Governor General should step down and allow a proper election

The Prime Minister's arrogance and lack of respect for the law and proper process seems to know no boundaries.

Last Friday's farcical scenes in Parliament when a preliminary vote to allow the incumbent Governor General to stand again for election was then used by the Prime Minister and Speaker to declare Paulus Matane had been re-elected, was only the latest in a series of serious abuses of democratic process and Constitutional rights.

In just the last few weeks we have seen:

  1. Amendments to the Environment Act pushed through Parliament in a single afternoon with no consultation, debate or Parliamentary scrutiny.

  2. The Supreme Court have to intervene to order the removal of Patrick Pruaitch as Finance Minister after the Prime Minister refused to make him step-aside while he faces a Leadership Tribunal.

  3. The Prime Minister order the Clerk of Parliament not to accept the Community Petition against the 'Maladina' amendments to the Leadership Code

  4. The Ombudsman Commission complain the government has not consulted as promised on the proposed changes, and 

  5. An outrageous and completely unconstitutional decree from the Minister for Justice and Attorney General that there be no media debate on the Environment Act amendments and and unlawful instruction to the Police not to allow any protest marches

The Governor General should be highly embarrassed by the manner of his so-called 're-election' and, if he has any integrity, he should refuse to accept the role until and unless there is a proper, fair and transparent election.

Below is some of the media coverage of the Governor General's re-election 

Controversy over GG reappointment - TV New Zealand

Controversy surrounds the re-election of Papua New Guinea's Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane who critics say was appointed by the government in numerous breaches of parliamentary process.

Chaos and confusion reigned in PNG's parliament on Friday when MPs, the speaker, Prime Minister Michael Somare and at times the public gallery were locked in a heated debate over the vote.

Speaker Jeffery Nape announced to parliament the nominees then informed the house that for Matane to be eligible to run for a second term in office they had to approve by a two-thirds majority vote.

Parliament voted 84-13 in favour of Matane to run again for the post but, after suspending the sitting for lunch, the speaker then declared Matane the elected governor-general.

This provoked wild scenes of protest, shouting and abuse from MPs and the public gallery.

Opposition Leader Sir Mekere Morauta accused the government of colluding with the speaker to break the law.

"It is clear the speaker is no longer independent. Parliament has become useless," he said.

"I urge these candidates to go to court and challenge this," he said.Opposition MP Sam Basil said the other candidates had been denied an opportunity of public office.

PNG's Post Courier newspaper editorialised Friday's proceedings as a "disgrace" and "hugely misleading".

Matane, formerly a career civil servant, is no stranger to controversy as his initial instalment as governor-general in 2004 led to a court challenge.


PM and Speaker colluded to break the law - The National

THE opposition last Friday accused Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare of breaking the law in the drama surrounding the “appointment” of Sir Paulias Matane to a second term in office.

Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta accused the prime minister of conniving with the speaker to break the law.

Sir Mekere also questioned the impartiality of the speaker. “It is clear the speaker is no longer independent. Today, Somare created a new form of democracy unique to PNG,” the opposition leader told a news conference after Parliament rose last Friday afternoon.

“Parliament has become useless. It is being used by the executive government with the help of the speaker.”

Sir Mekere said MPs were led to believe that they were voting to get incumbent Sir Paulias eligible for the election of the nation’s ninth governor-general. He said after the 84-13 vote in which MPs stood up to vote, they were expecting the secret ballot process to follow to elect the next GG.

“That process was flouted by the National Alliance and Somare. There appears to be no respect for the law. Enough is enough. We might as well close down Parliament and allow Somare to run the country as he likes.”

Bulolo MP Sam Basil said the other candidates – Sir Pato Kakaraya, Sir Makena Geno and Ronald Rimbao – were denied an opportunity to be elected to a public office.

“We have broken the law and I urge these candidates to go to court and challenge this.”

Mendi MP Pastor Isaac Joseph questioned why the government was so worried to deny the secret ballot taking place. “What is the motive? The three are also Papua New Guineans who deserve an opportunity to be elected to this office.”

Finchhafen MP Theo Zurenuoc said it was clear the government MPs were voting with fear, a fear of being singled out if they did not vote with the prime minister.
He warned that people would lose respect for the government and rebel if the government did not care and continue to break the laws of the country

Fridays election a disgrace - Post Courier

FRIDAY’S effort to portray Westminster practice in Parliament was a disgrace.

The election of a new governor-general had all the markings of a desperate administration intent on getting the man it wants.

The overall impression of those who were in the building when the decision was made to reappoint the incumbent vice-regal representative, Sir Paulias Matane, was that it went wrong. Drastically wrong.

It is not just the Opposition faction that felt the proceedings were made to give the impression that the motion was to approve the eligibility of Sir Paulias, not to vote for him against three other candidates. 

As far as many were concerned, the members were voting at the time to class Sir Paulias as a candidate, as a preliminary to a secret ballot involving all four candidates.

The uproar in the public gallery is entirely understandable. The Prime Minister’s office has published its own legal opinion to justify the end result, the election of Sir Paulias for a second six-year term in office.

But as far as most observers and many Papua New Guineans are concerned, the proceedings in Parliament on Friday were hugely misleading.

The debate on this issue will not easily fade away. The ruling parties will have to come out openly and justify this mess. If they can’t do better, they cannot expect the people to think kindly of them when it comes around to casting their votes in two years.

Why should the Government go to this hugely contrived method of getting their man back into the “throne’’ at Konedobu?

What is so important about what has been assumed to be a largely symbolic office?

Most people assume that the Governor-General is a figurehead, a person who makes nice speeches at schools and open days and cultural events. There is of course the giving of assent to new laws to be considered. It is assumed by governments and others that a governor-general gives his signature automatically to the documents placed in front of him to sign.

