PNG's Governor-general opens Parliament with a call for reconciliation | Pacific Beat

PNG's Governor-general opens Parliament with a call for reconciliation

PNG's Governor-general opens Parliament with a call for reconciliation

Updated 21 August 2012, 17:06 AEST

Papua New Guinea's 9th National Parliament has been officially opened by the country's Governor General, Sir Michael Ogio.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, members of the judiciary and the 109 MPs were present for the occasion.

Firmin Nanol reports, from Port Moresby .

Presenter: Firmin Nanol

Speaker: PNG's Governor General, Sir Michael Ogio



NANOL: It was a sign of reconciliation and unity amongst the three arms of government, as the Speaker, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, his ministers, members, the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and his judges sat together in the parliament chamber for the opening this morning.
The 9th parliament is headed by a new and credible Speaker, Theo Zurenuoc.
The three arms of government were caught in a political impasse following the removal of former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare by a group of MPs led by the then Opposition Leader Belden Namah and incumbent, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill on August 2nd last year.
The judiciary, the Police and Defence Forces were split with its own as these two political groups claimed legitimacy over the government and Prime Minister's post.
Governor General Sir Michael Ogio in his opening speech called for unity and reconciliation from both sides of the parliament.
Sir Michael says there must be reconciliation in order to promote good governance.
OGIO: We must now resolve to never repeat those difficult and challenging experiences. We must not our people through that pain, fear and uncertainty ever again. Instead we must take action to instil confidence in our people.
NANOL: The Vice-regal also called on the government to repeal bad laws which were passed by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his Deputy and now Opposition Leader Belden Namah to keep Mr O'Neill in power last year.
OGIO: In line with our desire to promote reconciliation and unity and to build respect and independence among the three arms of government, we will review the Judicial Conduct Act, the Supreme Court Amendment Act, the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act, and the amendments to the Prime Minister and NEC Act. We must also pass an act of indemnity and identify all persons affected as similar steps have been taken in other parts of the world.
NANOL: The Governor General says his office was also put under pressure by the two political factions seeking his endorsement. Sir Michael says he was caught with many legal advice as to whom he should have listened to and recognised as the legitimate prime minister and government.
OGIO: I was also a central figure in this political challenge involving the three arms of government. I was confronted with legal issues as to who to recognise as prime minister and where I should get advice from. And I'm happy to say that these challenges are now behind us for the better.
NANOL: That political impasse occurred when Sir Michael Somare took the election of Peter O'Neill to court, and the Supreme Court ruled Mr O'Neill's election on August 2nd 2011, was unconstitutional and restored Sir Michael.
But Mr O'Neill's team enacted certain laws to keep him in power until the 2012 national elections, where his party won 27 seats to be invited to form government.
Governor General, Sir Michael Ogio thanked the people for not taking sides during the political impasse and instead elected new leaders to form a new legitimate government in the 2012 national elections.
And he then officially opened the 9th national parliament.
OGIO: They could have taken to the streets to express their anger as we so often see in many countries and egg on each other. But they did not, instead they displayed patience and understanding and they left the political events to take their own course. For this we need to thank our people because the outcome could have been very different. It is my great privilege and honour to declare open the 9th national parliament of Papua New Guinea.
NANOL: The Leader of Opposition, Belden Namah was the notable absentee during the opening ceremony. The 9th parliament term will end in or around July 2017 when the next elections are due.
Firmin Nanol-Port Moresby.

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