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Near neighbours are sometimes too near

Pressure in aftermath of O’Neill ascendancy

THE NEW Papua New Guinea government is under pressure to have urgent legislation passed through parliament in time for next year’s general election.

Paul Barker of PNG’s Institute of National Affairs says there are expectations from various interest groups and regions that three major bills should be passed.

He says each will significantly alter the parliamentary landscape.

“They do have to address whether they’re going to retain the governors’ positions or not,” Mr Barker said.

“They’ve also go to address the 22 (reserved) seats (for) women’s bill which was being pushed by former Community Affairs Minister Dame Carol Kidu with support from the former Prime Minister (Sir) Michael Somare.

“There is also the question of the two new provinces and whether they’re going to go ahead.”

Meanwhile the PNG opposition has filed another court challenge to have the election of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill declared unconstitutional.

Ousted Forest Minister Timothy Bonga has submitted the challenge, arguing the prime minister's position was not vacant and that the parliamentary process was unconstitutional.

It follows a Supreme Court decision last week to dismiss an application by ousted Attorney General Sir Arnold Amet.

The court found Sir Arnold had no legal standing to challenge Mr O'Neill's election.

Another application to stop Prime Minister O'Neill from performing his role and to appoint cabinet ministers was also thrown out.

The courts said they cannot restrict the prime minister, as parliament voted for him following the constitution.

Sources: Australia Network News and Radio New Zealand International

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