From PAUL OATES
A week is a long time in politics as they say.
Isn't amazing that Sir Mek is now reported as saying that the PNG Opposition was confused about the Malandina Amendment and didn't understand what was involved when they voted for the Amendment 83 - 0. This was due to the government rushing through the Bill he claimed? So now it is argued that the change to Section 12 of the Constitution allows further changes to the PNG Constitution but Sir Mek says no one said anything about that change when it happened.
Well blow me down. Could it be that no one understood previously, what they were voting for?
So to paraphrase a line from the film "Witness for the Prosecution" ; - 'If they didn't know then and they didn't know now, are they and have they always been unable to understand and properly vote on what's actually being proposed?'
Finally, I wonder what Sir Peter (emi no lus) highlighted in the Sepik Highway Trust Funds report in the article below? I also wonder who was in charge of the Trust Fund?
articles below from the National
Speakers agree on withdrawal and more debate, consultation
By THOMAS HUKAHU
VARIOUS speakers agreed yesterday that the proposed amendment to the Leadership Code that would weaken the powers of the Ombudsman Commission be withdrawn until proper debate and consultation were conducted.
At a National Research Institute seminar, Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek, chairman of Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) Peter Aitsi and Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta spoke in opposition to the changes.
Sir Mekere said despite the general feeling that the amendment was wrong, laws in general should be changed if they were going to benefit the public.
"Laws are not set in stone," Sir Mekere told the academics, students and workers and
staff from the Ombudsman Commission (OC) office.
"Laws should, at times, be reviewed and changed as long as those changes protect and promote public good,'' he said.
Lawyer Peter Donigi said in 2006, a change was made to section 12 of the Constitution which allowed Members of Parliament to alter parts of the Constitution.
He said in 2006, nobody said anything regarding that change.
Mr Donigi also pointed out that Parliament had the power to alter, but not amend.
He explained by using an illustration: "A house built can be altered by adding additional rooms, but the basic framework on which the house stands must not be changed.'
Former parliamentarian Sir Pita Lus urged the OC and TI-PNG to work effectively.
He also told public servants to do their jobs properly.
"Yupela gat knowledge tasol nogat wisdom (you have knowledge but no wisdom).
"Nau ol hevi i kamap, na kantri bai go we nau? (now we have corruption, where is the country heading?)"
While calling on the OC to perform its role, Sir Pita also produced a copy of the report on the Sepik Highway Trust Funds as an example of the kind of work that the OC needs to attend to.
Morauta calls for review
By ALISON ANIS
OPPOSITION leader Sir Mekere Morauta has strongly opposed the widely-criticised Ombudsman Commission proposed amendment.
He called on Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to withdraw the bill and set up an advisory group to assess the people's views on the amendment.
"Given the strong stand taken by the public and the difficulty in dissecting the proposed amendment to argue and support some, but not all of them, the Prime Minister should withdraw the bill on the first day of the next sitting," Sir Mekere told a public seminar at the National Research Institute yesterday.
"He should immediately set up an advisory group to assess the views being expressed by interest groups and the public."
Sir Mekere said the group must be wider than the Maladina parliamentary committee and could have Esa'ala MP Moses Maladina as its chairman.
Other committee members could be Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek, reputable constitutional lawyers and representatives from the PNG Council of Churches and the Community Coalition Against Corruption.
"Leaving it entirely to the parliamentary committee to review the amendment is like asking the inmates of Bomana to withdraw the bill on the first day of the next sitting," Sir Mekere said.
He said secretariat services to the committee should be provided by the constitutional development committee and the group's terms of reference should be confined to the amendment.
They should also report to the PM in three months, the Opposition leader said.
"Members of Parliament cannot ignore the opposition that is being mounted by
our constituents to the bill.
"We have to recognise these views and deal with them."
A panel of speakers including Sir Mekere, Mr Manek and Transparency International PNG chairman Peter Aitsi were invited to give their views on the proposed amendment to the Leadership Code and whether it was necessary or dangerous for PNG leaders.
Sir Mekere said he was among those who voted in favour of the proposed amendment when the Government, without any proper debate or briefing, tabled it on March 9.
However, since then, he has rescinded his stand after studying the proposal.
"I do not support the amendment after being made aware of the wider legal, political and ethical issues surrounding the proposed bill," he said.
Sir Mekere said the Opposition voted in support of the amendment in the last sitting because of lack of information and knowledge.
"The Government provided no detailed explanations and, true to its form, ambushed Members with the vote," Sir Mekere said, accusing the Government of treating Parliament like a rubber stamp without providing or allowing proper briefing and debate on the issue.
He also levelled the same attack on the Attorney-General, the constitutional development committee, Maladina committee and Ombudsman Commission (OC), saying they had left everyone stranded because of no accurate public information and clear explanation.
He said the Opposition had sought a meeting with the OC to help develop a position before the next sitting of Parliament.
Prominent lawyer Peter Donigi told yesterday's seminar that the Government could use the law to its advantage and pass the amendment next week. He said there were no specific provisions under the Constitution barring it from doing so.
PNG's last hope threatened, says Transparency International
THE Ombudsman Commission is the people's only hope for a better and transparent Papua New Guinea, chairman of Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) Peter Aitsi has said.
Mr Aitsi, who is also the co-chairman of the Community Coalition Against Corruption (CACC), said the people they spoke to during their awareness on the proposed amendment to the Ombudsman Commission (OC) law and its implications on governance have expressed great concern and deep anger.
"Most stated that the OC was their last hope.
"They have lost confidence and faith in police; and the Public Accounts Committee was seen as a 'toothless tiger'," Mr Aitsi said.
He said their lack of faith was justified given many recommendations and referrals from the various commissions of inquiries that remained unresolved to date.
According to Mr Aitsi, the public response was overwhelming and many spoken to were "sick and tired" of countless empty promises by the Government.
"They equated the lack of services directly to corruption and, thus, wonder why the Government and Members of Parliament were hell-bent on weakening the powers of the OC in the face of growing misuse and theft of public monies," he said.
Mr Aitsi said PNG faced the threat of descending further into regionalised groups serving narrow economic and ethnic self-interests or be split into regional groupings captured by megalomaniacs who dispensed "goods and favours" selectively to maintain their powerbase if its citizens failed to
abide, uphold and enforce the laws emanating from the Constitution without fear or favour.
"Moses Maladina (Esa'ala MP), in my view has not respected the process undertaken by the constitutional planning committee (CPC) of 1974 and has been contemptuous of the important role accorded to the OC by the committee," Mr Aitsi said.