February 6, 2019

PNG Supreme Court reference on vote of no confidence

A special Supreme Court reference filed by the Papua New Guinea Attorney-General Davis Steven seeking the Supreme Court’s opinion on the constitutionality of a vote of no-confidence (VoNC) will be listed for directions hearing today.

The special reference also seeks to have the higher court’s interpretation and determination of the constitutionality of the powers of the Supreme Court to adjudicate over parliamentary processes.

Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika will hear parties in the reference today before a date can be set for a full court hearing.

It is understood that the Speaker of the National Parliament will also be an intervener in the reference.

The Reference SCR 5 of 2018 was filed by Twivey Lawyers on Dec 3 last year and consists of 15 questions.

The first issue is “whether nominated Prime Minister must be from a party with most numbers?”

The two first questions deal with this issue given the Constitution and Integrity Law when read together require that after an election – as the party with the most members must be invited to form government, must any nomination of a new Prime Minister in a vote of no-confidence also be required to be from the party of the most numbers?

The second issue is on votes of no-confidence and justifiability, questions 3 to 11 deal with issues concerning justifiability and the procedures of Parliament and its committees. These questions arise from a recent decision of the Supreme Court on Jul 12, 2016, where an application pursuant to S18(1) of the Constitution by Don Polye displayed an exercise by the court over every aspect of the process in Parliament and its committees, to the extent of defining words in the Standing Orders and limiting in future the discretion of the Speaker, the Clerk of Parliament and the Private Business Committee contrary to the Constitution and Standing Orders.

This decision according to the referrer raises serious issues concerning the Supreme Court’s powers to interfere in the process concerning motions for vote of no-confidence....

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS/ONEPNG
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