12 Members of Parliament resigned yesterday, and joined the Opposition. They cite various causes of dissatisfaction, but the PMs failure to attend to Pacific Forum meeting in Fiji a few weeks ago, thereby alienating this country from its Melanesian neighbours, is first among them.
The group took an MOU to the Governor-General with 28 signatures (the 12, plus existing members of the Opposition) calling for the PM’s immediate resignation, and saying they will return the Attourney-General to Australia when they come to power.
I think Parliament is in session right now in an emergency sitting. The November sitting was to be the one in which the Government’s controversial Review of the RAMSI Facilitation Act was to occur, but it looks as though that train has been derailed – quite possibly that’s the reason for the timing of the MOU. The PM no longer has the numbers to push that review through.
The group have called on the GG to dismiss the PM from office immediatly as he no longer has the majority to rule. The precise mechanism by which this is to be done is not clear to me as they have not tabled a formal ‘motion of no confidence’, to my knowledge. Elections may be held if this occurs, although I think there’s also a precedent for elected MPs simply voting in a new PM without having a new election.
The current PM has said no, he’ll stay on til the end of his term. It’s all set to be played out over the next few days. Somehow I don’t think this is going to fizzle out, as the defections are public, and it would be almost impossible to walk away now and pretend nothing had happened.
The mood in town is quiet, and also, a bit startled. No-one really seemed to know this was happening. Alhough the Solomon Star newspaper are now claiming that they knew weeks ago that it was set to happen, there hasn’t been much reporting on it.
Check the link to the Sol Star newspasper in the sidebar, or just wait for the news to wash all over ABC News in Australia this evening.
Anyway, I’m on my own with the kids. Psuedmonas has reared its ugly monkish head inside Louise’s ear and she’s back in Brisbane, no doubt lounging about in comfort at a swish hotel, waiting for an appointment on Wednesday.
(No offence, dear).
She left yesterday, before we knew about the MOU and mass defection. She should be back on Thursday although there’s a possibilty it might be Sunday if Thursday’s flight is full. As far as I know, she doesn’t know about the political situation here yet. I only just found out myself.
Anyway, I’m going home, to hang out with the kids, until I work out what is going on.