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PNG Constitutional Planning Committee Report 1974
Constitutional Planning Committee Report 1974
1. The Committee proposes that the first part of our Constitution should include an article which states:
"Power belongs to the people and it shall be exercised in accordance with this Constitution."
We believe it is important to make clear in this way that the power exercised under the Constitution is derived from the people. In the great majority of the societies that make up our nation, it was from the people rather than from kings or chiefs that power was taken by the colonial rulers. It is therefore appropriate that it be the people to whom that power should now be returned. The principle that power derives from the people provides the basis of the Constitution.
2. In Chapter 6 we outlined the provisions we proposed for the National Parliament, the body of elected representatives of the people which will exercise the power to make laws for our country. We are concerned here with the power to administer the country in accordance with those laws - that is, the executive power of Papua New Guinea.
Where should executive power lie?
3. It is important in a constitution to say where executive power lies. In accordance with the practice of most of our societies, in which decisions are made by a group, we propose that the executive power of Papua New Guinea be vested in the National Executive Council. This is the name we have chosen for the group of Ministers who, collectively, will administer the country and be responsible for this work to the National Parliament.
4. In reaching this conclusion, we have given consideration to other possibilities - especially the more usual practice of vesting executive power in one person. We believe that this would be contrary to the customs of our people. Also, it has usually occurred elsewhere for historical reasons that have little or no relevance at all to the circumstances of the present day. Thus, in some countries in earlier times, one man became the unchallenged king, usually as a result of conquest, although he often claimed that his power came from a god or gods. In more recent times, the founders of some states have created the position of president as a kind of substitute for a king. Like the king of former years, he too exercises executive power alone.
5. Many countries, however, have kept kings and queens and their representatives, such as governors-general, or else replaced them with presidents who have been given a similar role, long after they have lost effective power. With the growth of democratic systems of government, real executive power is no longer exercised by them, but governments elected by the people. The constitutions of those countries say that the kings or queens or presidents must do what the elected governments tell them to do.
6. We believe that there is no reason why the people of Papua New Guinea should have to adopt this foreign idea. Neither kings and queens, nor governors-general or presidents, have any traditional place in our societies. This does not mean, of course, that we should not accept the British monarch, at present Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth. If Papua New Guinea joins the Commonwealth we would still wish to show her our respect and affection, and to welcome her and her family with our traditional hospitality. But that is a different thing from actually vesting the executive power of Papua New Guinea in the Queen, in her representative or in a president, as Head of State.
7. The case for a separate Head of State is sometimes associated with the view that too much power should not be placed in the hands of the elected Head of Government. We have found that this view is widespread among our people; it has influenced the great majority who have expressed an opinion on the matter to reject the idea of Papua New Guinea having an executive-type president. We share this view. However, we believe that in order to avoid a concentration of power in one man, it is neither necessary nor desirable to establish a new separate Head of State to act either as a representative of, or as a substitute for, a king or queen.
8. There is little evidence to suggest that the mere existence of a separate Head of State provides any obstacle to the emergence of a dictatorial Prime Minister. On the other hand there is evidence which suggests that to divide executive power between a Head of State and a Prime Minister - or even to leave a vague area of discretion to the Head of State - is to risk a serious conflict between them, resulting in a constitutional crisis which may be resolved by one or the other seizing power.
9. Two things are thus quite clear. A separate Head of State has little relevance to the cultural heritage of our people, and, in any case, the existence of such a person can be no real safeguard against too much power being exercised by the Head of Government. To guard against that possibility, we recommend that there be collective leadership in the Executive - as was suggested to us by people in various parts of the country - and that a truly effective legislature be established.
10. We have not overlooked other arguments that are sometimes put forward in favour of a separate Head of State. One of these is that a Head of State helps to symbolize national unity. We recognize that this may be true of nations which have their own king or queen, but this has often been achieved only after a long period, perhaps centuries, during which the people as a whole have come to forget the regional or foreign origins of the royal dynasty, and the battles or wars that gained it ascendancy. There is no historical basis for anything of this nature in Papua New Guinea. Moreover, experience elsewhere in the Commonwealth indicates that a Governor-General acting for the Queen is unlikely to be an acceptable alternative. In few of those nations comparable to our own has such an arrangement lasted for long. Furthermore, were we to opt for a Presidential substitute, we would be creating an additional institution which, having no traditional roots, would need to gain acceptance among our diverse peoples. It is quite possible that the installing of a titular or ceremonial President would have a divisive rather than a unifying effect in
Papua New Guinea.
