Welcome Remarks by PNG NRI Acting Director, Dr. Osborne Sanida, at the Launch of the PNG Political Parties’ Policies Seminar Series

On behalf of the NRI Council, management and staff I welcome one and all
to the Launch of the PNG Political Parties’ Policies Seminar Series. In particular, a warm welcome to our Guest Speakers for the Launch: Dr. Alphonse Gelu, Registrar of Political Parties and Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC) and Mr. Geoff King, Minister Counsellor, Australian High Commission. I also offer warm welcome to all our other invited guests, the media and all who are with us virtually/online via Microsoft Teams and Facebook.

Considering the PNG NRI’s mandate to conduct applied economic and social research as well as dissemination of information for informed decisionmaking, the PNG NRI Council approved a program to focus on two sets of seminar series focussing on: (1) the preparation towards the 2022 National General Elections (NGE); and (2) the policies of PNG Political Parties. In planning and implementing these seminar series, the PNG NRI is working with the IPPCC, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), and the PNG2 Australia Governance Partnership Program, through the Australian High Commission and managing contractor, ABT Associates.

The 2022 NGE will provide an opportunity for the people to elect new leaders into the Parliament. Therefore, the election preparation, campaigning, polling and counting, and formation of government are vital importance. Considering this, the first seminar series was organised to provide an opportunity for our key agencies to share with us the preparations towards the 2022 General Elections. In the past four weeks, we have had presentations by the Department of Provincial and Local-level Government Affairs; Royal PNG Constabulary; NBC; Office of the Clerk of Parliament; the PNG Electoral Commission; and IPPCC. I want to thank these six very important institutions for accepting our invitation and making the presentations in the last four weeks.

Today marks the commencement of the second seminar series, which is focused on the role of Political Parties and in particular, their policies. The main goals of the Political Parties’ Policies Seminar Series are to:

  • strengthen the political party system through making awareness of their philosophies, vision and mission statements, policies, for 2022 NGE and
    beyond; and
  • encourage political parties to work in partnership with the PNG Electoral Commission, PNG Royal Police Constabulary, IPPCC, NBC and other
    stakeholders to prepare for a better 2022 NGE.

Based on the goals, the outcomes of the Seminar Series are:

  • discussion and thinking on strengthening political parties’ policies and political party system is promoted;
  • a systematic process of communicating parties’ policies to the mainstream media for public consumption is promoted to inform voters to vote along party lines rather than voting along tribal lines or “big-man” politics;
  • intending candidates become more informed on party policies in order to encourage them to join a party for the elections and for them to make an informed decision on which party to affiliate with;
  • discussion forum is established that can promote coalition-building among various political parties with similar policies; and 3
  • political parties research is strengthened at PNG NRI beyond the elections to assist IPPCC, Electoral Commission and the Government to improve political governance in PNG.

PNG currently has 46 registered political according to the Registry of Political Parties. All these parties were invited to be part of the Seminar Series. Twentythree (23) parties have confirmed to make their presentations.

In summary, the seminar series will see:

  • 23 political parties will participate;
  • at least 4 parties will be featured each week (2-3 parties will present every Tuesdays and Thursdays);
  • the seminar series will be moderated by one of PNG’s eminent political scientist, Dr. Lawrence Sause from the UPNG School of Business and
    Public policy; and
  • a seminar proceedings report will be produced at the end of the seminar series and disseminated for public use.

In compliance with COVID-19 measures, presentations will be done to 20 persons in attendance, based on registration. Considering this, we are also
providing a virtual attendance will be provided so the wider public have the opportunity to participate. Moreover, our partner, NBC Radio will pre-record the seminars and package them for broadcast over the next 2-3 months.

With this, I want to thank you all again for attending this Launch and in particular our Guest speakers: Dr. Gelu and Mr. King.

Authorised for release by:

Dr. Osborne Sanida

PNG NRI Acting Director

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