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Parliamentary committee conducts workshop on functions of parliamentary services

The Bougainville House of Representatives’ hosted  the ‘Parliamentary committees chairperson and deputy chairperson’s workshop from October 18-19 at Kubu, Autonomous Region of Bougainville.  

A facilitator and clerk of parliament Mr Robert Tapi urged for the committee members to broaden their understanding on the role of parliament and committees in Bougainville’s constitutional democracy in his open speech.

He said that this was important for them to understand the role of committees in undertaking oversight of the government and the role of parliament and committees in reviewing the passing legislation.

Mr Tapi said that it was in the application of Standing Order 163 (3) which provides an opportunity for a portfolio committee to consult with and advise the Ministers with portfolio responsibilities in the committees.

He said that the two days workshop would explore the topics on policy and legislative proposals relative to those portfolios.

He said that it was important to consider the three arms of the government- the legislative, the executive and the judiciary and how they exercise those powers under the authority and the structure of government to effectively deliver the functions of the parliament.

He said that it was important that the chairs understood their duties and responsibilities as a member of the House of Representatives as well as representing their constituents and that the chairs of the parliamentary committee were urged to be more transparent about the issues that confronted them in carrying out their normal duties.  

Mr Tapi said that at the end of the two days workshop, the chairs would appreciate the leadership role they play in managing the work of the committee thus enhancing a better relationship with the committee secretariat staff in terms of advice and running committee meetings and understanding relevant standing orders and their application while performing the scrutiny and oversight function of the house of representative.

Parliamentary Committees play a key role in strengthening and supporting democracy of the parliament by providing opportunities for organizations and individuals to participate and to have their views heard and considered as part of the decision-making process. They also can hold government accountable on specific matters of policy, administration or performance. 

This skills sharing sessions are part of the ‘Strengthening Papua New Guinea’s Parliament’ Project implemented by UNDP working closely with key government partners, the Papua New Guinea House of Parliament, the Bougainville House of Representatives and technical support from Pacific regional partners, New South Wales, Fiji and Solomon Islands Parliaments respectively. 

Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives, Hon. Simon Pentanu, together with 16 participants, comprising chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of the 13 committees of the House of Representatives participated in these sessions. The key objectives of these skills sharing sessions were to enhance and strengthen respective committee roles as chairperson or deputy in shaping implementing policies of national development in areas of constitutional democracy and oversight of government which includes reviewing and passing of laws including taking ownership of the parliamentary budgetary process. 

New South Wales (NSW) Parliament is also providing support at this workshop, made possible through the Pacific-Australian Parliamentary Twining Program. 

The first phase of this five-year programme is funded by the Government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  

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