CDI Supports PNG Parliament with MP Induction Program
CDI assisted the Clerk of Parliament and the Parliamentary Service of the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea in organising and running an induction program for Members of Parliament following the 2007 national elections. The induction was held over three days from 14 to 16 August 2007. The induction followed on from the first meeting of the 8th National Parliament on Monday 13 August 2007 during which the Speaker and Prime Minister were elected.
Hon. Kevin Rozzoli, a former Speaker in the New South Wales Parliament, and CDI Deputy Director, Mr Quinton Clements, provided the technical assistance and advice to the Clerk of Parliament, Mr Don Pandan, and the Induction Program Core Team in planning and running the induction. The United Nations Development Programme Parliamentary Support Project in PNG provided support to the Parliamentary Service and CDI for this important activity.
The first two days of the induction were held in the parliamentary chamber and the final day was held in the State Function Room of Parliament House. The induction was officially opened by HE Grand Chief Sir Paulias Matane GCL GCMG K.St.J, Governor General of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. Of the 108 sitting Members, just under 100 attended the three day induction program. All of the new Members of Parliament and a majority of re-elected Members attended each day.
The first day of the induction was focused on providing Members with an overview of the Parliamentary Service - its structure and size, the role and functions of its various Divisions, and the type of support and services provided to Members. Members received comprehensive briefings from various parliamentary officers including the Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr Lalai Vali, the Director of Inter-Parliamentary Relations, Mr John Balagetuna, and the Principal Hansard Reporter, Mrs Sarufa Haro. Director of the National Research Institute (NRI), Dr Thomas Webster, gave a presentation on the type of research support NRI can provide to parliamentary committees and Members as well as an overview of the main development issues affecting PNG that the new Parliament will need to address. This was followed by presentations on the 'Role of the Opposition' by former Opposition Leader, Mr Bernard Narokobi, and working with the media by the President of the PNG Media Council, Mr Oseah Philemon.
The second day was devoted to a mock session of the Parliament. Members were taken through the practice and procedure of the House as outlined in the Standing Orders and role played a typical sitting day. Following this, Dame Carol Kidu MP, the only female Member, gave a presentation on the role of a Member and managing constituent expectations. The Hon Kevin Rozzoli then spoke on the Australian experience of being an MP. The last part of Day 2 focused on the finance and administration of the Parliament and the entitlements and retirement benefits of Members.
The third day focused on leadership obligations and rules relating to MPs behaviour in office. Presentations were provided by the Ombudsman Commission, the Registrar of Political Parties, the Electoral Commissioner, Transparency International and the Auditor-General.
In addition to the presentations, all Members received copies of the Constitution, Standing Orders, relevant Acts and Organic Laws, a Handbook on parliamentary procedure and practice and a Guide to the Parliamentary Service.
Feedback from Members, including evaluation responses, has been overwhelmingly positive. Members were impressed by the organisation of the induction and the comprehensive coverage of key issues, and found the induction to be an extremely useful start to the new Parliament. A key objective of the induction was to also build up the capacity of the Parliamentary Service by organising a successful induction and thereby instilling confidence in the parliamentary staff to raise the standards of service they provide to MPs.
The official opening of the new Parliament by the Head of State will be on 18 September 2007. CDI will follow-up the success of the induction and the enthusiastic response of MPs with a two day workshop on parliamentary committees once the committees have been appointed later this year.
Click on these links for the full program, report, and PNG newspaper coverage of the event: