O'NEILL RUNS SCARED ADJOURNING PARLIAMENT TO MARCH 2016.

by BRYAN KRAMER

The news of O'Neill Government's decision to adjourn Parliament to March 2016 brought a smile to my face. A decision that was very much anticipated and welcomed. As predicted Peter O'Neill would do so to avoid facing the motion of vote of no confidence. It's my view it is typical of O'Neill to act like a coward demonstrating weak leadership by manipulating democratic processes to serve his own interest.

Evidence of this fact was when Fraud squad members served him a warrant of arrest in June 2014. They kindly asked him to accompany them to be interviewed, he instead fled like a common criminal to hide out in Parliament House. Section 155 (Parliamentary Privileges) Constitution states Members of the Parliament are free from arrest for civil debt during meetings of the Parliament and during the period commencing three days before, and ending three days after. At the time Parliament was not even in session but nonetheless it didn't stop O'Neill believing he could seek refuge there.

While hiding in Parliament O'Neill instructed his lawyers to file an urgent application in the National Court to stay his arrest claiming the officers were rogue policemen who were politically motivated. After considering the evidence National Court refused O'Neill's application ruling "there is in fact no evidence that the current criminal investigations are the work of rogue policemen or that the investigations are politically-motivated as described by the Prime Minister in his affidavit." The Court also reiterated " that the administration and control of the Police Force is vested in the Commissioner of Police under the Constitution. Administrative matters are for him to resolve and not this Court. The fact that the Commissioner agrees not to arrest the plaintiffs is a matter for him also. He does not need this Court's endorsement on how he should discharge his constitutional duties and functions."

Following the ruling Vaki then applied to the District Court to withdraw the warrant. The District Court refused his application, Vaki then appealed the decision before the National Court. O'Neill joined those proceedings seeking a further stay against the warrant now arguing the warrant issued by the District Court was defective and also relied on the earlier ruling of National Court "Commissioner does not need this Court's endorsement on how he should discharge his constitutional duties and functions." Vaki also filed misleading sworn statements claiming the warrant applied by Fraud Squad officers was not properly layed (presented) before the District Court in the prescribed form. Fraud squad members were not part of those proceedings and weren't afforded the opportunity to file evidence contesting it, so the National Court granted an interim stay until it could consider the facts and evidence described in Vaki's affidavit. It also sought Supreme Court interpretation whether or not Commissioner of Police had powers not to enforce a Warrant of Arrest. The Supreme Court subsequently ruled the warrant is an order, it must be obeyed unless and until it is set aside by another court order. The National Court has authority to punish the Commissioner of Police for contempt of court for failing to execute or preventing execution of a warrant of arrest, even if it is subsequently determined that the warrant was invalid."

Chief Justice Salamo Injia sitting as a National Court Judge presiding over separate contempt of court proceedings brought against Vaki by Fraud Squad for failing to execute the warrant confirmed the warrant was in fact valid and not defective as the Prime Minister and Vaki claimed. The proceedings are still before the Courts and I will explain the status of those cases in due course.

It seems Peter O'Neill has done another runner this time running scared from facing a simple motion of no confidence moved by what he himself described as a handful of desperate and ambitious Opposition politicians. After the Acting Speaker unlawfully rejected the motion senior members of his own party (PNC) moved without notice a Motion of Confidence" in his leadership. It was quite laughable, a motion of confidence is equivalent to a CEO of a company calling a meeting without notice of his employees and asking them on the spot to vote for him. A cause that is rather pointless because a motion of confidence doesn't even exist in law or parliamentary convention while a "Motion of No Confidence" is prescribed in the Constitution (s.145) and Standing Orders (so.130) of Parliament. It's my view O'Neill moved a motion in himself to force members of his own party and coalition members to declare their loyalty and also an opportunity to mislead the public who have little knowledge of parliamentary procedures and conventions. Even the mainstream media got it wrong proclaiming O'Neill defeated the VNC. PNG Facts on-line news published "the Government called a vote of no confidence in its own leader, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, and quickly voted for it, 78 to 2 in Papua New Guinea parliament"

While the opposition are outraged by O'Neill's decision, for me it was expected and welcomed news. It only confirms the fact O'Neill is an embarrassment in the eyes of the Nation and world leaders and an adjournment to March 2016 gives amble time to achieve a number of viable outcomes.

When I was asked whether the Motion of No Confidence would succeed my response was no, not at this juncture, the best timing will be April 2016. I kept this view to myself concerned that O'Neill would adjourn to June a date closer to August 2016, after which no motion of VNC may be moved. O'Neill ignorant to this fact instead adjourned Parliament to 22 March 2015.

Opposition's efforts to move motion of VNC this session of Parliament was important in laying a foundation confirming O'Neill to be desperate to avoid the simplest of democratic processes. The timing will also coincide with the decision of National and Supreme Court rulings dealing with the criminal charges against him. On November 17 Supreme Court will consider Fraud Squad's application to remove the interim stay preventing Police from arresting Peter O'Neill. The Court normally takes one to three months to hand down its ruling so I would anticipate a decision in late December or early February when the Court returns from vacation.

It also gives the Opposition time to conduct nationwide awareness in relation to O'Neill Government's mismanagement of the economy,his failed free education and heath policy including its his own trail of corruption. Opposition can no longer depend on main stream media its my view they are compromised, lost their professional integrity and objectivity. Senior journalist are being accused of being on the Government payroll and seen drinking in the company of Senior Members of Government. The Opposition must go to the people for it's the people who's future is being ripped off by corrupt politicians who enrich themselves at the peoples expense.

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