Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has welcomed passage of Amendments to the Public Services (Management) Act 1995, which relates to resignation of public servants to contest the general election.
The amendments, which were passed 81-8 by Parliament today, after debate also received support by five Members from the Opposition - indicating a bipartisan support to the law.
PM Marape thanked Public Service Minister, Hon. Joe Sungi, for tabling the bill and MPs from both sides of Parliament for supporting it.
He said the amendments would stop “unnecessary politics” and create “stability” within the public service
The amendments mean:
- A public servant who wishes to contest the general election will resign 12 months prior to the issuing of writs, as compared to the six months’ notice, and this will be implemented in the 2027 General Election and general elections thereafter; and
- An officer who contests in the general election and is unsuccessful can be employed into the Public Service after a period of five years from the general election he/she contested in, but through the normal selection and recruitment process. This amendment will take effect from the 2022 General Election and general elections thereafter.
PM Marape said what his Government was trying to do was to eliminate “professional candidates in the public service who just go in and out, at will (to contest for election), come back, and they work in most areas, most important instances, bringing politics into the public service machinery".
“This law doesn’t prohibit public servants from contesting elections, their right to contest for elections still remains,” he said.
“This law, in summary allows for public servants who want to contest elections to resign 12 months earlier which will take effect in 2026 for 2027 Elections and going forward. It also defers them coming back into the public service until the fifth anniversary of their resignation from public service.
“It does not, in any sense, restrict them from coming back into the public service.
"What we’re simply trying to do here is eliminate ‘professional candidates in the public service'."