State seeks stay on motion

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By GYNNIE KERO and CHARLES MOI
THE State has requested the Supreme Court to stop the processing of a vote of no confidence in Parliament pending the determination by the court of a special reference on the matter.
The case was filed yesterday at the Supreme Court registry in Waigani by Twivey Lawyers on behalf of the State.
“It’s an application to stay the processes under the standing orders for a motion of no confidence pending the hearing and determination of the reference,” a source told The National last night.
Justice Minister and Attorney-General Alfred Manase is expected to explain today at a media conference the steps being taken by the State on the vote of no-confidence motion filed by Opposition MPs last week.
Speaker Job Pomat, who acknowledged the filing of the motion assured the Opposition MPs that it would be actioned.
The process will start with its vetting by the private business committee on Wed, May 29. If the committee approves it, then a notice of the motion will be issued to MPs, probably on Thursday May 30 or Friday May 31. Then it has to go through a mandatory one-week period before it is tabled in Parliament – possibly by Friday June 7.
The State, according to court documents obtained by The National last night, is claiming that it would in contempt of court if parliament’s private business committee deals with the Opposition motion filed last week when a determination on the reference was still pending.
It is asking the court to therefore stay the processing of the motion.
The reference pending in the Supreme Court was filed last year by the then Justice Minister and Attorney-General Davis Steven.
He had asked the court to clarify certain parts of a ruling it made in July 2016 on a vote of no-confidence motion filed by then Opposition Leader Don Polye.
In that ruling then Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, then Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika and Justice Colin Makail, in a unanimous decision, granted the application by Polye because Parliament had breached the Constitution by not dealing with the vote of no confidence motion filed by the Opposition.
Parliament had to be recalled to have it tabled and debated.
The vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was later defeated.

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