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Friday, April 27, 2012

Philemon says K2.5bil paid to public servants

Source: The National, Friday 27th 2012 THE government pays public servants K2.5 billion a year as salaries and wages, Public Service Minister Bart Philemon told parliament yesterday. And he said the main reason for the non-delivery of public service was because of too much political involvement. He said another reason was the lack of capacity in the public service. Philemon was res­ponding to questions from Tari-Pori MP and chairman of Hela Transitional Authority James Marape in parliament. Marape said public servants in the Southern Highland and Hela provinces were confused because most had not been confirmed to their substantive posts. He said positions had been advertised in 2008 but there were still no confirmed positions for public servants. “What is the maximum time it takes to fill public service positions?” He said another contributing factor was the position of the provincial administrator that had not been filled as yet and why the delay in the appointment of a permanent administrator. Marape said some public servants had left to work in the oil fields, mine sites and gas fields because of the attractive salaries there. He also claimed that most public servants in the province were getting paid for doing virtually nothing. “Can an investigation be conducted to ascertain the status quo of public service in the province?” Marape also brought up the issue of K7 housing allowance, asking whether that can be increased to K500 or K1,000 a fortnight.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kiwis want June polls

Source: The National, Wednesday 25th 2012 NEW Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully says his government would like to see Papua New Guinea hold the national election as originally scheduled. McCully said New Zealand was trying to be supportive of efforts to hold the election on time. “PNG will need to understand that this is something that other countries are taking a close interest in,” he said. “We hope they will land in a good place. “There are a number of players with differing views, and conveying them is a problem.”

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Paska: New bill will make House supreme

Source: The National, Wednesday 18th April 2012 By CALDRON LAEPA THE PNG Trade Union Congress has urged parliamentarians not to vote for the Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill 2012 because it will make parliament superior to the two arms of government. Congress general secretary John Paska said the government was also using the legislation to make parliament more supreme than the Constitution. The bill stated that the Supreme Court cannot make consequential orders if they invoke the powers of the Supreme Court to give an opinion on matters under section 18 and 19 of the Constitution. The bill also provided that the decision by the court on the East Sepik provincial government and Morobe provincial government references is null and void. Paska said the proposed bill aimed to throw out a matter currently in court in relation to the legitimacy of the government. He said MPs must stop voting for any bill brought by the government and start thinking more seriously about the people. He urged Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Speaker Jeffery Nape to think about the nation. He said it was bad for the economy when the government made decisions and then later reversed them. He warned the MPs that the election was approaching and the people were watching them closely. Paska cautioned that the unions and civil society organisations would “rise” if the need arose. He said O’Neill should now be getting the message that the people, unions and civil society would not back down following last Tuesday’s protest.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recruits given two weeks

Source: The National, Tuesday 17th April 2012 By YVONNE HAIP PUBLIC servants selected for positions within the Southern Highlands administration have been told to take office within two weeks. Deputy administrator Dr Bravy Koensong called for acceptance letters to be returned because a complete manpower audit and roll-call on the public service would be carried out. He said lax attitude towards work would not be tolerated. Koensong said the provincial public service machinery had deteriorated because of poor performance of staff. He said the public service needed to be united to improve and restore all services in Southern Highlands. He said a payroll audit would be done to remove ghost names on the payroll and other financial responsibilities. He said the payroll, would be brought back to Mendi from Waigani and the relevant government departments and institutions would help ensure this. He claimed indivi­duals had walked off with more than K200,000 as a result of the payroll being hijacked. Koensong called on all public servants to move into the province within two weeks. He said those who were not in office during the roll-call would be dealt with through normal disciplinary processes. He said a complete restructure of the province had begun and would continue until December. Koensong said by January and February next year, jobs within the administration would be on the market. He said public servants who had been lazy would have to find employment elsewhere.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kidu asks Australia to relax visa laws

Source: The National, Monday 16th April 2012 AUSTRALIA’S immigration laws for Papua New Guineans need to be reconsidered, a symposium has been told. Opposition leader Dame Carol Kidu said there were too many processes citizens of Papua New Guinea were required to go through to obtain a visa. She said the Australian government needed to loosen its visa policies for Papua New Guineans if it was serious in assisting PNG change. Dame Carol, Public Service Minister Bart Philemon, academics and researchers attended the symposium titled “Securing a prosperous future” at Deakin University, in Geelong, Victoria. She said a Papua New Guinea woman married to an Australian and with two children had applied for an Australian visa three years ago and was still waiting. She said it was the kind of hardship Papua New Guineans had to go through when applying for a visa. Private lawyer and pro chancellor of the University of PNG Camillus Narokobi, who was one of the conference participants, said although he had been frequent visitor to Australia since he first visited there in 1971, he continued to find it difficult to obtain a visa. He said Papua New Guineans were genuine people who wanted to visit and spend holidays there, visit friends or conduct business. They were not boat people who sought asylum or permanent residency, he added. Prof Kenneth Sumbuk, who shared his experiences of travelling to Europe, said obtaining visas to visit places in Europe was easier than obtaining a visa to go to Australia. Meanwhile, PNG can change if good decisions are made, Australian parliamentary secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs Richard Marles said. Marles said PNG was one of the seven fastest growing economies in the world, something the people of the country should be proud of. He said with the mineral boom, the country was going to change significantly. However, he said there were many problems that needed to be addressed if PNG was to prosper. He said the health, education and social status of the people had not change despite the riches the country had.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Election on schedule

