|This photo taken July 7, 2007 shows Australian-born Dame Carol Kidu, right, and supporters. Picture: GOOGLE|
PORT MORESBY (THE NATIONAL) - The only woman parliamentarian and the sponsor of the 22 women's reserved seats, Dame Carol Kidu announced her retirement from active politics during the Melanesian Alliance Party fundraising dinner last Friday evening. Dame Carol has served in parliament for the past 14 years and has been the minister for community development for the past nine years, making significant contributions to the department by turning it from small ministry into a major one. She said she was leaving politics satisfied she had made significant contributions to the nation, "something women and children, the disabled and youths can be proud of".
Dame Carol commended her party executives for continuing to keep one of the oldest parties alive. Staunch members of the party were the Somare family and founding father John Momis, while Dame Carol was the only woman member of parliament to survive the past three terms. She said she had a good time working with the National Alliance party which had the same vision for PNG, led by Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare who trusted and allowed her to continue to be a minister in his coalition government. She said the future alliance of the party laid in the hands of the young generation and she urged her party executives to rope in young people to bring back a vision for the future.
Dame Carol is the second person after Madang businessman Sir Peter Barter to retire after holding several key and senior ministries for the past three terms. Sir Peter did not seek re-election in the 2007 general election. A senior citizens among the group that attended the dinner said Dame Carol's action set an example for many PNG indigenous politicians to do the same rather than continuing to hold on to power.
Meanwhile, the 22 reserved seats for women has nothing to do with regional seats now occupied by governors, says Moresby South MP Dame Carol Kidu. Dame Carol said women would be in charge of policy- making decisions, legislation and budget frameworks to ensure women were recognised in the budget and in other official work. She said these women would work with the governors who could then delegate tasks. "The prime minister can also choose any of these women to cabinet or head committees; they would be allowed to ask questions on the floor of parliament.
"They are full members of parliament but they do not have any electorate to look after. Therefore, I ask that all women must not demand for goodies because they will not have money for that," she said. Dame Carol said although a lot of things still had to be done, the Bill had gained momentum and urged all women to lobby their MPs to vote on this bill this week. She encouraged the women to have candidates in this year's election as these women would be competing against each other only for votes from both men and women. "The idea to have 22 reserved seats in the parliament for women only began many years ago and work is still ongoing to ensure we get everything right."
[Fiji Times - Pns]
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