THE controversial Political Parties Integrity Bill 2014 made it through the second reading despite heavy criticisms.
Opposition Leader Dr Derek Sikua ensured the second passage was tested when he interrupted the speaker in accordance with standing order 42, which calls for division.
The speaker announced its second passage when 25 members supported the Bill, only six oppositions and 18 absent.
Since the Bill entered the second reading, it came under attack from various members, considerably Aoke Langalanga MP Mathew Wale and Manasseh Sogavare who raised constitutional issues surrounding the Bill.
Speaking on the Bill this week, Mr Wale said the Bill will never eliminate the grass hopping notion and will still allow political instability.
“By his own admission, the Prime Minister stated that this Bill will not eliminate grass-hopping which is the core ingredient of political instability; it is clear that if you want to fix political instability you must stop grass-hopping. If grass-hopping is allowed to continue, political instability is then allowed to continue, this Bill allows grass-hopping and so will this Bill create political stability?
“We are really not that stupid; this Bill will not create political stability.
“Yes, I grant that this Bill provides for a documented process of membership in and resignation from political parties but all that this is doing is that it is documenting the grass hoping and instability.
“Is it important to create political instability to have a paper trail to support it? Sir, we must dilute ourselves to think that by simply requiring written resignations it will somehow take us a step closer to political stability.”
Mr Sogovare in his heated debate emphasized that members’ mentality is what needs to be changed.
Those critical to the Bill said the Bill is unconstitutional thus require changes in the constitution.
The Prime Minister insisted that the Bill is a way forward and that it has been extensively researched and drawn to suit the local situation.
It was finally passed yesterday evening and will go through committee stage today before going through the third reading.
It is understood the government has been put on notice for a possible judicial review of the Bill.
By EDNAL PALMER