*Referendum on govt agenda *

1 12 2011

Postcourier, 1 Dec 11

THE National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government are already in communication over the referendum issue for Bougainville. A committee that was set up by both governments has commenced its work and are now constantly monitoring referendum activities in other parts of the world.

National co-ordination office of Bougainville Affairs director Ellison ToWallom, in his speech to the leaders of Bougainville meeting in Port Moresby last week, advised that work has commenced to put the issue into perspective. “Referendum was not on the agenda for discussions between the National Government and the ABG until February 2010.

During the JSB at the Gateway Hotel, on February 12, 2010, the ABG put on the table that referendum should be discussed then, rather than later,” Mr ToWallom said. “In retrospect, this was seen by the National Government as a wise move from many different perspectives. The immediate one being that comparative regional and global perspectives on referendum needed to be understood to help the preparations for it.” “At the official level, at least committee is now in operation to do just that.

The committee comprises the following officials. National Government members are:

* Chief Secretary to Government (chairman) * Director of NCOBA * Secretary, Department of Justice & Attorney General * PNG Electoral Commissioner ABG members: * Chief Administrator * Acting Electoral Commissioner, and * Principal Legal Officer

“The work of the committee has commenced and both the director’s office of NCOBA and the Chief Secretary’s office are constantly monitoring referendum activities in other parts of the world. For example, the conduct of the recent referendum in South Sudan and shortly the New Caledonia and Scotland referendum as well,” he said.

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