Opposition storm out after Kramer's referral

The Opposition stormed out of the Parliament Chamber today after Madang MP, Bryan Kramer, was referred to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee.

This follows the request by Tewai-Siassi MP, Dr Kobby Bomareo, in Parliament yesterday after a Facebook post by Kramer which Bomareo said demeaned Energy Minister Sam Basil as a leader.

Kramer's Facebook post was in response to an article quoting Minister Basil’s intention to ban Facebook for a month.

Speaker Job Pomat said there was a prima facie case for Kramer to answer to and referred him.

Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch raised a point of order saying the statement by Basil was not made on the floor of Parliament and any comment by Kramer relating to Basil’s statement cannot be referred.

Pruaitch and the Opposition stood up in unison and departed the chambers.

MPs from both sides made verbal exchanges as the opposition boycotted Parliament session.

Kramer was referred under Section 115 (5) of the Constitution which states:

“No Member of Parliament or other person is liable to civil or criminal proceedings, arrest, imprisonment, fine, damages, or compensation by reason of –

  1. An act done under the authority of the Parliamentary or under an order of the Parliament or a committee of the Parliament; or
  2. Words spoken or used, or a document or writing made or issued under the authority of the Parliament or a committee of the Parliament.”

The Speaker said there was no authority or order given by Parliament of a committee of the Parliament to the Member for Madang to publish by way of Facebook.

The Speaker added that Section 8(1) of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act states that “…. a person who publishes any words, orally or in writing, or in a cartoon, drawing, or other pictorial representation tending to bring the Parliament into hatred or contempt is guilty of an offense”.

He said it was concluded that some of the responses (comments) from Kramer’s post reflected a diminished respect for the Parliament.

(Madang MP Bryan Kramer)

Cedric Patjole