Breaking: Supreme Court recalls Papua New Guinea’s Parliament


In a move which has major implications for Papua New Guinea’s governance and national budget, the Supreme Court has ruled that the sitting of Parliament of 17 November was ‘unconstitutional and invalid’. It has ordered Parliament resume next Monday 14 December.

Parliament Haus. Credit: BAI

The Court was responding to case brought by PNG’s Opposition questioning the validity of the sitting of 17 November, which went ahead as the result of an ‘unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective’ ruling by Speaker Job Pomat.

Five judges, including Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika, ruled that the Speaker was in error in making that ruling and that Parliament had in effect already been adjourned the previous Friday 13 November, following a surprise revolt by government MPs which enabled the Opposition to take over and suspend Parliament.

The Court ruled that the adjournment made on 13 November was ‘constitutional, valid and effective.’

In making its decision, the Supreme Court has therefore nullified all business that took place place in Parliament on 17 November, included the passing to the 2021 National Budget. It also nullified the Marape Government’s suspension of Parliament until April 2021.

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Parliament is now ordered to resume on Monday 14 December at 10am, with PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape likely to face a vote-of-no-confidence.

Both Government and Opposition have spent the past few weeks in their respective camps attempting to lock in the 56 MPs necessary to form government.


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