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Restricting Party Hopping in Papua New Guinea’s Parliament
This paper argues that legislative initiative is needed to control party hopping by members of parliament (MPs), especially during the constitutional period for the moving of a motion of no confidence in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) governs political parties in PNG. In 2003, certain amendments were made to OLIPPAC to control party hopping. However, the provisions were challenged in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court nullified those amendments on the basis that they restricted and infringed the constitutional rights of MPs and were unconstitutional. The political conditions following the court’s decision contributed to the constitutional crisis/impasse of 2011–12 and, later, the constitutional confusion of 2020. The Supreme Court’s expectations for MPs to act in an orderly way through education have not been achieved. The challenge is to construct the OLIPPAC legislation in conformity with the court’s deliberation. Rather than infringing and restricting MPs’ rights, the balance should be to regulate those rights for a certain amount of time. The current crisis and confusion being faced should prompt the relevant law reform institutions to tailor a possible legislative solution.