11. It has been suggested to us that a mature and experienced person as a separate Head of State could act as a arbiter in constitutional disputes, or at least provide a source of advice to the Prime Minister in difficult times. We prefer to have constitutional disputes, or at least provide a source of advice to the Prime Minister in difficult times. We prefer to have constitutional matters dealt with as part of the political process - for example, in discussions or negotiations among Ministers and Parliamentary leaders, or in Parliamentary debate - or, in the last resort, by a constitutional court, rather than by a kind of father figure, whose won legitimacy may not be widely accepted.
12. Another argument put forward is that a separate Head of State could relieve the Prime Minister of some of the burdens of State ceremonial duties - such as giving speeches, laying foundation stones, opening new buildings and shows, and so on. But such duties, we believe, can and should be shared among the various Ministers and, for example, the Speaker as representative of the Parliament - a practice which would again emphasize the collective nature of our national leadership.
13. Finally, it is suggested that a separate Head of State would provide a degree of continuity in government, especially when there are political changes. We feel that the advantage of this can also be overstated: even titular Presidents are appointed for a set term, often 5 years. We have taken particular care in our recommendations to ensure an orderly transfer of power when political fortunes change.
14. We have therefore concluded that as there is no clearly demonstrable need for a Head of State, we should not create one merely because it is the usual thing to do. We believe that our proposal for vesting executive power in the National Executive Council, which comprises all Ministers, is most appropriate to our country.
15. There are a few very specific executive functions which we propose should be vested in persons or bodies other than the National Executive Council, and which shall be performed strictly in accordance with the Constitution. In the case of the Speaker (mentioned below) these functions do not allow him to exercise any personal discretion.
16. Our recommendations envisage that the Head of Government, whom we propose should have the title of Prime Minister, will be the leader of the group of Ministers - the first among equals. As outlined below, separate provisions are therefore recommended in regard to his appointment and powers.
17. In order to ensure that decisions are in fact made collectively, we have proposed basic rules of procedure or meetings of the National Executive Council. In normal circumstances, executive decisions should be made only after due consideration and by at lest a minimum number of Ministers. We have therefore recommended that a submission to the National Executive Council should be circulated to all Ministers at least two weeks before any decision on it is made. Decisions of the Council must also be made by not less than one-third of the Ministers. This should reinforce the concept of collective responsibility. The same principle leads us to recommend that full minutes of proceedings be kept and distributed to Ministers. They must have a clear record of the decisions for which they are collectively responsible. Our recommendations include procedures which may be adopted whenever urgent action by the Council is required.
18. We propose also the establishment of a Secretariat with specific responsibilities to be carried out under the direction of the Prime Minister. Not least among its functions should be that of following up the decisions of the Council so as to ensure that they are implemented without undue delay and that, where appropriate, there is the necessary degree of co-operation. If there are second thoughts about some decisions, they should be brought up again for review, not merely set aside by an individual Minister or Department.
19. We have recommended the adoption of these provisions so that Ministers will have clear guidelines as to the way the business of the National Executive Council should be conducted. But the Prime Minister would be responsible for ensuring that constitutional procedures in relation to the Council are followed, and any disputes arising would be settled within the Council itself, not by the Courts. The procedures will be non-justiciable.
20. Nevertheless, we wish to draw attention to the fact that we have not proposed a two-tier system of Cabinet plus an Executive Council (of the Australian type) for purely formal decisions, such as the making of regulations under statute law. A future government might decide to establish, by informal means, an "inner cabinet". It would be difficult to preclude this by law and, in any case, there may be circumstances in which such a course is seen as desirable. We wish here to emphasize, however, that it would be contrary to the spirit of the Committee's proposals if the role of the National Executive Council were to become purely formal so that the Council did not in fact make policy.
21. In setting the minimum and maximum number of Ministers we have taken into account several factors in addition to the general one of efficiency. We propose a minimum of 15 ministers. This would allow a smaller ministry than at present, should circumstances warrant it, while at the same time allowing a reasonably representative spread. We propose a maximum equal to one-quarter of the total membership of the Parliament, effectively 25-27, so as to preclude the possibility of the executive becoming so large as to dominate the legislature.
22. However, we have also been conscious of the need to discourage any unnecessary increase in the number of ministers beyond the present 20. We take this view both because of the expense involved and because the introduction of provincial governments might be executed to reduce the workload on some ministers in the future. We therefore propose that any increase in the number beyond 20 should require the approval of the Parliament by resolution passed by an absolute majority.
