THE controversial Political Parties Integrity Bill 2014 is not the Bill many perceived.
The Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo have been preaching that the Bill will address political instability but during the second reading debate was cornered to a point he changed tone and admitted that it was not an anti-defection Bill.
That then allows the vital issue of ‘political instability’ pretty much alive and through some lenses only regulates grass-hoping.
That can be found in clause 40 (2) which states that a person who formally resigns as a member of a political party may become a member of another political party.
Clause 43 (2) spelled out that “…any other member of the political party elected into Parliament remain subject to the provisions of this Act as members of the political party”.
What then sticks out from this Bill? Choosing the Prime Minister. Many commentators said this is the kick of this Bill.
Is it not this part that forces the Prime Minister to vigorously push for the passage of the Bill? Possible and possibly not. What about ending the term with a political point scoring? That’s what one commentator said.
He said there is no difference from the old system in terms of forming a coalition.
But there are others who have their own view.
Analysis from JCSG & CC
The Joint Civil Society Group & Concern Citizens (JCSG & CC) shared the same concerns.
Interim Chairman Barnabas Henson said the political parties’ integrity bill is not about political integrity and stability because it only regulates the registration and administration of political parties in Solomon Islands.
“While the Bill may be viewed as setting the stage for a more established party system and solid basis that should hopefully decrease defection, it still fails to address political grass-hoping by MPs, nor will it prevent individual party members from defecting, which effectively is the main cause of political instability in this nation.
“The Bill has also caused a lot of public confusion because its objective of improving political integrity is not reflected in the Bill.
“Integrity in itself is founded on ethical behaviour of individuals, which in this case is concerned with the behaviour of elected MPs and members of political parties.
“Experience has taught us that integrity cannot be legislated however, standards of ethical behaviour can be regulated to uphold the integrity of individuals and organisations they represent.
“Hence if the Bill was designed to provide and promote political integrity, its provisions would have been constructed to reduce the detrimental effects of political corruption on transparent and accountable governance.
The Bill would have provided for the enforcement of accountability by and the transparency of political parties. This would involve accounting for assets and interests, empowering anti-corruption advocacy, and legislating anti-corruption laws.
The Bill then must seek to establish three common objectives:
1.Regulate and manage the behaviour of political power-holders, i.e. politicians, government ministers, senior civil servants and other elected, nominated, or appointed senior public office holders.
2.Prevent, or at least inhibit, the abuse power to extract and accumulate resources and to use extracted resources or other corrupt means to maintain or strengthen their hold on power.
3.Enhance credibility of and public confidence in political processes, while increasing public participation in these processes in order to ensure that politics is not perceived as a dirty game.
PM Lilo however in his recent interview with ABC told reporters that the Bill was designed to ‘develop legislative mechanisms that provide for registrations and setting up standards and requirements for the development of political parties’.
This proves to the fact that the Bill only seeks to strengthen the governance framework on the registration and administration of political parties rather than addressing their integrity and stability.
So the Bill should have been titled ‘Political Parties Registration Bill’ so as not to confuse the country.
Please refer to the Fiji Military Decree on the Registration of Political Parties. This should be more compatible to our laws than the PNG Political Parties Integrity Act.
Response to personal attacks
In the Solomon Star’s Monday issue, some high minded individuals hiding under the Prime Minister’s Office made a very unprofessional and immature personal attack in response to my commentary article.
It is obvious that once you are there, you have to make your boss happy, and defend your salary by defending and forgoing public interest – unfortunately that’s at the expense of the public.
And lest you forget, issues of serious concerns that people want their elected leaders including the Prime Minister to answer, must be answered by elected leaders and not media political puppets who have no constitutional rights to stand in the place of elected leaders and make childish responses.
People do not want to listen to some handpicked puppets that at the end of the day, their priority is their money in place for genuinely serving the public – simply traitors.
The so called media specialist/s advising the Prime Minister is/are demeaning the status of that highest office in making very astoundingly childish responses.
That goes to show how low those bunch can go in responding to issues raised.
I was not surprised at all and will never back down and or shy away from ensuring the public is informed.
Lastly, readers are my bosses and not some self claimed media political advisors who think they know everything, but in fact are only making NCRA the worst ever government – well known for not listening to people.
I am not at all moved and will never have any reservations about who you professionally are.
By EDNAL PALMER