
He said that the opposition would support some of the important bills and the government should not continue to leave the seats empty.
He said that the speaker needed to be changed as he was always gagging parliament.
“He is not playing the game right. This is the worst speaker we have had so far, he is a laughing stock,” he said.
Deputy PNG party leader and member for Anglimp-South Waghi Jamie Maxtone-Graham said on Wednesday there were only 16 ministers and even fewer yesterday.
Parliament was adjourned to 10am today after many seats in the chamber were left empty.
This is the second time the parliament has adjourned because of a lack of quorum after starting its sitting last week.