Sir Salamo Injia to Chair Parliament’s First Business
The surprises keep coming as our 9th Parliament prepares itself to meet for the first time this Friday.
Last Friday, upon issuing the notice in the National Gazette, the Governor-General signaled that it was more likely than not that the Parliament would sit without a full house.
Although allowable under PNG’s Constitution, this situation has raised some understandable doubts in the mind of the public and also contesting candidates as to the reasons why parliament will sit without all Members being present. Furthermore, PNG Party leader Belden Namah has since registered a legal challenge to stop parliament meeting tomorrow.
In another surprise move, care-taker Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has also requested via Governor General Sir Michael Ogio, that Chief Justice Sir Injia Salamo preside over the inaugural session of the 9th Parliament – up until the election of a Speaker.
Standing Orders of the National Parliament dictate that the Clerk of the National Parliament, or in his absence the Deputy Clerk and then the First Clerk Assistant, are to perform the duties of the Office of the Clerk – which includes Chairing the first session of a new parliament – until Members have voted a Speaker.
Peter O'Neill has effectively asked CJ Sir Injia Salamo, the man he helped arrest, to now step into Parliament's sanctuary. Incredible #PNG—
(@Tavurvur) July 30, 2012
It’s an interesting move which has a number of implications.
Firstly, it appears that Peter O’Neill has offered an olive branch to Sir Injia Salmo in terms of the Executive and Judiciary dispute which dominated much of national politics earlier this year – which climaxed with the retraction of the Judicial Conduct Act 2012 – but still ended with the Chief Justice being arrested by Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah.
Secondly, Sir Injia Salamo has also appears to have approved the roundabout suggestion for peace by accepting the request to Chair the Parliament’s first matters of business – including the declarations of loyalty and the election of a Speaker – until a Speaker sworn in.
Although this is a positive sign for future relations between what looks likely to be a Peter O’Neill mandated Executive and the Sir Salamo Injia led Judiciary – it does beg the question of confidence in the Office of the Clerk of the National Parliament, and the powers, functions and duties that Office holds.
Thirdly, will the inclusion of Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia have any effect on the discussion and outcome of the 9th Parliament’s first items of business in its first session?
Felix Koddy (@fkoddy) August 02, 2012
With Belden Namah still adamant that PNG Party has a chance to form government, or at least make a prime minister, the development from today up until the Parliament sits tomorrow at 10am will be crucially important to how our government will look like come the election of PNG’s next Prime Minister.