Sir Arnold: O'Neill still PM, only parliament can appoint caretaker

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th when Parliament sits, Peter O’Neill will  still be the Prime Minister despite a widely publicized announcement. Former Chief Justice, Sir Arnold Amet, says Peter O’Neill’s announcement of his intention to ‘step down’ has no effect and he is still Prime Minister until parliament chooses a new person to take over. Sir Arnold who was watching the day’s events said various  aspects of the move were legally wrong. “The suggestion that  Prime Minister can  appoint a  caretaker PM or acting PM is wrong and unconstitutional.” That’s because it is the job of parliament. Under section 146 of the Constitution, a Prime Minister’s resignation is tendered in writing to the Head of State.  But even upon the Governor General’s  receipt of the resignation, the incumbent  Prime Minister remains in office until parliament appoints a new Prime Minister. This means Sir Julius Chan has no legal standing to perform duties as caretaker prime minister. Another sticking point which will  possibly see Peter O’Neill hold on to power is the fact that the law does not put a time limit on when he should  tender his resignation. “An announcement that the Prime Minister intends to resign has no effect until such time when he actually tenders his resignation in writing,” Sir Arnold said. “And that could be any time. There is no time limit.” While it is the Prime Minister’s prerogative to appoint a deputy, Charles Abel still has not been officially decommissioned as Deputy Prime Minister and Basil has not been sworn in as his replacement.  This means, Charles Abel is still Deputy Prime Minster until  Sam Basil is sworn in by the Governor General.]]>

Scott Waide

is the Lae Bureau Chief and began his career with EMTV in 1997 as a News and Sports Reporter and Anchor and has been a media professional for over 19 years. Having previously worked as a Producer and Researcher for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Port Moresby Bureau, he is a recipient of multiple awards including the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union Prize in 2005 in Iran for best news feature, the Pacific Island News Association Award and the Divine Word University Media Freedom Award.

Scott Waide
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