Public Service Act Amended

Amendments to the Public Services Management Act 1995 was passed on the Floor of Parliament yesterday with 81 votes for and 7 votes against.

The Act now requires public servants to resign 12 months before contesting in elections, and restricts them from entering public service for 5 years after contesting.

Minister for Public Service, Joe Sungi, in the second reading speech for the Amendments to the Public Services Management Act said the State had to draw the line so the public service can operate on its own without the interference of those public servants who wish to contest the elections.

Joe Sungi said: “Noting from past experiences that those who contested the elections and were unsuccessful and returned back to the service have always caused instability in the organizations.”

The National Executive Council has approved the amendment to the Public Services (Management) Act as follows:

  1. An officer who wish to contest the General Election will now resign twelve (12) months prior to the issuing of writs, as compared to current six (6) months notice, and this will be implemented in the 2027 General Elections and General Elections thereafter.”
  2. An officer who contests in the General Elections and is unsuccessful can be employed back into the Public Service after a period of five (5) years from the General Election he/she contested in, but through the normal selection and recruitment process. This amendment if passed will take effect after the 2022 General Election and General Elections thereafter.

In support of the Amendments to the Act, Prime Minister Marape said: “Professional candidates in the public service, who just go in and out at will, coming back to work and stay in the system. Sometimes they get in the way of the public service flowing with work because they have a interest somewhere in politics.”

Also in support of the amendment was Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Rainbo Paita.

He said those in public office with access to certain resources and privileges create an unequal playing field to other Papua New Guineans wanting to contest elections as well.

Meantime, Parliament Sitting resumes this morning at 10am.

Marysila Kellerton