By ISAAC NICHOLAS
A plot to remove Speaker Jeffery Nape came unstuck when Nape himself refused to entertain what appeared to be proper dissent on his ruling before the house.
The surprise move was sprung by the Opposition yesterday, and it appeared to have the support of many in the government side.
Mr Nape was shocked when straight after prayer led by Pastor Joseph Walters who was invited in to bless the session, Bulolo MP Sam Basil sought leave of Parliament to move a motion without notice.
Speaker Nape asked him to explain the nature of his motion which Mr Basil said was to move a vote of no confidence against the Speaker.
His move was quickly seconded by Lae MP Bart Philemon.
Realising what was going on, Mr Nape said the Standing Orders of Parliament does not allow vote of no confidence against the Speaker and ruled the motion out of order.
Goroka MP and government backbench MP Thompson Harokaqveh quickly moved a dissent against the Speakers ruling.
The three MP’s refused to take their seats arguing that the Standing Orders allowed the motion as there was somebody who seconded the motion.
New Ireland Governor and former Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan weighed in, saying there was a dissent on the Speakers ruling which needed to be entertained.
Parliament for the next 10 minutes was in total disarray as the Prime Minister, deputy Prime Minister and Ministers and backbenchers were taken aback and remained silent, mostly stunned by the surprise move to vote on the fate of the Speaker.
After consulting the Clerk, the Speaker said due process had not been followed and ruled out the motion and moved on to the next business of the day.
At a media conference later, Mr Basil said making a move on concerns raised over the last few months about the deteriorating state of affairs in Parliament.
“There are run down facilities, low quality food, air-conditions are not working and toilets are equal to public toilets outside Parliament.”
He said although Parliament is in this sad state, K300 000 to K400 000 have been spent on cutting down a single tree.
“The Speaker has the authority to spend and I believe he spent money recklessly.” Mr Basil said.
“Shame on him, he used his powers to block the motion of no confidence.”
Mr Basil promised to reintroduce the motion again to allow MP’s to test the confidence in the Speaker.
“There has been no air-condition for the last 2 years and I will still pursue this motion and asked government backbenchers to let us test the confidence of Parliament in him.”
Governor Sir Julius said the Speaker does not know about the Standing Orders and he has been ill advised by the Clerk of Parliament.
“He (Basil) asked leave of Parliament to move a motion and he has been ill-advised. “Standing Orders of Parliament has been breached today.”