PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 13, 2009) – Question time a waste of time! What’s happening to the institution of Parliament? Why is it that there is hardly a peep from the elected representatives about the daily disaster setting facing many people in the Highlands?

Question Time seems to have become a time for members to sling off at each other and score points. We know the timber framework of the buildings are deteriorating and need repairs, that’s a situation that can be rectified, we are told, with K60 million or so which can be dragged from those trust accounts. But what can we do about the human beings who inhabit the Haus Tambaran and are entrusted with the task of ruling us wisely and looking after our welfare?

They are already paid millions in salaries and allowances and cost more millions to house and transport and guard them. Surely we can expect a better return for our money than the sort of stuff that has been going on this week? Everybody turned up and voted all in favour of creating two new provinces by 2012, yet the Government could not muster numbers to pass the change granting three seats in Parliament to women despite the Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, having given it his fullblooded support.

And while much of the rural heartland of our nation has been suffering great hardship through high tides, flooding and destruction of roads and bridges, we are seeing relatively little concern from the debate on the floor of Parliament.

We acknowledge that there are some hard working MPs doing their most productive things in the corridors and meeting rooms of the Parliament, but the constituents would like to see their plight being considered and debated in the public venue.

There was spirited debate on the floor yesterday about the pros and cons of the opinions expressed by a former head of the National Broadcasting Corporation, Kristoffa Ninkama. Dr Ninkama made the point that in the 40 years Sir Michael Somare had been in Parliament, the country as a whole has gone backwards.

Politicians are entitled to debate that opinion and certainly we cannot hold one man responsible for the failings of health, schools and other government services, even the figurehead of government. But the people do want to see more of the MPs showing concern for their current plight, as well as the failings of the past 40 years!

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