27 Jul 2004

Luther Wenge refuses to sit in Government benches in the PNG Parliament

5:42 pm on 27 July 2004

The Speaker of Parliament in Papua New Guinea called an early lunch today when the Morobe Governor Luther Wenge refused to move from the Opposition seats to the Government side of the House.

For the second day most Opposition MPs were absent from the house, but late in the morning session Mr Wenge entered the Chamber and sat in the Opposition seats.

When asked by Speaker, Jeffery Nape, to move to the Government benches Mr Wenge refused, prompting the early adjournment.

Our correspondent Peter Niesi says while Mr Wenge has shifted his support to the Opposition the Party he leads is still officially part of the Government.

"Luther Wenge is the Parliamentary leader of the People First Party and the only other MP is the Government whip, Tom Amukele. Mr Amukele is still the whip and if the Speaker's rulings so far are any indication, whenever there is any party with some representation in the Government, automatically he rules they should be sitting in Government ranks"