The 2021 National Budget was passed in parliament yesterday in a house consisting mostly of government members, but whether due process was followed or whether if it was legal the way it was passed, is now up to the lawyers of both sides of the house to debate on.
The Executive Director of the Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs (PNG INA), Mr. Paul Barker, who commented on what unfolded yesterday, said it is true that the proper process was not followed and this was attributed to the situation surrounding the two sides at the moment, which are the legal aspects of the adjournment of parliament by the Opposition to December 1st and the reconvening of the sitting called for by the Speaker of Parliament, which the recent events that unfolded in parliament, lead to.
“The Opposition was not present, certainly the government would argue they chose to leave, and the argument would be made by the government that the adjournment was not conducted accordingly. I will leave that to the lawyers to debate the requirements,” he said.
“But, if that was valid and if it was not adjourned properly, then I suppose that parliament had not adjourned and therefore was still sitting and therefore, the budget session was still ongoing and the government of the day had all the right to proceed.”
“Legality is one thing; due process is another and you can argue that parliament is not being used to its fullest, and the openness and transparency process is not being used.”
“I have no doubt that during the course of time the Opposition will be seeking legal advice as will be the government and maybe battling it out for reference in the supreme court for the legality.”
He said the courts will be tested to give their assessments on what the Government and the Opposition have done in the last few days.