18 Jun 2004

PNG parliament set to ratify treaty for Australian deployment

2:17 pm on 18 June 2004

Papua New Guinea's parliament is expected to ratify a treaty for the deployment of Australian police when it resumes at the end of the month.

The cabinet has already given the go ahead to the enhanced co-operation programme, which would see 300 Australian police and public servants on the ground by August at the latest.

Our correspondent in PNG, Peter Niesi, says parliamentary approval is a mere formality.

"Once our cabinet passes something, because the government has the numbers it will be a goer. And in this case, given that there is no constitutional ammendment, they should be able to cover the areas of contention that have delayed the whole thing."

Peter Niesi says ratification is likely to involve a ministerial statement by Sir Rabbie Namaliu, the cabinet minister who spearheaded the negotiations.

He says that the treaty will probably be passed on voices.