By Lillian Sopera Keneqa – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Staff from the National Parliament met with members of the media fraternity to clarify any misunderstandings relating to the much-anticipated Vote of No Confidence against Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill. Parliament Counsel, Richard Whitchurch, explained the Vote of No Confidence has set processes to follow including a recommendation period, a one week notice of 7 days – a procedure that was avoided after Parliament adjourned.
At last week’s parliamentary sitting, Speaker, Job Pomat, confirmed that he had received the motion for the Vote of No Confidence 10 minutes before parliament sat. Following question time and grievance debate, parliament was adjourned on votes 59 to 50 in favour of the Government, to the 28th of May.
“It is vital that these processes are followed through.” Says Whitchruch, explaining also that there was no sitting on Wednesday and Thursday following that adjournment.
“Because there was no sitting on Wednesday, the motion couldn’t go before the Private Business Committee.”
That information was backed up by staff consisting of the Acting Clerk of Parliament, Kala Aufa, Acting Deputy Clerk, Basil Kambuliagen and Parliament Counsel, Richard Whitchurch himself.
Whitchurch said, “And therefore not going through them, and it is therefore not being put on the notice paper yet. So in a nutshell, it’s not going to be dealt with on the 28th. And we need you to understand that.”
“Which is a requirement as per the Parliament standing order.”
Parliamentary staff also clarified that seven days is the minimum constitutional requirement for a notice of no confidence on the notice paper, any time after that, the motion can be moved.
Whitchurch added: “A motion can be put on the notice paper for months and can run for months without being moved. It’s up to the mover.”
“A vote of no confidence doesn’t have to be done in 7 days.”