AUSTRALIA has made an offer to fund our National General Elections.
In an interview with ABC RN Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the offer reflects Australia’s long-standing and historic commitment to supporting democracy and the democratic processes in Solomon Islands.
“We have made an offer for assistance and it’s a matter for Solomon Islands as to whether they will respond and how they will respond.
“We made an offer,” Ms Wong said.
She said this is a reasonably common approach that Australian Governments have made over the years.
Australia’s offer for assistance came as the National Parliament of Solomon Islands Bills and Legislations Committee (BLC) gave the public two weeks to respond to the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) proposal to extend the life of parliament by one year.
The DCGA is seeking a one-off deferral of elections to allow the country to host the 2023 Pacific Games, which, also coincides with the national election year.
The Government said hosting two large events at the same time is costly for the Government and the appropriate option is to defer the election and host the games, which, is the only opportunity for Solomon Islands now.
Chairman of the BLC John Maneniaru said his committee has until 28th September to gather written submissions from individuals, groups and organisations who wish to express their views, knowledge or understanding of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2022 that is now before parliament.
The BLC is a Parliamentary Standing Committee established under Standing Order 71. One of its mandates is to review all draft legislation prepared for introduction into Parliament.
The Opposition Group said the government’s move is against the will of the people.
Member of Parliament for West Makira Derrick Manuari said the government is pushing people to the edge knowing well that the people are not in support of any plan to extend parliament because they are confused and not convinced by the reasons given by the government.
However, the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said the Bill was put on notice since 5th August and not a single inquiry was held by the BLC.