By EDDIE OSIFELO
OPPOSITION Leader, Mathew Wale has commended Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare for inviting Governor General Sir David Vunagi to deliver the “speech from the through” at the opening of the current session of parliament.
Wale stated this yesterday when he provided his response to the speech.
“I don’t think any of us paid any attention to the existence of this Standing Order.
“In other commonwealth jurisdictions, of course, the Speech from the Throne is delivered at the commencement of each session of parliament,” he said.
Furthermore, Wale said the National constitution is very clear that a session of parliament is not longer than twenty four months.
“And meetings are held within a session of parliament.
“From this reading of the constitution, I take it that the Founding Fathers did not anticipate that a meeting of parliament would take an entire year, with the use of special adjournments. I would encourage the PM to study this and make full use of it,” he said.
Wale said this matter raises a constitutional issue that merits our attention.
“Section 72(2) of the Constitution requires that there are at least two sessions in the life of a parliament. And that each session is opened by proclamation by His Excellency under Section 72(1).
“A session dies a natural death on the expiry of twenty four months from its opening unless prorogued earlier by resolution of the House,” he said.
Wale said from this reading, it can be argued that the first session of parliament commenced in May 2019 with the election of the Speaker and will end after 24 months.
“We are technically in the dying stages of the first session of this parliament now.
“There are implications from this for parliamentary business. Generally speaking, parliamentary business that is outstanding from one session dies at the end of that session, and must therefore be reintroduced in the next session,” he said.
“Consequently, there would be implications for outstanding business from one session carried in the next session without being reintroduced properly.
“I wish to flag that now, as in years gone by, this matter was ignored and parliament carried on as if one session could last an entire four year term. But the constitution clearly does not allow for that,” he said.