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PNG Speaker recalls Parliament
01:30 am GMT+12, 17/11/2020, Papua New Guinea

Speaker of the Papua New Guinea Parliament Job Pomat has recalled Parliament to sit today at 10am.
 
Speaker Pomat in a press conference Monday, said after his office found that the motion by Opposition Leader Belden Namah last Friday to adjourn Parliament to 01 December was in breach of the organic law on the Calling of Meetings of the Parliament.
 
“I am now informing the nation that Parliament will reconvene tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10am and all members of Parliament, wherever you are must return.
 
“If there is no quorum I may adjourn Parliament to the next day as usual,” said Speaker.
 
Pomat said a motion by Namah to adjourn Parliament to 01 December was incorrect.  
 
The Speaker further explained that under Section 2(1)(a)(i) of the Organic Law on the Calling of Meetings of the Parliament; only a minister can call for an adjournment and not any other member of Parliament.  
 
The Speaker also reminded the members of Standing Orders 43 which states, “A Motion for the adjournment of the Parliament may be moved only by a Minister, and no amendment can be moved to the motion.”
 
He further pointed out that Standing Orders 47 states, “A motion for the purpose of fixing the next meeting of Parliament may be moved by a minister at any time without notice.
 
Last Friday, a motion without notice was moved by Opposition Leader Belden Namah pursuant to Standing Orders after seeking leave of parliament, which was granted.
 
The motion without notice that was moved was an adjournment motion, to adjourn the Parliament to 01 December.
 
Pomat said after reviewing the ruling last Friday, his office had found that the motion by the Opposition Leader is in breach of the Organic law and standing orders.  
 
Speaker Pomat said this means Parliament is still in session.
 
“Some may argue and say that majority of the MPs have voted to suspend standing orders and adjourn Parliament but when you look at Organic Law on the Calling of Parliament, it states clearly that only a minister should call or seek an adjournment of Parliament.
 
“We can suspend Standing Orders in Parliament but we cannot suspend Organic Law,” the Speaker said.
 
When asked why this was not pointed out earlier in Parliament during the session last Friday, the Speaker went on to say that the Parliamentary staff including the Clerk of Parliament and Deputy Speaker were caught off guard.  
 
The Speaker said in the best interest of Parliament procedure and to uphold the Rule of Law, his conscience dictates that he overruled that decision by the Chair at that time.  
 
The Speaker also clarified that the motion by  Opposition leader Belden Namah to replace all members of the Permanent Parliamentary Committee is in order.  
 
NBC News is also seeking views from constitutional and political experts to ascertain this ruling from the Speaker.

SOURCE: NBC NEWS PNG/PACNEWS


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