By REGINALD RENAGI
IT’S UNFORTUNATE that, since independence,
We desperately need to restore parliament to its rightful place as the people's house.
Papua New Guineans have unfortunately lost respect for a parliament that is supposed to make good laws for people and country.
This is because parliament and government have compromised PNG's national interest.
PNG needs a fresh new and uncompromising leadership to make things right by and for the people.
The future leadership must aim to create an improved system of government in which power is properly shared with the legislature, and the people instead of being concentrated in the office of prime minister and cabinet.
The PNG government must restore a significant, independent role to our parliament through this six-point plan:
1. Elect an independent speaker, who will not sit in a party caucus during the term of the legislature over which he presides.
2. Establish legislative committees in key policy areas with the power to initiate legislation, propose amendments to government legislation, and investigate and report on the progress of government programs in their policy areas.
3. Appoint a special legislative committee to ensure proper scrutiny and public discussion of government proposals in areas of national and provincial concern.
4. Mandate government to make comprehensive responses to parliamentary committee reports within a fixed time, indicating acceptance or rejection of the committee findings and giving reasons for acceptance or rejection.
5. Amend the Elections Act to require a by-election to be called within 60 days of a vacancy and held within 90 days of a vacancy.
6. Enable real public dialogue that can have a genuine influence on government policies and priorities.
It is time for the government to adopt an open legislative process to allow maximum consultation and improve the quality of PNG’s democracy.