There was a famous instance in Australia, where they follow the same system, where a governor-general, contradicted that impression. Prime Minister Gough Whitlam lost power because of a governor-general.

Could it happen here? Is there something in the Waigani wind that made the Government slip this through?

Sir Paulua returs as GG amid controversy - The National 


GOVERNOR-General Sir Paulias Matane has been “appointed” to a second term in office under very controversial circumstances in Parliament last Friday, in an act likely to be challenged in court.

Parliament was a scene of chaos and confusion, with conflicting advice from the speaker and the prime minister as to how PNG’s 9th governor-general was to be appointed.

In an orchestrated move, the government succeeded in moving swiftly to appoint Sir Paulias, using section 87(5) of the Constitution, arguing that the absolute majority secured for Sir Paulias meant that the exhaustive secret ballot vote was not required.

Members who were supporting the other candidates were up in arms, and there were exchanges of shouts and abuses, bringing the whole Parliament House into a state of confusion. The members watching from the public gallery, incensed by what they believe was an abuse of parliamentary democracy, shouted down the chambers resulting in an exchange of words between the public and MPs including Works, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye and Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu.

It all started after Speaker Jeffery Nape announced the names of the nominees – Sir Makena Geno, Sir Pato Kakaraya, Sir Paulias and Ronald Rimbao.

He then said since Sir Paulias was being proposed, section 87(5) of the Constitution required Parliament to determine by two-thirds absolute majority vote of 73 members the eligibility of Sir Paulias for re-appointment for a second term.

Members were surprised when Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare moved a motion for Parliament to resolve that Sir Paulias be supported for a second term as governor-general.

Confused, Enga Governor Peter Ipatas raised a point of order, asking the speaker to clarify the prime minister’s motion.

But the speaker, without clarifying, ordered the vote to proceed, even though Ipatas interjected again that the prime minister’s motion was not in line with the process the speaker had explained.

Other point of orders and interjections were rejected by the speaker.

The eligibility vote was taken by open ballot where MPs were required to stand up to vote, which resulted in an 84-13 in favour of Sir Paulias.

The speaker then informed Parliament that Sir Paulias was eligible for appointment as governor-general for a second term, prompting East Sepik Governor Peter Wararu to raise another point of order.

Wararu said there was confusion in what the speaker was saying, as section 87(5) was clear in that no person was eligible for appointment as governor-general more than once unless the Parliament, by an absolute two-thirds majority, approves the appointment for a second term.

Wararu said taking that into account, the speaker needed to make a ruling.
Nape suspended the sitting for lunch to make a ruling, taking into account Wararu’s point of order.

The speaker reconvened the House at 3pm and declared Sir Paulias as elected.
Polye was confused, and raised a point of order, asking Nape to clarify whether Sir Paulias was elected or became eligible to contest.

Nape stated that he was elected, drawing shouts from Morobe Governor Luther Wenge that “democracy has been hijacked”, and Ipatas, shouting, “why are you hijacking this House”.

Leader of government business Paul Tiensten adjourned Parliament to July 20.

‘Another Constitutional blunder’ - Post Courier


LAST Friday’s vote in Parliament for the reappointment of Sir Paulias Matane as Governor-General has been described as another constitutional blunder by the Government.


A prominent lawyer involved in four court cases in the election of the nominee for Governor-General, Dr John Nongorr said “if it is true that the vote to recommend Sir Paulias Matane to a second term as Governor-General was done in open ballot, this is in breach of Section 88(2) of the Constitution which states that ‘A decision of the Parliament to nominate a person for appointment as Governor-General shall be made by a simple majority vote, in an exhaustive secret ballot conducted in accordance with an Organic Law’.

Section seven of the Organic Law on the nomination of Governor-General makes it abundantly clear that even when there is a single proposal proposing only one person, there must still be a secret ballot.

“A secret ballot is the only manner of voting provided for electing a nominee for Governor-General. No other form of voting is prescribed. Section 87 of the Constitution provides for ‘qualifications’ of persons who are eligible. The manner of voting is provided by Section 88 and the Organic Law. To vote simply by a show of hands or standing up is not the lawful means of voting a nominee for the Governor-General.”

Dr Nongorr reiterated his call for the Government, the Prime Minister and the Speaker to simply follow the rule of law.

“The Government that Sir Michael Somare leads is more interested in getting its way and not interested in following and upholding the rule of law. We cannot afford to let this happen. We must not only insist on the law being followed, especially by the Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament, but also that the Prime Minister must set a better example in doing the right thing. It requires doing more than what the law requires. The law sets minimum standards, not high standards. Sir Michael Somare must set the highest standards because he is the Prime Minister. Everyone looks to him to lead by example,” he said.

Another lawyer and a former departmental head James Wanjik said “It is a shame a good person has to be dragged so low by parliament law, holds society and guides leaders and people in the conduct of human relations, when Parliament being mandated under the Constitution to pass laws but does not follow the law, especially constitutional law when conducting its business, then people cannot be expected to follow the law.”



Does the so called "father of nation" and his son think they own PNG? What bothers me along with rest of the country is that all these so called leaders who bought their votes from giving out cartons of beer,lamb flaps and K10 are following and bowing down to this corrupt, self seeking man. You wonder whether any of them are leaders in the true sense. It is truly sickening and you really want to vomit of the boastings amongst themselves and their small group that benefit from the willing and dealings that go on behind closed doors. What a shame!

Thank you to Dr Nongorr, Dr Alan Marat and others who are speaking out for the sake of the majority living in villages across this beautiful land of ours, PNG.

To others who are bennifitting from this corrupt government, BIG SHAME ON YOU, especially if you call yourself a Christian and regular church goer. Maybe it is about time you examine your heart if you really care of your life God has given you.