Papua New Guinea Parliament Passes Whistle-Blowers Bill
The Papua New Guinea Parliament has passed the long-awaited Whistle Blowers Bill unopposed today. All 90 members of Parliament present in today’s sitting voted in favor of the bill that will protect individuals who report cases of corruption at the workplace. Whilst presenting the Bill, Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General Davies Steven said Papua New Guineans now have an avenue to disclose any suspicious impropriety within their workplace. The bill according to Former Prime Minister and Western Highlands Governor Paias Winti was introduced in early 2000 when the late Jeffery Nape was speaker of parliament but never made it through. It was talked about in the term of the previous O’Neill Abel government but was also never tabled. The Whistle Blower Bill 2020 forms part of the initiatives undertaken by the Marape Steven Government to address systematic corruption. According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Bill is a modest approach in establishing protection mechanisms for employees; however, is not the only solution to addressing the issue of corruption. Under the proposed bill, improprieties include criminal offenses, failure to comply with legal obligations, miscarriage of judgment amongst others. Any employee that makes a protected disclosure will be protected from being subjected to any disciplinary action, form being dismissed, suspended demoted or harassed. Employees may under this bill make protected disclosures to either a legal practitioner, employer, state minister or other approved authority. Several senior members of parliament were given opportunities to speak for and against the bill. Though all members were in support of this important Bill NCD Governor Powes Parkop questioned why other state entities such as the Ombudsman Commission, the fraud squad and the police were not functioning as they are supposed to. Prime Minister James Marape said corruption is removing much of the country’s income, adding the notion of nepotism and tribalism has tended to compromise many of these crime-fighting bodies. Marape told parliament, that the huge show of support should signal the commitment of national leaders in ridding the country of corruption. The ICAC which is a sister bill of the Whistle-Blowers Bill went through its first reading today but will wait for the compulsory two months before being tabled again.