May 28, 2019

PNG Parliament Speaker Refuses Opposition Motion

Papua New Guinea Parliament was in chaos this afternoon after the Parliament Speaker  refused the  Opposition's motion to remove him as the Speaker . In a raging debate over a motion, introduced by the Opposition Leader and prime minister nominee, Patrick Pruaitch to remove Mr Pomat from the Speaker's chair, Parliament erupted in a shouting debate from both sides with countless points of orders arguing the motion.

Rage was clearly visible among the MP's with even Petroleum Minister Fabian Pok openly swearing without any reprimand from the Speaker.


Patrick Pruaitch,  stood up as soon as  the speaker opened up question time and put forward the a request to  remove Pomat as speaker.

“I want to ask leave of Parliament… There are a number of motions that I intend to move. One of them is to challenge your position as a speaker of parliament.  I seek leave to move that motion.”

Despite the demonstration of  numerical strength on the Opposition side, the Speaker told Patrick Pruaitch that he was not going to entertain the motion on grounds that  Parliamentary standing orders did not have the provisions that allowed for the removal of the speaker on the floor.

Pomat told the house that  the  provisions  in the standing orders were silent  and that it was up to the speaker to decide if  such a motion was to be entertained.

“I can show you provisions for the removal of the Governor General. I can show you provisions for the removal of the Prime Minister.  But I cannot find the provisions for the removal of the Speaker. So If you can show me the sections under the constitution, then I will entertain it,” Speaker Pomat said.

The house then degenerated into  a chaotic shouting match between the beefed up opposition  and  a heavily depleted  Government side. Vanimo-Green MP, Belden Namah shouted at the speaker to entertain the motion.

“We are not here for you to dictate on the floor of Parliament. We are not here for you to be the judge.  There is a motion on foot. The vote has to take place. You have to entertain the vote,”  Namah said. “You are preempting a motion. If I were you, I would resign.”

The Speaker then referred to the standing orders reading out section 284  to show that  he could not be removed through what he called an unprecedented  request by the Opposition.

Later, after a lot of persistence, the Speaker  recognized  Madang MP, Bryan Kramer who accused the him of attempting to hold on to power.

“You quoted section 284:  ‘In any matter no provided for, the Speaker shall decide…’  There is a reason for that. It’s because of bias and you have demonstrated that bias. You can’t move against yourself. You won’t accept it. You have to accept [the motion] now,” Kramer said.

Another round of chaos erupted.  Tempers flared and  North Whagi MP, Dr. Fabian Pok, hurled abuse at an opposition MP who had interrupted him.

“You…wait! You wait!  We are setting a precedence here.  We will all not be here in parliament. If we do this, anyone who has the numbers will change the speaker!” Dr. Pok said.

Towards the end of the 45 minute period. The Speaker had lost control of the house.  He tried to invoke sections in the standing order to suspend the Parliament to 10am tomorrow.   But was later advised to suspend and recall parliament  until  the ringing of the bell.

EMTV/ NBC News/PNG Today
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