Martyn Namorong reports on the latest developments:
Following yesterdays mass public protest against the O’Namah Regime:
1) Speaker Nape has refused to entertain Prime Minister’s instructions for Parliament to consider rescinding motion to defer elections. But Parliament’s motion is not binding on Andrew Trawen who as Electoral Commissioner is a constitutional officer not subject to directions from Parliament in the regard of complying with the motion
2) The Supreme Court per Mogish, Kariko and Manuhu JJ found that prima facie, there was an appearance of unconstitutionality and illegality in the Judicial Conduct Act and stayed the act’s enforceability pending final outcome of the Supreme Court Reference by the Morobe Provincial Gavman
3) Consequently, suspension of Kirriwom J and Injia CJ pursuant to s 5 of the Judicial Conduct Act were stayed by the Supreme Court per Mogish, Kariko and Manuhu JJ pending a final pronouncement of the constitutionality of the Judicial Conduct Act. This effectively means Kirriwom J and Injia CJ can preside over the case of the Prime Minister’s legitimacy tomorrow.
In the Lawyers’ Offices
4) Parliament may now try to counter the Supreme Court’s move. But how? All eyes on legal advisors
Eoin Blackwell, AAP
Papua New Guinea’s electoral commissioner has approved a new election schedule but Speaker Jeffery Nape says the commission must recognise parliament’s vote to delay the poll by six months.
Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen on Wednesday issued a revised schedule to the five-yearly electoral program, with the polling set to begin as expected on June 23.
He said the schedule had been approved by Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio.
But Mr Nape, PNG’s enormously powerful Speaker, threw up a potential roadblock as he opened Wednesday’s parliamentary session.
He said cabinet alone did not have the power to overturn last week’s vote to defer the poll by six months and Mr Trawen must obey parliament’s order to defer.
“Parliament has been intimidated by (cabinet) and the judiciary,” he said.
“Parliament is supreme. (The) action taken by (cabinet) and the electoral commissioner is unlawful.”
Mr Nape said he was seeking legal advice over who had the final say on when PNG will go to the polls.
The Speaker’s statement came about two hours before Mr Trawen’s revised schedule was sent to journalists and less than 24 hours after Prime minister Peter O’Neill backtracked entirely from the vote to delay.
Mr O’Neill, with members of cabinet in tow, told protesters in Port Moresby on Tuesday that elections would go ahead as scheduled, backed by Mr Trawen, who has been a staunch opponent of the delay.
Mr Trawen agreed to a three week delay for the issue of writs but said the poll would go ahead as scheduled in late June.
The date of PNG’s five-yearly election has been up in the air for months, with parliamentarians saying they fear the poll will be unfair because of potential fraud in the electoral rolls.
At the conclusion of Wednesday’s session, MPs were invited to a briefing on electoral preparedness attended by Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga and Defence Force Chief Francis Agwi.
I would like comment on my MP’s six-month holiday in Australia. Why did Jeffrey Nape take a holiday when parliament is sitting? Is he a Papua New Guinea MP or Australian MP?
I am from Sinasina-Yongomugl in Chimbu and I want him to go home to spend his holidays. If he has a property in Australia, the people of Sinasina-Yongomugl would like to know where he got the money from. While he is enjoying life in Australia, his people are suffering back home as there is hardly any basic services. Roads are falling apart, education and health deteriorating, and the people are struggling to make ends meet.
I call on the Ombudsman Commission to investigate his books and also to find out where he got the money from to buy property in Australia.