Thursday, May 23, 2024

Revised OLIPPAC Consultation in 2023

By Solomon Puana
The process of consultation began long ago after the decision of Supreme Court in 2010 nullifying certain provisions in the OLIPPAC, 2003. The Registry started the consultation process in Port Moresby, Alotau and Kokopo. The consultations in Port Moresby involved experts in Politics and Law that generated a lot of discussions and ideas in revising the Organic Law.
In April 2012, a team was put together and led by late Dr. Alphonse Gelu who was the Registrar at that time. Other stakeholders included National Research Institute (NRI); Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG); University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG); Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC); the Office of State Solicitor; late Dr. Ray Anere; late Dr. Henry Okole; Mr. John Kouni; and late Mr. Paul Bengo (First Registrar). The team also gave opportunity to the Commissioners of the IPPCC and they are: late Sir Andrew Trawen; Mr. Nau Badu; Dr Orovu Sepoe; Mr. Simon Ila; and others, which included late Dr. Laurence Kalinoe; and the former Chief Secretary late Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc to give their views on the proposed revised OLIPPAC.
The proposed revised OLIPPAC was approved by the National Executive Council (NEC), however, it was not tabled and debated on the floor of Parliament for passage in 2014. In 2017 after the National General Election, the O’Neill-Abel Government made a commitment to reactivate the proposed revised OLIPPAC for tabling and passing in Parliament. The Registry responded immediately by taking on board the commitment and again undertook another consultation process on the proposed revised OLIPPAC.
In 2019 the Registry was requested by the Office of the State Solicitor to conduct a nation-wide OLIPPAC consultation before it gave legal clearance for it to be tabled and debated in Parliament. In this nation-wide consultation process, the Registry consulted 2 provinces per region and this included Western Highlands; Jiwaka; Madang; Morobe; Milne Bay; Central; East New Britain; and New Ireland Provinces. The consultation was conducted in the form of public forums and meetings which the teams met with two groups of people. The first one was the target groups, which was mostly comprised of the Provincial Administration or the Provincial Management Team (PMT) and the Civil Society and interest groups which included (Women, Youths, and people with special needs (disabilities), LLG ward Councilors and Presidents and the general public). The second one was the focus groups, mostly students from the Secondary Schools (especially Grade Twelves’) and the Tertiary Institutions such as the Universities and Colleges. In 2020 the proposed revised OLIPPAC Bill was once again gazzetted and submitted to Parliament for debate and passage. However, the proposed revised OLIPPAC Bill was never tabled, debated and passed in the 10th Parliament. In March 2023, the Marape – Rosso Government has now made commitment to revive the proposed revised OLIPPAC Bill again after two attempts of passage of the Organic Law.
As of late, the State Solicitor has informed the Registry that since the last gazzetted Proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill and the Proposed Revised OLIPPAC Bill 2020 have lapsed in the last Parliament. It is now necessary for a consultation to be undertaken again, but this time, only with the important key stakeholders who will be immediately affected by this law, which are: political parties; and the MP’s. Hence, this consultation will be focused on these two groups and intents to achieve the purpose of:
 Getting the executives of political parties and MPs to know about the OLIPPAC; and
 Getting the views of the political parties, their executives and MPs on the proposed changes to the OLIPPAC.

This will be the third attempt to get the proposed revised OLIPPAC passed by Parliament in this 11th Parliament.