29 Feb 2012

Democracy challenges raised at Brisbane talks

2:06 pm on 29 February 2012

The challenges faced by democratic institutions in the Pacific are being raised at a meeting in Brisbane organised by the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The outcomes of the meeting will influence the funding decisions made by the Commonwealth Pacific Governance Facility programme.

Don Wiseman has more:

"The leader of the Solomon Islands' Opposition Dr Derek Sikua spoke of the need in his country for restrictions to stop MPs from switching sides at will. Tongan Opposition leader, Akilisi Pohiva, says there's a need for the general public to understand and appreciate what democracy is as a precursor to political reforms and to improve transparency in government. Kiribati's former president, Sir Ieremia Tabai says he believes MPs have to set a standard of public behaviour that engenders trust. Tonga's former minister of Justice Alisi Taumoepeau, says politicians need to be reminded of the core values underpinning democracy. Samoa MP, Lautafi Selafi Purcell, says the continued strength of democracy in Samoa would result from adapting existing institutions, such as only matai being eligible to become MPs. The chair of Papua New Guinea's Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Council, Sir Kina Bona, advocated reforms to funding for parties to try and strengthen the PNG political process."