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PNG Prime Minister O'Neill Welcomes Senior Judges from Around the Pacific

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill  has highlighted the importance and credibility of the judiciary in Papua New Guinea, but also noted that more can be done to strengthen the judiciary through increased education of legal professionals and communication with the public.

Speaking at the Pacific Judicial Conference 2016 in Port Moresby today, PM O’Neill also highlighted his own family connection with the judiciary that gave him early insight to the legal profession.

“In this country the judiciary is at the pinnacle of respect,” the Prime Minister said to assembled senior judges from around the Pacific.

“Our Supreme and National Courts have played a vital role in the development of our nation and ensuring the principles of the Constitution are upheld.
“A strong, competent legal system depends on an independent and competent judiciary, and a skilled legal profession alike.

“I welcome suggestions from the Judiciary, and the legal profession, on steps our Government might take to strengthen legal education in our universities.
“The standards that exist in key professions such as the legal sector, must be maintained, they must be kept under constant review so they do not decline in any area.
“Now, we also live in the era of modern communications, and this has enormous implications for Government and the judiciary.

“I know the Chief Justice has sought, as I have done, to engage through modern communications and respond to requests for public information.
“I believe we should all regard this as more of an opportunity than a challenge.
“It is an opportunity to better educate, and inform, our citizens, on the basics of how we are governed.”

The Prime Minister highlighted his own historical family connection with the judiciary.
“For me, being with you has a personal family association with the judiciary and magistracy of Papua New Guinea.
“My late father, Brian O’Neill, arrived in Papua New Guinea in 1949 and worked in the Ialibu-Pangia District of the Southern Highlands.
“He became a Magistrate, initially in Mt Hagen, and then Goroka, where he served for many years. After my early years as in the village, I went to Goroka to live with my father and completee my high school education.

“During those formative years I was able to fully appreciate the role of the judiciary in our society.
“I am proud to say my Father served with great integrity as a magistrate throughout his career until his passing in 1982.”
At a time when more and more international conventions are coming to Papua New Guinea, the Prime Minister thanked the senior judges for visiting the nation.
“Your conference takes place at a time when Papua New Guinea’s role in our region is growing, and taking on new dimensions.
“I thank you for choosing Papua New Guinea, and Port Moresby, for your important conference.”

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