A meeting of the Community Coalition Against Corruption and social network partners has congratulated the students of UPNG who showed leadership in expressing the concern and anger of many parts of the community following the passing of The Judiciary Conduct Bill on Wednesday; 21st March 2012 by Parliament. The Police were also commended for ensuring the students’ safety.
Those present unanimously agreed that the Bill is firstly: unnecessary, and secondly: is an attack on the principles and the spirit of the Constitution. Like putting players in a team in charge of the Referee, it gives the Parliament direct control over the Judiciary, infringing on the sacred rule of the Separation of Powers of the 3 arms of Government (contravening Section 99 (3) of the Constitution).
Whilst we are aware that the Judiciary may be fallible and not beyond reproach, there are procedures and protocols already firmly in place to address issues of Judicial impropriety by existing independent bodies outside of the three arms of Government. Additionally, we share concern with aspects of the performance of these independent bodies; however we do not accept that the enactment of this legislation is justifiable under these circumstances. It is also a duplication of process.
Parliament is fallible and not beyond reproach. IF THE JUDICIARY IS NOW ANSWERABLE TO PARLIAMENT THEN WHO IS PARLIAMENT ANSWERABLE TO?
We share the community outrage at the manner in which the Bill was enacted. There are Parliamentary procedures for passing of any legislation; in this case these were not respected. These procedures should involve intelligent debate and wide consultation and not a 45-minute stampede!
The fact that the legislation passed is retrospective raises huge concerns. It is simply unacceptable to change the rules after the event. Furthermore, the legislation has implications on Court decisions made since the 1st November 2011, now and into the future.
THE CCAC AND ITS PARTNERS AGREE WITH THE STUDENTS OF UPNG THAT THIS LEGISLATION MUST BE REPEALED IMMEDIATELY.
For any press enquiries please contact
Jerry Bagita, Operations Manager
Transparency International PNG
T: 320 2188 320 2182