Second Term as PM
By MALUM NALU
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill plans to correct his government’s past mistakes as he steers his new team through the next five years, with policies based on the Alotau Accord Two.
He was elected 60-46 by his coalition members in a drama-filled first day of the 10th Parliament.
“No government is ever perfect. No government delivers policy without challenges,” he said.
“In our last government, we admit where we could have done things better – and we’ll make improvements.”
O’Neill was declared PM by Speaker Job Pomat at 3.18pm after the opposition side did not nominate a candidate.
He told Parliament that members of the coalition developed the second version of the Alotau Accord during their working retreat this week.
“Under the theme Strongim wok na Sindaun bilong ol Pipol, we have agreed upon a substantial set of policies that will advance our nation,” he said.
“Our coalition agreed that the people want a Government that will cater for their well-being through economic empowerment.
“They want a Government that will deliver quality services in education, healthcare and infrastructure.
“And our people want improved security, and the highest level of good governance and transparency.”
He said they would continue to improve the quality of free education the expansion of universal healthcare.
“We will build capacity in our disciplined services by strengthening their leadership, and we will further improve law and order around our country.
“We will build and maintain more roads and highways, more hospitals, airports and sea ports, and other public infrastructure.
“These are all some of the central pillars that bind together the 84 commitments that our Government makes to you through the Second Alotau Accord.”
In another twist, the 46 MPs on the opposition benches were absent when O’Neill returned from his swearing-in at Government House.
O’Neill said it was an honor to be elected prime minister again.
“Now that we have formed Government, we won’t be discouraging the views that are different to ours,” he said.
“We want to encourage debate that will continue to unite our nation. We will be a Government that listens more, talks less and works harder at every opportunity. We will be a Government that learns from its mistakes.” O’Neill said regardless of the outcome of this election, and regardless of where MPs were seated in Parliament, “our people and nation’s interests must be our common goal”.
“We will draw from our past and work harder for our future.
“I congratulate all Members of Parliament who have been elected to this Honorable House. I thank you for your support in electing our Government.
“Again, let me stress, our doors are always open, we embrace your constructive views, and we look forward to your support as we advance our nation’s interests.
A caretaker Cabinet is expected to be named by Prime Minister O’Neill soon. In 2012, it comprised the leaders of the coalition parties.