Powers of the PNG Parliament to appoint Women Members

By Emmanuel Narokobi

Further to what has been one of the most hotly debated posts on this blog, the appointment of women to the PNG Parliament, I’ve posted below the conclusions of a paper titled ‘Powers of the PNG Parliament to appoint Women Members‘. The table of contents of the paper reads:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Women in the National Parliament since Independence
  4. Implementation of the National Goals and Directive Principles
  5. Other Relevant Powers and Obligations
  6. Situation of Women in PNG generally and the importance of action to advance the position of women
  7. Entrenched interests will not welcome reforms
  8. What are the legal requirements for the process to appoint the women members of Parliament?
  9. Conclusion
    Appendix 1 – table of figures of electoral participation by women and men since Independence
    Appendix 2– Description of domestic and international legal and policy obligations to advance the position of women in PNG
    Appendix 3 – Best Practice NEC Endorsed Process to find women to be considered for appointment to Parliament
    Appendix 4 – Analysis of the law on the need for an enabling Act to give effect to section 102
    Appendix 5 – Absolute majority vote under the constitution
    Appendix 6 – Diagram showing source of authority for the use of sections 101 and 102

‘The Technical Working Group’ or ‘TWG Legal Team’ was a team assisting Dame Carol Kidu in formulating her legal position on the issue. See below their conclusion:

The Constitution establishes a clear goal to enable women to participate in all aspects of life in PNG including lawmaking in the National Parliament.  It also establishes an absolute duty on Parliament to give effect to the National Goals and Directive Principles by any means within its power.  The use of the power to appoint women members is a legitimate means available to Parliament to address the lack of equality of opportunity, the lack of participation and the lack of representation of women in Parliament.  It also uses the power as it was intended to be used.

Constitutional rights also entitle all Papua New Guineans to a reasonable opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs and to be elected to public office and hold public office.  Papua New Guineans also enjoy the same rights and privileges regardless of sex.  As the current electoral system demonstrably fails to provide a reasonable opportunity for women to take part in the conduct of public affairs or to enjoy the same rights to stand for Parliament and be properly represented, both these powers also give legitimacy to the use of Constitutional powers to appoint women members of Parliament.

An analysis of the relevant law and consideration of important policy, including statements about the kind of society people in Papua New Guinea wish to live in, leads to but one conclusion: the use of the Constitutional powers to appoint women members of Parliament to increase equality of opportunity and address manifestly inadequate representation of women in the National lawmaking body has the highest degree of legal and moral legitimacy.

You can download the full Report here (1 MB)


5 thoughts on “Powers of the PNG Parliament to appoint Women Members

  1. No worries, but would be interested to hear what you think?

    ..What I think? Basically, the same stuff I have been ranting on about on the previous thread! Allow the process of nomination to proceed and let women be appointed.

  2. Okay cool, I’ll take sometime to read thoroughly so I can add something. Our discussions have made me think about allot of things regarding this issue and its not a straight forward one day decision making issue. This will involve phases and steps like any major change, especially when it also involves ingrained cultural ideas.

    I’ll get back to you all on this.

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