By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE adjournment of parliament for five weeks is designed to avoid issues affecting the country, Opposition parliamentarians said, The National reports.
When parliament resumed last Friday, leader of government business Paul Tiensten moved that it be adjourned until Aug 2.
He said that parliament should not be allowed to continue because no water was supplied to the house when one of the main pipes from the main water supply at Mt Eriama was broken.
He said the air-conditioning units depended on water.
With no water, the units would not function properly, making it uncomfortable for those in the chamber.
The opposition called for a division, but Speaker Jeffery Nape, who had been absent for the past two weeks, ruled in favour of the government.
Led by former deputy Opposition leader and member for Lae Bart Philemon, the MPs accused Nape of taking sides and “hijacking the parliamentary process”.
Nape then told Philemon not to point fingers at him and to respect the chair.
“You do not point at the chair.
“You are discrediting the chair,” Nape said.
Philemon yelled back, telling him that he was not being fair and that he (Nape) was to be blamed for hijacking the parliamentary democratic process by collaborating with the government as he was a member of the ruling National Alliance party.
Soon after parliament was adjourned, the opposition called a press conference where they accused the government of planning the adjournment “to avoid issues facing the country”.
The issues, they said, included:
*Revelation of the corruption and misuse of public funds at the National Planning office by secretary Joseph Lelang;
* Health status of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare; and
*Protest march and petition by the public led by NGOs last Thursday.
Deputy Opposition leader Sam Basil said: “The speaker is creating divide and rule tactics.
“It is an absolute hijacking of the process when a division is called.”
Moresby Northwest MP Sir Mereke Morauta said: “This government is morally corrupt.
“There is no reason why parliament should be adjourned.
“They want to run away from issues.”
Anglimp-South Waghi MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham said: “This government is run by a mad leader.”