Government to recall Parliament to discuss Women's Seats

                                               By Jonathan Tannos - Post Courier
THE Government may have to move to recall Parliament for a special session before the November 16 Budget session.
Indications at this stage are that it will do so to pass the proposed 22 reserved seats for women candidates and its Supplementary Budget which are top of the priority list at this stage.
The Supplementary Budget Bill will total about K533 million and indications are that its 2011 budget is likely to achieve the K8 billion mark. The proposed K533 million supplementary budget was announced last week in the Highlands and Morobe by Finance and Treasury Minister, Peter O’Neill.

National Planning and Monitoring Minister Paul Tiensten and State Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare indicated last week that the 2011 budget would likely be around K8 billion.
A hitch though for the Government is that it currently does not have the 83 absolute majority required to pass the proposed women’s bill.
It will need about 12 of the Opposition’s votes to pass the bill.
Mr Tiensten, who is also the Leader of Government Business, has indicated that the women’s bill can be easily passed depending on the acquisition of the 83 required votes.
For the Government, he said that was in order but it needed the extra support which he said women and government leaders had to garner and convince the Opposition to give their votes.
Indications are that the Government could move to suspend Standing Orders to allow for both the first and second readings of the Women’s Bill with the third only a formality based on the support of the full House or at least the required 83 Members.
The Government has previously successfully moved for the suspension of Standing Orders to pass the controversial amendment to Section 27 of the Constitution relating to the referral powers of the Ombudsman Commission and the new Environment Act provisions. It believes it could do same for the Women’s Bill.
The Supplementary Bill is critical to the Government’s development budget and to fulfill obligations under memorandum of agreement (MOA) commitments, cover for shortfalls in maintenance of major transport and road infrastructure and other obligations relating to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) business and project grants.
The Government is facing opposition from landowner groups over failed promises under LNG project obligations, both under signed MOAs and commitments from the Landowner and Benefits Sharing Agreements it entered with them.
The Government has indicated that it would pass both the K533 million supplementary budget and its 2011 appropriation bill during the November session.



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