Source: The National,Wednesday 11th April 2012 THE national election will be held as scheduled with only a slight change. The writs will be issued on May 18 instead of April 27 as previously gazetted. In a day of public demonstration and protest, it was the official line from Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen, who Prime Minister Peter O’Neill admitted yesterday, alone had the power to defer the dates of the election. The decision will not affect date for polling which falls on June 23 and for the return of writs on or before July 27. Also yesterday: qHundreds gathered at the Sir John Guise Stadium to protest the deferral of the election and passage of the Judicial Conduct Law; qSchools and many business houses in Port Moresby were closed as fears spread that the demonstration might turn violent; qDemonstrators earlier stoned cars and damaged a shop in Koki; qHundreds converged at the Eriku oval in Lae to protest the deferral, led by the University of Technology students; and Madang, demonstrators said they were ready to go to the poll

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Grand Chief files bid to stop judicial law

Source: The National, Wednesday 4th April 2012 By JACOB POK GRAND Chief Sir Michael Somare has asked the Supreme Court to stop the government from implementing and enfor­cing the judicial conduct law. His lawyer Kerenga Kua yesterday appeared before Justice Derek Hartshon in an ex parte hearing to seek the court’s orders. The bill was rushed through parliament in a space of 24 hours and passed on March 21. It was certified into law by Speaker Jeffrey Nape and parliament clerk Don Pandan last Friday. There was public outrage with civil societies, university students and businesses advising the government to have it repealed. Kua filed an urgent Supreme Court application seeking injunctive orders to restrain parliament from implementing and enforcing it. He told the court that enfor­cing the law would affect the hearing of the two Supreme Court references currently on foot looking into the issue of the legitimacy of government. He said if parliament enforced the new law against some of the judges hearing the references, it would disrupt the entire proceeding. He therefore asked the court to issue a restraining order pending the actual hearing of the substantive matter which sought to nullify the entire judicial conduct law. But Hartshon told Kua he would not hear the matter ex parte. He ordered that the application be served to all parties named in the proceedings and to return to court at 9.30am today. The substantive issue in the originating summons filed by Kua will be based on rele­vant clauses in the Constitution which relate to constitutional office holders including judges. He will argue that the new law should be nullified on the basis that section 221 of the Constitution opposed it. Section 221 states that “a judge may not be suspended, dismissed or removed from office during his term of office except in accordance with a constitutional law” and not by an ordinary act of parliament.

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State loses bid

Source: The National,Tuesday 03rd April 2012 By JACOB POK THE Supreme Court has thrown out a bid by the government to reopen last December’s constitutional case which had declared Sir Michael Somare as prime minister. The application by Attorney-General and Justice Minister Dr Allan Marat was described by Justice Nicholas Kirriwom, a member of the five-man bench, as a “delay tactic”. But the court is yet to decide on whether Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and Kirriwom should step aside amid allegations of bias against the government. The bench comprised Sir Salamo, his deputy Gibbs Salika, Bernard Sakora, Les Gavera-Nanu and Kirriwom. It was supposed to be the first day of hearings into the legality of parliamentary decisions since the government of Peter O’Neill took office. But Marat’s lawyer Tiffany Twivey filed three new applications, including the one to have the Dec 12 case reheard. The other two relate to whether Sir Salamo and Kirriwom should remain on the bench. Twivey filed the applications last Thursday and had served copies to all parties involved in the proceedings. She told the court the slip rule application to revisit the Dec 12 case should be heard and determined first as it raised a series of issues relating to the current references. Sir Salamo told Twivey that such application would require the same bench and parties from last year that had been involved in the proceeding and it would require more time. He said the court was prepared to proceed with the two references which were made returnable for hearing and not new applications. “The procedural aspect of the matters should be considered and things must be done properly because such applications required extensive time and effort for parties to prepare and get instructions from their clients properly before the matter proceeds,” Sir Salamo said. Sakora told Twivey that the application was filed late as it was done four months after the Dec 12 decision. Kirriwom told Twivey that there was no need to revisit the previous case when the current reference stemmed from that case. “Your client did not agree with the decision of SCR 3 (Supreme Court reference) of 2011. “That is why these two current references have been filed,” Kirriwom said. He described the application as a “delay tactic”. Sir Michael’s lawyer Duncan Kerr and the lawyer representing the East Sepik provincial executive council, Ian Molloy, opposed the application. After a brief adjournment, the judges unanimously rejected the slip rule application.

Monday, April 2, 2012

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State gives illegal immigrants 30-day grace period

Source: The National,Monday 02nd April 2012 ILLEGAL immigrants have been given a 30-day grace period to surrender to officials and leave the country. The grace period is from March 26 to April 27. The National Executive Council has directed the Immigration and Citizenship Services to coordinate a task force team to investigate and remove illegal immigrants. It should also investigate the activities of foreigners engaged in questionable activities in the country. Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Ano Pala confirmed the council’s decision of Jan 17. Pala said in a public notice that the task force team would comprise highly-skilled investigators and intelligence officers. It would be supported by hand-picked officers from various agencies. The economic boom and rapid development had attracted an influx of foreigners and organised crime syndicates into the country. “PNG has recently witnessed some trend of transnational crimes happening within our shores such as human smuggling, money laundering, smuggling of counterfeit goods, smuggling of illegal firearms and drugs while our domestic front is faced with organised prostitution, brothels and pirated goods,” Pala said. “I strongly advice that any foreigner who comes into conflict with the established laws of the country and found guilty of a criminal offence would automatically have his or her entry permit cancelled and be directed to leave the country immediately.” He said any illegal immigrants or foreigners who overstayed would be deported from the country without facing any prosecution.