23. We propose that the Prime Minister and other Ministers should all be chosen from among members of the National Parliament. We have considered the possibility of allowing some Ministers to be nominated from outside the Parliament in order for example, to obtain the services of persons with particular professional skills. However, as indicated in Chapter 6, we have concluded that the elective principle should not be contravened and we have found little public support for including a provision of this nature. Meanwhile, arrangements can conveniently be made to have specialist advisers available as required when Parliament is sitting.
24. We believe, however, that the present system by which Ministers are nominated by a special committee of the House, and the Ministers in turn choose the Chief Minister from their own number, has outlived its purpose, and that the disadvantages of such a cumbersome procedure have become increasingly apparent. We have therefore sought an elective procedure which will directly involve the Parliament and yet cope with a possibly fluid political situation.
25. We recommend that the Parliament itself should elect the Prime Minister by means of an ordinary resolution when Parliament meets after a general election. If a vacancy occurs at other times the election of a new Prime Minister by the same procedure would take place at the next sitting if Parliament is in session, or, if it is not, at a meeting to be convened within fourteen days of the vacancy.
26. It is unlikely, but nevertheless possible, that no motion designating a member as Prime Minister will gain majority support when the Parliament first takes up the question. To cover this possibility, we propose that adjournments of up to three sitting days at a time be allowed for further political negotiations.
27. This system should work satisfactorily in a variety of circumstances - whether there be a number of parties, none at all, or only one party. If any party or coalition of parties has an effective majority, it will have no difficulty in seeing that its leader is elected. If no such party or coalition has a majority, the Parliament might elect the leader of the largest group, and it would then be up to him to form either a minority government or to try to create a majority through choosing a particular combination of Ministers. Our proposal allows for a maximum of flexibility.
29. We propose that the Prime Minister be empowered to choose the other Ministers from within the Parliament, and to allocate portfolios among them. Similarly, he would have the power to remove a Minister and to reshuffle portfolios. To actual appointment of Ministers and the revocation of their appointments would be by the Speaker, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister. (He must follow this advice; he has no discretion in this and similar matters).
30. These proposals should help to ensure that a Ministry which is formed is reasonably cohesive and works as a team. The formal powers they provide for the Prime Minister are common in parliamentary systems. However the extent to which the Prime Minister, in actual practice, has a free hand in choosing or changing the Ministry would depend on prevailing political circumstances.
31. These circumstances could vary considerably but, where there is a party system in operation, they would include:
(a) whether the Prime Minister's party has the numbers to form a government alone or needs the support of other parties in a coalition;
(b) whether the party or parties which form the government have adopted formal rules which either permit the Prime Minister alone to choose the Ministers or require them to be elected by all the parliamentary representatives of the party or parties concerned (sometimes where the latter rule applies the Prime Minister alone is given the right to allocate portfolios); and
(c) whether the Prime Minister has achieved such personal dominance in his party, or perhaps in the Parliament as a whole, that his own decisions in this matter are accepted without question. The degree of personal dominance achieved by a Prime Minister would, of course, be a vital factor whether or not there is a party system.
By their nature these factors arise from the political process and can not be provided for by the Constitution.
32. We recognise that, in certain political circumstances, a newly elected Prime Minister might require additional time to negotiate the formation of a Ministry. We have provided for this situation. Thus, if the Prime Minister is unable, immediately following his appointment, to nominate at least the minimum number of Ministers required for the National Executive Council (that is, 15), we recommend that the Speaker, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, adjourn the Parliament for up to three sitting days. When Parliament resumes, the Prime Minister would either nominate his Ministers or, if negotiations have proved difficult or are not concluded, he might seek a further adjournment). It would rest with Parliament as to whether the Prime Minister's request is agreed to, but if it is not, members would have the right to move for his replacement. This should provide a deterrent against undue delays in the formation of the Ministry, and also a check on the powers of the Prime Minister during these periods when he may act alone in place of the National Executive Council.
33. We have found that it is widely held opinion among our people that Parliament should have the power to require the removal of an individual Minister. We agree with this view, but to avoid undermining the principle of collective responsibility - that is, that the Ministers accept joint responsibilities for matters of policy - we recommend that an individual Minister may be removed on two grounds only:
(1) inability to perform his duties, "arising from infirmity of body or mind"; and
(2) "misbehaviour", which should be interpreted as meaning gross personal misbehaviour regarded as unfitting to his office.
