More limits are proposed on any no confidence vote in PNG
A move in Papua New Guinea to further tighten rules around votes of no confidence in the country's prime ministers.
Papua New Guinea's Registrar of Political Parties wants tighter limits on votes of no confidence.
There have been criticisms that the changes would reduce accountability but Dr Alphonse Gelu told Don Wiseman that their concern is the impact on PNG of the years of political instability.
ALPHONSE GELU: Because the way in which section 145 is put, the vote of no confidence that is done in Parliament is not against the government but against the Prime Minister. One of the things as Papua New Guineans that we must realise, is that our votes of no confidence are against the Prime Minister, and governments are affected, affected economic growth, and affected delivery of services in this country. For Papua New Guineans we cannot continue to dream or declare that we continue to allow this. It will greatly impact on the livelihood of the people of this country. So in the particular proposal, in the event that a vote of no confidence is successful against the Prime Minister, the nominee for Prime Minister must be from within the party that was invited to form the government after an election. At the same time we also included that in the event the party doesn't have the numbers, then the speaker will extend the invitation to other candidates as well as to other parties in parliament. So there is still this window of opportunity.
DON WISEMAN: What is your reaction to people like Don Polye who according to the Post Courier says these proposed amendments will breed corruption and protect thieves and deceivers or liars under the convenient disguise of political stability.
AG: I think that's a very good question. It might be another party that would be in power. That is the strength of politics in Papua New Guinea, when the first Organic Law came into place back into 2001, it was the National Alliance that was in power at that time...
DW: And that party retained power for nine years, and there are people thinking that the Congress is going to go the same way and have power for a long period of time. If the quest is for stability the country has it, doesn't it, does it need more?
AG: Yes, that's basically the opinion people are giving around it. Like, for us from the Registrar's point of view, I'm speaking as a public servant and a custodian of this office, we will speak by what we propose. Because what we propose is nothing Victorian, it's nothing draconian. What we propose is all in line with the consitutition. We do uphold the integrity of this office, we do uphold democracy as our system of our governance in this country. But what we are trying to address here is the situation where it's affected Papua New Guinea so, so bad that if you look at the state of services in Papua New Guinea because of this whole issue of continuous changes to governments in the country. From 1975 up until 2001 governments only lasted in office for two and a half years, and they spend all their time concentrating on playing the numbers game. They just forgot about what governments should do. So when we sat down to look at that particular situation, we decided that one of the most important things for us to try and maintain, stability, our target now is the political party under the new Organic Law. So that basically complements what we also are trying to do to the proposal to amend section 145. And that is it would allow political parties that have been given the mandate by the people. That mandate must not be disrupted by a vote of no confidence that ususally in Papua New Guinea is not justified.
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