Education Election : O’Neill
By : Post Courier
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has called for real policy discussion in the final weeks of the election campaign, and for candidates to declare their position on free education.
Speaking in Pondiyapu, in the Southern Highlands on the weekend, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said this is the most important election in the history of the nation and the voters need real policy information before they cast their votes.
He said the main policy decision before the districts around the nation is about education. “The choices before the nation are clear, do we continue to educate our children, or do we turn the clock back and have Don Polye kick kids out of school if their parents cannot pay?” PM O’Neill said.
“Do we go back to the years of corruption and misappropriation of the 2000’s, or do we push our nation forward?
“When we were elected in 2012, our Government placed free education at the centre of our policy platform.
“Now we have the Opposition promising to stop free education and make families pay. This is an education election where the country will decide if we want to continue with free education, or take the path of the opposition who will abandon our children.”
PM O’Neill said free education is a cornerstone policy because it means the nation will have a generation of children going through school, who will be our future engineers, businesspeople and Leaders.
“People will waste their vote if they elect candidates for Don Polye and his band of opposition including Sam Basil, Garry Juffa, Kerenga Kua, Sir Mekere Morauta and Patrick Pruaitch.
“I call on each of these minor parties to declare to the public if they support free education, or if they want to turn back the clock.”
The Prime Minister said the delivery of free education has come with its challenges, particularly ensuring fund delivery to the most remote areas, but a significant amount of progress has been made.
“We know the policy is not perfect and we have more work to do, but at least we are delivering education to children who never had a chance before we were elected.
“If the people of our nation vote to return the PNC-led government at this election we will continue to change our nation for the better.”
PM O’Neill said it is time for Opposition parties to step up and provide detail on their policies. “On a range of issues, all the opposition team is offering are banner statements, not policy.
“They say they will end corruption, but how? Where is the detail? Our Government is implementing policies to erode the base on which the corrupt have thrived for decades.
“In the next Parliament, we will introduce legislation that will also target those who corrupt. We are working with international partners, including through APEC, to deal with this issue.
“During the Somare years 8 billion Kina in surpluses went missing, was stolen from secret bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. That money should have been invested infrastructure, but it was lost.
“In the coming weeks our people have the opportunity to elect members of Parliament who will represent them locally, and stand together in the Parliament to deliver legislation for the nation.