34. Certain safeguards are included in this proposal. No motion for the removal of a Minister may be moved unless -
§ it is signed by at least one-tenth of the members of Parliament;
§ it is supported by a majority of the First Parliamentary Committee in a report to the Parliament; and
§ one week's notice of the motion is given.
In addition, to be successful, the motion must be passed by an absolute majority - that is, by over half of the total membership of the Parliament.
35. We have taken particular care to provide for procedures to ensure that the country has a national government at all times. Thus, during the period when Parliament is dissolved and there is a general election, the National Executive Council stays in office until either the present Prime Minister or a successor is appointed following his election by the new Parliament. Whoever becomes Prime Minister would then have the right to construct a new Ministry. He may or may not choose any of the former Ministers. These procedures are similar to those found in most parliamentary systems.
36. We have provided separately, in paragraphs 38 and 39 below, for the procedures to be followed should there be a vacancy in the office of Prime Minister arising, for example from the death or resignation of the incumbent. However, it would be possible for all Ministers to resign so that, in effect, there is a resignation by the National Executive Council as a whole. A government might decide to do this if the Parliament rejects its Budget or other major legislation, but it need not necessarily do so. We have made specific provision for Parliament to replace a government that appears to have lost majority support, but we expect that Parliament itself will involve its own convention in respect of the circumstances in which a government ought to resign. If the Ministry as a whole does resign, we propose that the resignations take effect from the time of the appointment of a new Prime Minister following his election by Parliament.
37. The election of a new Prime Minister in these circumstances would take place at the next sitting of Parliament, although we have provided for the possibility of adjournments in paragraph 26. If Parliament is not meeting at the time, it must be convened by the Speaker within fourteen days. Until the appointment of a new Prime Minister, the outgoing government would remain in office in a "caretaker" capacity - that is, it would not embark on any major policy initiative during that period. In this latter respect, the arrangement would be like that existing during the period of a general election, when a government would be expected to exercise similar restraint.
38. We recommend that when the Prime Minister advises the Speaker on the appointment of Ministers, he designates the Deputy Prime Minister, to act as a subsequent deputy if required, the Senior Minister, and that they be appointed accordingly. If a vacancy arises in the office of Prime Minister - for example, from death or resignation - the Deputy Prime Minister automatically acts in his place until a successor is appointed following an election by Parliament. Should, however, there be a vacancy at that time in the office of Deputy Prime Minister also, then the Senior Minister shall act.
39. As in paragraph 37, the election of a new Prime Minister would take place at the next sitting of Parliament after the vacancy occurs, with the possibility of adjournments provided for in paragraph 26. If Parliament is not meeting at the time, it must be convened by the Speaker within fourteen days. However, should the vacancy occur when the Parliament is dissolved, the Acting Prime Minister would stay in office until a new Prime Minister is appointed after the general election.
40. Arrangement shave also been set out for the delegation of responsibilities to the Deputy Prime Minister (or Senior Minister) in the absence or incapacity of the Prime Minister, including the procedure to be followed should the Prime Minister be incapacitated to the extent that he is unable himself to effect such a delegation.
43. One of the major principles in our recommendations for the National Executive Council is that it should be responsible to the National Parliament. Basically this means that Ministers are individually and collectively answerable to members of the parliament for their executive actions and policies, including the work of their Departments. Ultimately, however, it means that Parliament must be able to change the government.
42. For the first three years of the Parliament's term we propose an adaptation of what has been called the "constructive vote of no confidence". Under this procedure, a vote of no confidence in the National Executive Council may be moved if it has been signed by one-tenth of the members and at least one week's notice has been given. To be successful, it must be passed by an absolute majority of the Parliament.
43. In addition we propose two further conditions. First, in order to ensure some stability in government, such a motion may not be moved unless the Prime Minister has been in office for at least six months. In practice this is likely to mean that if the Parliament is dissatisfied with the government, it may try to change it at the second meeting after the one at which it comes into office. The government should therefore have at least one meeting of Parliament in between in order to show something of its legislative programme.
44. The second condition provides the basis for the description "constructive vote of no confidence". Such a motion may be moved only if it concludes the name of the proposed successor to the Prime Minister. If the motion is successful, it thereby incorporates the election of a new Prime Minister. Accordingly, the Speaker revokes the appointment of the defeated Prime Minister and appoints his named successor, who is then free to choose his own ministry.
