The National, Tuesday July 16th, 2013
Fisheries Minister Mao Zeming, who is deputy leader of the People’s National Congress party, yesterday welcomed debate from different sectors of the community on the proposed amendments to the Constitution.
The government had proposed to amend the Constitution (sections 124 and 145) to make clear the minimum number of days parliament can sit in a year, and increase the number of days required (from seven days to three months) for a notice of a vote of no-confidence to be given.
The amendments also required one-third, rather than one-tenth, of members in parliament to support the notice.
“I’m pleased that people from all walks of life; professors of law, students, councillors, church and women leaders are debating the pros and cons of these amendments.
“It is not the first time the Constitution was amended to give the process more transparency and accountability,” Zeming said.
“About 20 years ago the Constitution was amended to extend the grace period before a vote could be moved from 12 to 18 months.
“Soon after the 2012 general elections, this parliament extended that grace period from 18 to 30 months.
“In 2000, the government of prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta introduced changes to the Organic Law which saw the creation of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC).
“These changes created a more stable political climate, allowing government to implement its policies, and giving investors more certainty to plan their businesses long term. The sustained economic growth PNG has been experiencing is a direct result of this.
“However, the Supreme Court unfortunately struck down vital parts of the OLIPPAC in 2010, declaring them unconstitutional,” Zeming said.