O’Neill says Sir Michael, Sir Julius ‘always put country first’

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has extended the nation’s congratulations and gratitude to two former prime ministers on the 50th anniversary of their election to the Second House of Assembly.

They are Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan.

Sir Michael is now retired while Sir Julius continues to serve as governor and MP.

O’Neill said the anniversary was an “historic landmark in the history of what would become the Independent State of Papua New Guinea less than a decade later”.

“It is 50 years ago today that Grand Chief Somare and Sir Julius took their places in the Second House of Assembly, and enacted laws and policy that would set our nation on the path to Independence,” he said.

“The democracy that has grown and developed in Papua New Guinea is founded on the ideals set by the men and women who founded our nation.

“While we have faced our challenges over the decades, we have demonstrated that ours is a country founded on and guided by true democratic principles.

“Leaders might have difference of opinion on the floor of Parliament from time to time, but we all work for the betterment of our nation and our people.”

O’Neill congratulated both and remembered other great leaders who were members of the Second House of Assembly. They included Sir John Guise as Speaker, and Sir Paul Lapun, Pita Lus and Sir Cecil Abel.

“Our founding fathers always put the nation above personal interests and gave their all so that we can have the proud nation we have today,” he said.

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