45. There are four main advantages in this procedure. Firstly, it reduces the element of uncertainty that might follow the fall of a government; one Prime Minister automatically gives way to another. Secondly, it ensures that the Speaker does not exercise any discretion as to who should be appointed to succeed the outgoing Prime Minister. Thirdly, the Parliament has a real choice; members know who will become Prime Minister if the motion is successful. Fourthly, it should ensure that a motion of no confidence is moved in all seriousness. It would still be open to the Parliament to register its strong opposition to, or dissatisfaction with, a particular government policy or action by adopting a motion that falls short of one of no confidence - such as a motion of censure.
46. We propose that a general system of government departments be maintained. Accordingly, we have provided for each department to be under the direction and control of a Minister and, subject to that direction and control, under the supervision of a Head of Department. The method of appointment, tenure and certain other conditions of service of Heads of Departments are included separately in Chapter 12, "The Public Services".
47. We do not feel, however, that the present organisation of departments is appropriate to our new nation. We therefore recommend that the distribution of functions between departments be rationalized so as to facilitate the efficient conduct of government in light of the real needs of our people.
48. In any view of the administrative structure it will be necessary to take into account the introduction of a system of provincial government along the lines proposed in Chapter 6. Effective decentralization will require fundamental changes.
49. In many countries it has been found necessary or desirable to provide Ministers with able and well qualified research and advisory staff to assist them in formulating their policies and evaluating proposals submitted by their departments. Personal staff of this kind are appointed by the Minister concerned for the term of his office and are directly responsible to him.
50. Such arrangements, in one form or another, exist in many countries. They are particularly important in times of change - when new governments come to power, or when a people elect their own government to take over from a colonial administration. In either case, Ministers normally wish to implement a range of new policies which may involve fundamental changes. But they are often hampered by their lack of familiarity with administrative organisation and procedures. They may also have difficulty in competing with the expertise of the bureaucrats.
51. There is at present legislative authority for the personal staff of Ministers, but it is rather restrictive in terms both of the numbers of staff allowed and of the levels at which they may be appointed. We believe that if these staffs are to be effective, Ministers must have the opportunity to select able and well qualified people.
52. In addition to our recommendation of principle which provides for the establishment of a secretariat by the Prime Minister and by each other Minister, we have therefore also recommended the initial maximum establishments which should be provided for in legislation. These allow up to six research and advisory officers (other than secretarial assistants) for the Prime Minister and up to four for each of the other Ministers. The actual establishment for each Minister should be scaled according to the nature and extent of his responsibilities.
53. The levels of appointment we recommend will enable Ministers to select people of high calibre either by way of secondment from the public services or by appointment from outside. We wish to emphasize, however, that the purpose of our proposals would be undermined and public funds wasted if people chosen do not have the experience or qualifications to merit appointment at the levels proposed.
54. We have recommended also that similar changes to be made in respect of the personal staff of the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who are included in the present legislation providing for Ministerial staff.
55. In Chapter 6 on the Legislature, we have proposed that all members of the present House of Assembly should retain their seats in what will become our new National Parliament until the next general election in 1976. In addition, however, we have proposed that, at the first meeting of the Parliament after the Constitution comes into force, there should be an election for the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker as if it were the first meeting after a general election under the Constitution. We recommend here that, at the same meeting, the Prime Minister should also be elected, and subsequently the Deputy Prime Minister, Senior Minister and other Ministers appointed, and portfolios allocated, under the Constitution.
56. We believe that it is important that the people are able to see the new Constitution which they have helped to make actually in operation. As much as possible of the Constitution should therefore be brought into force at the outset.
1. There shall be a National Executive Council comprising the Prime Minister and the other Ministers (including a Deputy Prime Minister and a Senior Minister) appointed in accordance with the Constitution.
2. The total number of Ministers comprising the National Executive Council shall be not less than fifteen nor more than one-quarter of the membership of the National Parliament, provided that there shall not be more than twenty Ministers unless a greater number is approved in a resolution passed by an absolute majority of the National Parliament.
3. Except as otherwise provided in the Constitution, the executive power of Papua New Guinea shall be vested in the National Executive Council and shall be exercised either by that Council directly or through members of that Council or officers subordinate to it.
4. The National Executive Council shall be collectively responsible to the National Parliament.
5. Subject to the Constitution, nothing shall prevent the National Parliament from conferring executive functions on persons or authorities other than the National Executive Council.
6. The National Executive Council shall be summoned by the Prime Minister or, in his absence, the Deputy Prime Minister, or, if he is absent also, by the Senior Minister.
