Speech by Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP – Prime Minister Upon Election to Form Government

In the 10th Parliament of Papua New Guinea – 2 August 2017

Mr Speaker,

Firstly, may I congratulate you, on behalf of the House, on your election as Speaker of the Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea.

Mr. Speaker,

It is an honour to be elected by the Members of this Honourable House, and the people of our Nation, as Prime Minister.

We are proud to form the Government of the Tenth Parliament of Papua New Guinea.

Now that we have formed Government, we won’t be discouraging the views that are different to ours.

We want to encourage debate that will continue to unite our Nation.

We will be a Government that listens more, talks less and works harder at every opportunity.

We will be a Government that learns from its mistakes.

Mr. Speaker,

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate each and every Member who has been elected to this Honourable House.

To all Members of the last Parliament, who are no longer representatives in this House, I commend you on your service to our nation.

Mr. Speaker,

This year we have had a very vibrant elections.

While our elections are robust, their successful outcome is a demonstration of the strength of our democracy.

Yes, there have been challenges in this election, but this has also been the most peaceful elections in many parts of our country.

It has also been an enormous undertaking for election officials, scrutineers and members of our disciplinary forces, and everyone involved.

There have been difficulties at the administrative and organisational level.

This Government commits to a full review of electoral processes, that will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to share their views.

I commend the Electoral Commissioner, the Police Commissioner, and all staff involved in this effort.

I further thank election observers, international and domestic, for participating in this process.

Mr Speaker,

Over the past three months of this election, we have listened to our people.

They have spoken loudly through the ballot box.

And, as we form Government today, it is not a time to celebrate.

We are humble in victory given to us, and now we get back to work.

In Alotau, this week, Members of our Coalition have developed a Second Alotau Accord.

Under the theme “Strongim wok na Sindaun bilong ol Pipol,” we have agreed upon a substantial set of policies that will advance our Nation.

In Alotau, our Coalition agreed that the people of this Nation want a Government that will cater for their wellbeing through economic empowerment.

They want a Government that will delivery of quality services in education, healthcare and infrastructure.

And our people want improved security, and the highest level of good Governance and transparency.

We promise to continue improving the quality of our free education program, and to the continued expansion of universal healthcare.

We will build capacity in our disciplined services by strengthening their leadership, and we will further improve law and order around our country.

Our Government will maintain focus on the critical infrastructure in the country that must be delivered if we are to move our country forward in terms of development.

We will build and maintain more roads and highways, more hospitals, airports and sea ports, and other public infrastructure.

In this coming term of Government, we will extend further respect and responsibility to the provinces of our country.

We will facilitate greater decentralisation and autonomy, by devolving more power from Waigani to our districts and provinces.

These are all some of the central pillars that bind together the 84 commitments, that our Government makes to you, through the Second Alotau Accord.

Mr. Speaker,

Regardless of the outcome of this election, and regardless of where we sit on this floor of Parliament, our people and Nation’s interests must be our common goal.

No Government is ever perfect, no Government delivers policy without challenges.

In our last Government, we admit where we could have done things better – and we make improvements.

We will continue to be a Government that Governs for all citizens and not only for those who supported us.

We must unite all of our people for the betterment of our country.

There is no doubt that Papua New Guinea is changing – and it is changing for the better.

So this Government will continue to dream big, and to do our best for our people.

We will draw from our past and work harder for our future.

I congratulate all Members of Parliament who have been elected to this Honourable House.

I thank you for your support in electing our Government.

Again, let me stress, our doors are always open, we embrace your constructive views, and we look forward to your support as we advance our Nation’s interests.

Thank You.

Papua New Guinea re-elects prime minister in chaotic poll

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was re-elected as leader of the South Pacific island nation on Wednesday, following a complex, chaotic election plagued by violence and allegations of ballot fraud.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Elect
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Elect

The nation’s Parliament elected O’Neill to a second five-year term by a vote of 60 to 46, after his People’s National Congress party won enough seats to form a coalition government with other minor parties.

Polling in Papua New Guinea — a rugged, mountainous country that is considered one of the world’s most corrupt nations — is a lengthy, complicated process monitored by police and soldiers. Voting began in June, and counting took weeks. Along the way, violent protests broke out over allegations of vote-counting fraud and two police officers were killed. The election’s legality has already being challenged in court, and counting was still underway in several electorates even as O’Neill was being sworn in.

Still, the 52-year-old prime minister said he was pleased with the way the poll had been conducted, telling Parliament in a speech that it had been the most peaceful election ever held in many parts of the country.

“We’ve heard what the people have said in the elections, we’ve taken stock of it and we will do every bit to do it better,” he said.

It’s true that O’Neill’s re-election process was relatively placid compared to the way he initially came to power. In 2011, he replaced Prime Minister Michael Somare while Somare was in Singapore undergoing heart surgery. Both Somare and O’Neill then spent months claiming to be prime minister, setting off a constitutional crisis in which the Supreme Court backed Somare, while a majority of Parliament backed O’Neill.

O’Neill eventually won a mandate in a 2012 election, vowing to combat corruption in a country that ranked 136th among 176 nations last year in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.

But O’Neill’s attempts to clean up corruption in the country didn’t go particularly well. He disbanded his anti-corruption task force after it tried to execute an arrest warrant on him over allegations of fraud involving government payments made to a private law firm. The Supreme Court ordered that his arrest warrant not be executed, but many members of the public believed that O’Neill had placed himself above the law.

On Wednesday, O’Neill acknowledged in his speech to Parliament that no government is perfect, and vowed to make improvements.

The prime minister managed to stave off a challenge from opposition leader Don Polye, a 50-year-old former minister in O’Neill’s government and leader of the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party. Polye campaigned against what he dubbed the government’s economic mismanagement through burgeoning debt.

Papua New Guinea’s largest export is liquefied natural gas. The ExxonMobil-operated PNG LNG project began exporting to Japan in 2014, but many Papua New Guineans have asked where the revenue has gone.

Stephen Howes, a professor at Australian National University and a Papua New Guinea expert, said O’Neill’s immediate challenge will be addressing the country’s economic woes. He will also continue to face controversy. The election has already been challenged by an opposing candidate, who asked the Supreme Court to decide whether holding the vote on a Sunday breached the country’s constitution.

“I think he has a mandate, but the allegations of corruption won’t go away,” Howes said. “He’ll continue to be dogged by controversy.”

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/ 

Tomuriesa: PM Re-Election Shows Trust
Peter O'Neill, Papua New Guinea's prime minister, stands for a photograph in Sydney, Australia, Dec. 7, 2016.
Peter O’Neill, Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, stands for a photograph in Sydney, Australia, Dec. 7, 2016.

MP For Kiriwina-Goodenough Douglas Tomuriesa Says The Re-Election Of The Peter O’Neill As Prime Minister Is A Demonstration Of The Vote Of Confidence In His Leadership.

MP for Kiriwina-Goodenough Douglas Tomuriesa says the re-election of the Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister is a demonstration of the vote of confidence in his leadership.

Mr Tomuriesa said this will ensure there is continuity of the work that Mr O’Neill and the previous government had carried out in the past five years. “I thank the people of PNG who have seen the confidence in the government of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill,” he said.

“I think it is important for continuity. I think it is also important that our partners and the business organisations can find confidence that the government can continue in the programs.”

Mr Tomuriesa said despite the country facing tough times economically, stability is needed to move forward.

“Papua New Guinea is going through a lot of tough times, speaking economically and other factors that are affecting our country. But we know that stability is important for us to continue,” Mr Tomuriesa said.