Defend our National Goals

Papua New Guinea's written Constitution is our Supreme Law, and it touches on almost every aspect of public life. It is both a political statement and a legal document and it sets out Papua New Guinea's National Goals, the rights and freedoms of every citizen, and the principles on which our democratic system of government operates. 

The five National Goals and each of their accompanying Directive Principles are supposed to define the Model of Development for Papua New Guinea.

Our National Goals are:

  • Integral human development and freedom from every form of oppression
  • Equality and equal participation
  • National sovereignty and self-reliance
  • Wise us of natural resources and the environment for current and future generations
  • Reliance on the use of of Papua New Guinean forms of social, political and ecomomic organisation

Over the years, successive governments have failed to use these principles to guide  the country's development.  More recently, the somewhat autocratic governments of Michael Somare and Peter O'Niell, have undermined our democracy and eroded our personal freedoms. The result has been devastating social, environmental and economic consequences for local people. Most Papua New Guineans are still denied access to basic services.

Papua New Guinea is now at a critical point in its history, and enormous internal and external pressures mean that choices that are being made today will determine the future of the nation, its people and their natural environment for many generations.

Unfortunately, the country is crippled by corruption and self-interest and the government consistently puts the profits of foreign multi-national corporations ahead of the interests of its own people. As a result wise decisions are not being made and at the same time foreign companies are ignoring the rights and interests of local people and destroying the environment as they rip out our natural resources.

PNG Parliament continues to fail to function as a proper organ of the State. There is no accountability for poor performance or corruption and most of our resource wealth is shipped of shore while people remain without access to basic services.

The ACT NOW! community is campaigning to promote PNG's National Goals and the Model of Development they envisage for PNG, and we need your support:

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Issues

The Environment Act amendments

SUCCESS!   The government led by Peter O'Neill and Belden Namah announced on October 14, 2011 it will repeal controversial amendments to the Environment Act that undermine the rights of traditional landowners. The amendments were bulldozed through Parliament in a single afternoon in May last year by the previous Somare regime [see further below]. 

In making the announcment the Environment Minister Thompson Harokaqveh has described the amendments as "unnecessary and undesirable" and revealed the government had been advised the changes were unconstitutional.

Prior to the government announcement ACT NOW! members sent over 1,700 emails to Ministers calling on them to reverse the amendments and in June 2010 ACT NOW! supporters help collect 18,000 signatures on a petition opposing the amendments.

More on the amendments

On May 27, 2010, the government rushed through Parliament amendments to the Environment Act which give the Secretary of the Department of Conservation new powers to approve activities by mining and petroleum companies without consulting traditional landowners or securing their agreement.

This is a fundamental denial of the traditional rights of landowners. But the changes to the law do not end there.

Landowners are also being denied the right to challenge what the government allows mining and petroleum companies to do. The amendments allow the Environment Secretary to approve activities and any such approval is FINAL AND CANNOT BE CHALLENGED IN ANY COURT. So no matter how outrageous or unfair the approval, the people will have no way of challenging it.

Even worse, the amendments state that when the company carries out the approved activities it cannot be sued, whether in tort or any other law and the activities cannot be an offence and cannot be unlawful.

This means that no matter what harm the company causes to any person or group of persons they will have no recourse to the law – even for an oil spill on the scale of that unfolding right now in the Gulf of Mexico.

These amendments effectively take away traditional rights (rights developed over tens of thousands of years); common law rights (rights that the courts have developed over hundreds of years); and remove criminal liability. 

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The 'Maladina' amendments

SUCCESS!    The Somare led government failed to completed the passage of the 'Maladina amendments' before losing power. The Bill would have diminished the power of the Ombudsman Commission and reduced transparency.

ACT NOW! actively campaigned against the amendments, lobbied key MPs and helped convince the Opposition to reverse their support for the changes.

More on the proposed amendmemts

The Somare government's proposed amendments to the Leadership Code and the Constitution that would weaken the Ombudsman Commission and make leaders less accountable.

The so called "Maladina Amendments" had to be STOPPED because:

  1. They would take away the Ombudsman Commission's ability to stop politicians and public service chiefs from wasting public money. This means that even more money that should be spent on services for the people would be stolen!

  2. They would make it harder for the Ombudsman Commission to investigate MPs and public service chiefs who are suspected of misconduct. This means that leaders who have abused office would get away with it more often - where is the justice?

  3. They would make it easier for MPs to trade on the stock market overseas. But why should MPs be interested in share trading when they should be representing their people's interests?

  4. They would set up two laws in PNG - one for so-called leaders another for ordinary citizens. This is unfair and goes against the democratic principles of the constitution.


News

Environment bid adjourned

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Post Courier

Govt denies K2 million claim

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The National

Govt MPs get K2 million each

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The National

We are fair to all: Somare

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The National

Outcry against new Environment legislation

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Islands Business

Watchdog: MPs guilty

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Post Courier

I didn't go into Parliament to sit and watch

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PNG Attitude

Basil urges OC to freeze MPs bank accounts

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ACT NOW!

Push on for Parliament's recall

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Post Courier

Concern at govt use of public funds to shore up support

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Radio New Zealand