7. Whenever present, the Prime Minister shall preside at meetings of the National Executive Council. In his absence the Deputy Prime Minister shall preside, or, if he is absent also, the Senior Minister shall preside.
8. (1) Subject to clause (2) below, the quorum for meetings of the National Executive Council shall be not less than one-third of the total number of Minister.
(2) (a) If, in the opinion of the Prime Minister or Acting Prime Minister as the case may be, an extraordinary situation has arisen or appears imminent which requires urgent consideration by the National Executive Council, the Council may meet with a quorum of five Ministers including the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or Acting Prime Minister; and
(b) Any decisions made at a meeting held under (a) shall be ratified by the National Executive Council with the quorum provided for in (1) above as soon as practicable, but anything done in accordance with a decision made by the National Executive Council under (a) prior to ratification shall not be questioned in any court.
9. (1) If requested by two or more Ministers, a decision of the National Executive Council shall be taken by vote.
(2) In the case of a decision taken by vote under (1),
(a) the Prime Minister shall have a deliberative and a casting vote, but if the Deputy Prime Minister or Senior Minister is presiding, he shall have a deliberative vote only; and
(b) in the event of an equality of votes on a question that is not resolved by the Prime Minister's casting vote, the question shall stand adjourned until the next meeting of the National Executive Council at which the Prime Minister is present.
10. A decision shall not be taken on any matter unless a written submission in respect of that matter has been delivered to Ministers at least fourteen days prior to the meeting at which the decision is to be made,
provided that this requirement may be waived if the Council so agrees by resolution at the meeting concerned.
11. There shall be a Secretary to the National Executive Council, who shall be responsible to the Prime Minister and whose manner of appointment, tenure and other conditions of service shall be identical to those of Heads of Departments.
12. The Secretary to the National Executive Council shall have charge of the Council secretariat and shall be responsible, in accordance with instructions given to him by the Prime Minister, for -
(a) arranging the business for, and keeping full minutes of, the meetings of the National Executive Council;
(b) conveying a copy of those minutes to each Minister, and of the decisions to any other appropriate person or authority; and
(c) following up National Executive Council decisions to ensure that they are implemented; and he shall have such other functions as the Prime Minister may from time to time direct.
13. (1) The Prime Minister shall be responsible for ensuring that constitutional procedures in relation to the National Executive Council, as provided for in recommendations 6-12 inclusive, are carried out.
(2) With the exception of recommendation 11 above, these procedures shall not be subject to proceedings in any court.
(3) Subject to the Constitution, the National Executive Council may regulate its own procedure.
14. The Prime Minister shall be elected by ordinary resolution of the National Parliament from among members of the Parliament -
(a) as the next item of business after the election, appointment and swearing in of the Speaker in the first meeting of the Parliament following a general election,
provided that the Parliament may be adjourned and the election deferred for up to three sitting days at a time if the Parliament so resolves; or
(b) in the case of a vacancy, as is provided in recommendation 21 below.
15. Following his election by the National Parliament, the Prime Minister shall be formally appointed and sworn into office by the Speaker.
16. (1) The Speaker, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, shall appoint the Deputy Prime Minister, Senior Minister and other Ministers from among the members of the National Parliament.
(2) (a) if the Prime Minister is unable, immediately following his appointment, to nominate at least the minimum number of Ministers required for the National Executive Council under 2 above, the Speaker shall, in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, adjourn the National Parliament for a period of up to three sitting days;
(b) on the resumption of the Parliament, the Prime Minister shall either -
(i) nominate at least the required number of Ministers, or
(ii) move a motion for an adjournment of the Parliament for a further period of up to three sitting days.
(c) if a motion for adjournment moved under paragraph (b) above, is not passed by the Parliament, a motion for the removal of the Prime Minister, in which a new Prime Minister is designated, may then be moved;
(d) if a motion for the removal of the Prime Minister under (c) above, is not moved or passed, the Speaker shall adjourn the Parliament for a further three sitting days;
(e) on the resumption of the Parliament, the procedure under clauses (b), (c) and (d) above shall be repeated as necessary; and
(f) if the appointment of Ministers is deferred under this recommendation, the Prime Minister shall have the power to act in place of the National Executive Council for the period of the deferment.
17. The Ministers shall be chosen mainly on the basis of their ability and integrity, but with due regard also to party affiliation and to the need for the Ministry to be broadly representative of the various areas of the country.
