There was chaos in parliament this afternoon when the Speaker, Job Pomat refused to entertain a motion from Opposition leader, Patrick Pruaitch, to suspend standing orders and entertain a vote to remove him.
Patrick Pruaitch, stood up as soon as the speaker opened up question time and put forward the a request to remove Pomat as speaker.
“I want to ask leave of Parliament… There are a number of motions that I intend to move. One of them is to challenge your position as a speaker of parliament. I seek leave to move that motion.”
Despite the demonstration of numerical strength on the Opposition side, the Speaker told Patrick Pruaitch that he was not going to entertain the motion on grounds that Parliamentary standing orders did not have the provisions that allowed for the removal of the speaker on the floor.
Pomat told the house that the provisions in the standing orders were silent and that it was up to the speaker to decide if such a motion was to be entertained.
“I can show you provisions for the removal of the Governor General. I can show you provisions for the removal of the Prime Minister. But I cannot find the provisions for the removal of the Speaker. So If you can show me the sections under the constitution, then I will entertain it,” Speaker Pomat said.
The house then degenerated into a chaotic shouting match between the beefed up opposition and a heavily depleted Government side. Vanimo-Green MP, Belden Namah shouted at the speaker to entertain the motion.
“We are not here for you to dictate on the floor of Parliament. We are not here for you to be the judge. There is a motion on foot. The vote has to take place. You have to entertain the vote,” Namah said. “You are preempting a motion. If I were you, I would resign.”
The Speaker then referred to the standing orders reading out section 284 to show that he could not be removed through what he called an unprecedented request by the Opposition.
Later, after a lot of persistence, the Speaker recognized Madang MP, Bryan Kramer who accused the him of attempting to hold on to power.
“You quoted section 284: ‘In any matter no provided for, the Speaker shall decide…’ There is a reason for that. It’s because of bias and you have demonstrated that bias. You can’t move against yourself. You won’t accept it. You have to accept [the motion] now,” Kramer said.
Another round of chaos erupted. Tempers flared and MP, Dr. Fabian Pok, hurled abuse at an opposition MP who had interrupted him.
“You…wait! You wait! We are setting a precedence here. We will all not be here in parliament. If we do this, anyone who has the numbers will change the speaker!” Dr. Pok said.
Towards the end of the 45 minute period. The Speaker had lost control of the house. He tried to invoke sections in the standing order to suspend the Parliament to 10am tomorrow. But was later advised to suspend and recall parliament until the ringing of the bell.