IN PNG POLITICS, NOBODY WANTS TO BE IN THE OPPOSITION SIDE
By CHRISTOPHER PAPIALI
And so this feeling is reeling among newly and re-elect politicians and certainly it is going to change the true definition of parliament debate and composition. It is now a perceived view that one asks: “what is the use sitting on the Opposition bench when I can get nothing out of it”.
The decision to choose the Opposition side in PNG parliament is influenced by the horse trading and frivolous enticement by big political parties and certain individuals who have buying power.
The role of the Opposition in any parliament has not been understood well by PNG parliamentarians and if this trend continues the purpose of parliament establishment will not become a respectful and meaningful chamber. To avoid this phenomenal development, we are required to know the importance of the Opposition side of the National Parliament.
The Opposition represents an alternate government, and is responsible for challenging the policies of the government and producing different policies where appropriate.
The Opposition is to constantly question the performance of the government. Any Government has to remain answerable to the public at all times, and a good Opposition can put the spotlight on serious issues and have them resolved quickly.
There are occasions when the Opposition agrees with the Government. If the solution proposed by the Government has wide support, and is soundly based, then it’s only natural for the Opposition to agree.
The Opposition is the ‘alternate government’. In major Coalition Government, nearly all our MPs feel that no one would be likely to be considered as alternate government. However, these MPs should be axiomatic that where there is a formal opposition it should present itself as an alternative government.
Having said this a lot of our MPs do not realize that developing PNG is also having effective Opposition.
Why do most of our MPs do not want to be with the Opposition? One formidable reason is that the Opposition is an unpopular side of the chamber and leadership in PNG is measured by power, prestige and money.
If MPs are very serious about developing PNG, they should be the ones providing very constructing debates and providing alternative workable policies to the government side.
Developing PNG is not necessarily to do with draining government purse but utilizing skills and knowledge and networking with the wider civil and corporate communities on how best to improve lifestyles of the people.
Hence by being in the Opposition but constantly debating issues and providing alternate solutions to most of our contentious issues, it demonstrates a contribution to national growth and development. You not only become a lone voice in the wind but a stern voice that truly represents thousands of voiceless inhabitants who live on this land.
When we are all gearing up for the formation of the new government, what may transpire is a skeleton Opposition like what happened in the previous term of parliament. If this happens it is itself a defeat to parliament democracy and corruption will ensue.