18. The Prime Minister may, by written direction which he has signed -
(a) allocate to any Minister the responsibility for any Government Department or subject; and
(b) revoke or vary any direction given under this provision;
and he may retain the responsibility for any Department or subject.
19. The Speaker shall revoke the appointment of the Prime Minister -
(a) if he ceases to be a member of the National Parliament for any reason other than that there has been a dissolution of the Parliament;
(b) if he delivers to the Speaker a signed letter of resignation from that office;
(c) if another person is elected Prime Minister at the first meeting of the National Parliament following a general election;
(d) if a motion of no confidence in the National Executive Council in which a new Prime Minister is designated is passed by an absolute majority of the National Parliament under recommendation 20 below;
(e) if a motion for the removal of the Prime Minister from office, in which a new Prime Minister is designated is passed by -
(i) a simple majority of the National Parliament under recommendation 16 (2) (c) above, or
(ii) an absolute majority of the National Parliament under recommendation 25 (2) below.
(f) if his removal from office is ordered by the tribunal provided for in Part E of Chapter 8 as a result of a breach of the Leadership Code.
20. A motion of no confidence in the National Executive Council may be moved in the National Parliament only if -
(a) a period of six months has elapsed since the Prime Minister's appointment;
(b) the motion is signed by at least one-tenth of the total membership of the Parliament;
(c) at least one week's prior notice of the intention to move such a motion has been given; and
(d) in the case of a motion moved within the first three years of the term of Parliament, that motion also designates a proposed successor to the Prime Minister.
21. (1) Subject to recommendation 22 below, if a vacancy occurs in the office of Prime Minister due to -
(a) his ceasing to be a member of the National Parliament for any reason other than that there has been a dissolution of the Parliament;
(b) his resignation from that office; or
(c) his removal from office as a result of a breach of the Leadership Code;
there shall be an election of a new Prime Minister by ordinary resolution of the Parliament as provided for in clause (2) below.
(2) (a) if a vacancy under clause (1) occurs during the period of a meeting of the National Parliament, the first item of business at the next sitting of the Parliament after the vacancy occurs shall be the election of a new Prime Minister -
provided that the election may be deferred for up to three sitting days at a time if the Parliament so resolves;
(b) if a vacancy under clause (1) occurs at a time when the National Parliament is not meeting, if the Parliament is not due to meet within fourteen days of the vacancy occurring the Speaker shall convene a meeting of the Parliament not earlier than seven days nor later than fourteen days after the vacancy occurs, and the first item of business at the first sitting of the Parliament at that meeting shall be the election of a new Prime Minister,
provided that the election may be deferred for up to three sitting days at a time if the Parliament so resolves; and
(c) if a vacancy under clause (1) occurs when the National Parliament is dissolved, the election of a new Prime Minister shall take place at the first meeting of the Parliament following the general election in accordance with recommendation 14 above.
(3) If a vacancy occurs under clause (1) above, the Deputy Prime Minister shall act as Prime Minister until a new Prime Minister is elected under clause (2) above, or, if there is a vacancy also in the office of Deputy Prime Minister, the Senior Minister shall so act.
22. If at any time the Prime Minister and the other Ministers resign together under recommendation 19 (b) above and 27 (b) below respectively, their resignations shall be effective only from the time of the appointment of a new Prime Minister in accordance with recommendation 21 (2) above, and the Speaker shall not revoke their respective appointments until then.
23. The Prime Minister -
(a) shall empower the Deputy Prime Minister, in a signed letter, to act on his behalf when he is absent from Papua New Guinea; and
(b) may empower the Deputy Prime Minister, in a signed letter, to act on his behalf -
(i) when he is within Papua New Guinea but likely to be out of effective and prompt communication with his office;
(ii) when he is ill or otherwise incapacitated; or
(iii) as otherwise authorised by law.
24. Subject to 25 below, the Deputy Prime Minister shall act on behalf of the Prime Minister -
(a) when empowered in a written document signed by the Prime Minister to do so;
(b) when the National Executive Council, after considering a written report signed by two medical practitioners, has resolved that the Prime Minister is physically or mentally incapable of performing the tasks of his office; or
(c) in an emergency situation, when effective communication with the Prime Minister is impossible.
