Practice what you preach Governor General: a plea from the people of PNG


We have watched you rise in stature as the nation’s vice regal, Governor-General, Head of State of Papua New Guinea on behalf of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

You have presented yourself as a champion in the fight against corruption with consistent, consecutive leadership in word and through Transparency International (PNG) Inc annual Walk Against Corruption.

Papua New Guinea, Sir, is crying out for role models of righteousness in the light of much questionable decision-making by the elected government of the day.

To date, as Head of State, the citizens have not seen you refuse to certify legislations passed by Parliament that there has been wide-spread outcry against. This includes the parts of the constitutional amendments against the laws governing the Ombudsman Commission; recent Forestry Act amendments; and we wonder what you would do with the amendments to the Environment Act.

All of those, however, do not oblige you to act in your symbolic role contrary to the advice of the National Executive Council or the National Parliament.

But Sir, on behalf of the good people of Papua New Guinea, whose sentiments I believe I echo, I want to ask why you have been silent in relation to the questionable way your term as Governor-General has been supposedly extended.

Your eligibility was overwhelmingly supported by Members of Parliament with 82 votes so you can participate as a candidate for the election of a Governor-General. Those 82 votes hold promise that you could have been elected as Parliament’s appointee through an exhaustive secret ballot.

Sir, with all due respects, you were not elected as Governor-General. Parliament voted for you to be eligible to contest for the position. Section 87(5) states: 

No person is eligible for appointment as Governor-General more than once unless the Parliament, by two-thirds absolute majority vote, approves appointment for a second term, but no person is eligible for appointment for a third term".

It does not take a lawyer to realise that this provision deals with the question of eligibility. It is not a provision for appointment.

The provision for appointment follows directly in Section 88 which begins:

88. Appointment to office.
(1) Except in the case of the first Governor-General appointed before Independence Day the Governor-General shall be appointed by the Head of State, acting with, and in accordance with, the advice of the National Executive Council given in accordance with a decision of the Parliament.
(2) 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.

Sir, while you were appropriately placed in that position in your previous term which ended on June 29, 2010, you cannot now assume to be Governor-General based on a flawed, questionable and controversial, and some of us would say “illegal” process of Parliament.

With all due respects, Sir, now is the time to practise what you preach. Now is the time to refuse to be sworn in and allow – in fact demand - for correct Parliament process to be followed.

Her Majesty’s subjects – whose sentiments I echo – watch in anticipation and hope!


Michael, well written and expressed what many others would want to say to the GG. Thanks for your concern as it our concern but wish many more write in and express their feelings even if it is only couple of sentences.

Sorry Peter, somewhere I got it wrong and put Michael as your name.

indeed the sentiments of us all, the majority of Papua New Guineans. To date nothing of a response has come from his office with regard to this matter.

Thank Peter Niesi for the letter. Lets hope the GG reponds positively.