​No-confidence motion adjourned

The application filed by the Opposition on the no-confidence motion against the government was heard this morning in the Supreme Court before a three-man bench.

However, before the matter could go into whether the opposition had standing in the case, preliminary issues were brought before the court by lawyers representing Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Leader of Government Business James Marape and a member of the Parliamentary Committee on private business, William Powi.

The three leaders, through their lawyers, moved an application seeking to be added as additional parties in the case, saying they are directly affected in the motion filed by the opposition.

Parties in the case are Opposition Leader Don Polye while the Government’s principal legal advisor and Attorney-General Ano Pala, Parliament Speaker Theo Zurenuoc, Deputy Speaker Aide Ganasi and acting clerk of parliament Kala Aufa are respondents in the case.

They were identified as respondents who would have sufficient interest in the case by Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia during a directions hearing. The respondents were supposed to be served the application as ordered by the court but the court was told today that they were not served.

Lawyers for O’Neill, Marape and Powi submitted their clients had sufficient interest to intervene in the case as they were directly involved.

This application was refused and dismissed by the court.

 Sir Salamo, in giving a unanimous ruling on behalf of two his brother judges, said the interveners (parties wishing to enter case) do not have sufficient interest on the substantive matter.

The substantive matter is on the conduct of the acting speaker and the Parliamentary Committee in adjourning parliament to Aug 2 before the committee could decide on the fourth motion filed by the Opposition to move a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister.

The court however, allowed an application moved by lawyer representing the AG, Speaker, Acting Speaker, and acting clerk of parliament to adjourn the hearing.

The court allowed an adjournment to next Wednesday, July 6, for respondents to file affidavits in response to the application. Other parties also wishing to file further affidavits will be allowed to do so before close of business on July 5.

(Opposition leaders who were in court today.)


Sally Pokiton