25. (1) If it appears to the National Executive Council that the Prime Minister may not be able to resume the duties of his office within three months of the Deputy Prime Minister assuming his duties under recommendation 24 (b) above, the National Executive Council may fix a time at which the Speaker shall summon the National Parliament in accordance with the Constitution and shall report on the situation on the first day of the Parliament's meeting;
but in any event, the Speaker shall summon the National Parliament to meet within fourteen days of the expiration of a period of three months after the Deputy Prime Minister has assumed the duties of the Prime Minister under recommendation 24 (b) above;
and the first item of business at any meeting of the National Parliament called under this provision shall be consideration of whether the Deputy Prime Minister shall continue to act on behalf of the Prime Minister for a further period of not more than three months.
(2) In the circumstances provided for in clause (1) above, a motion for the removal of the Prime Minister and designating his successor may be moved at any time - provided that
(a) the motion is signed by at least one-tenth of the total membership of the Parliament; and
(b) at least one week's prior notice of the intention to move such a motion is given.
26. Whenever possible, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister should not travel together in the same aircraft, vessel or vehicle.
27. The Speaker shall revoke the appointment of a Minister (other than the Prime Minister) -
(a) if that Minister ceases to be a member of the National Parliament for any reason other than that there is a dissolution of the Parliament;
(b) upon receipt from that Minister of a signed letter of resignation from his office, which shall be delivered to the Prime Minister for transmission to the Speaker within seven days, unless the letter is withdrawn by agreement between the Prime Minister and the Minister concerned;
(c) upon the appointment or reappointment of a Prime Minister;
(d) if so advised by the Prime Minister;
(e) if a motion for the removal of that Minister from office is passed by an absolute majority of the National Parliament under recommendation 28 below; and
(f) if his removal from office is ordered by the tribunal provided for in Part E of Chapter 8, as a result of a breach of the Leadership Code.
28. A motion for the removal of a Minister (other than the Prime Minister) may be moved in the National Parliament only on the grounds of inability to perform the functions of his office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind, or misbehaviour, and if -
(a) the motion is signed by at least one-tenth of the total membership of the Parliament;
(b) the motion is supported by a majority of the First Parliamentary Committee in a report to the Parliament; and
(c) at least one week's prior notice of the intention to move such a motion is given.
29. Where the Prime Minister or any other Minister is charged with the responsibility for any government department, he shall exercise direction and control over that department and, subject to that direction and control, every department shall be under the supervision of a Head of Department, who shall be a public officer.
30. There should be a reorganisation of government departments in order to rationalize the distribution of functions between them, and thereby facilitate the efficient conduct of government in light of the real needs of the people. This may involve the amalgamation, rearrangement or abolition of some departments as at present constituted and the creation of others. Any review of the administrative structure should take into account the introduction of a system of provincial government.
31. The Prime Minister and each other Minister shall be entitled to establish, for the term of his office, a ministerial secretariat comprising personal research and advisory staff (in addition to secretarial assistants), whose members he shall appoint, and who shall be directly responsible to him. The size of the secretariats and the levels of appointment of their members shall be determined by law.
32. (1) The initial maximum establishments of ministerial secretariats shall be as follows -
(a) Prime Minister -
(i) Principal Research Officer - who may be appointed at a level equivalent to one level below that of the Head of the Department for which the Prime Minister is responsible;
(ii) Deputy Principal Research Officer - who may be appointed at a level within a range equivalent to Class 10 - Level 1 in the public service salary classifications; and
(iii) Research Officers - up to four officers who may be appointed at levels up to (and including) the equivalent of Class 9.
(b) Ministers -
(i) Principal Research Officer - who may be appointed at a level equivalent to one level below that of the Head of the Department for which the Minister is responsible;
(ii) Deputy Principal Research Officer - who may be appointed at a level within a range equivalent to Class 10 - 11 in the public service salary classifications;
(iii) Research Officers - up to two officers who may be appointed at levels up to (and including) the equivalent of Class 9.
(2) The actual establishment for the ministerial secretariats shall be scaled in accordance with the nature and extent of the responsibilities of each Minister.
33. The Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition shall each be entitled to a secretariat similar to those provided for Ministers and commensurate with their responsibilities.
34. Members of the public services may be seconded to positions under recommendations 31 - 33 above.
35. An election for the positions of Speaker, Prime Minister and Deputy Speaker shall be held in accordance with the Constitution at the first meeting of the National Parliament after the Constitution is brought into force, as if it were the first meeting after a general election.
36. Following the formal appointment of the Prime Minister pursuant to his election under recommendation 35 above, the Deputy Prime Minister, Senior Minister and other Ministers shall also be appointed and the responsibilities of all Ministers assigned in accordance with the Constitution.
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