29 Jul 2004

PNG opposition continues boycott of parliament

7:25 pm on 29 July 2004

The leader of Papua New Guinea's Opposition, Peter O'Neill, says he and 36 other MPs will continue to boycott Parliament as a matter of principle against what he calls the Government's flouting of the Constitution.

Mr O'Neill says they've been forced to boycott Parliament because the speaker Jeffrey Nape continues to demand that Opposition MPs sit on the Government benches.

The Opposition is also accusing the government of breaching the Constitution in filling at least two key Parliamentary Committees with its own members.

Mr O'Neill says they will continue the boycott until the Government allows the democratic process to resume.

"If we allow and participate in the deliberate breach of the national constitution then you will have lawlessness in the country. And you can't allow certain sections of the community, including the Prime Minister, to deliberately breach the established laws and constitution that governs this country."

Peter O'Neill says they still plan to pursue a motion of no-confidence in the government.

Earlier in the week, the Speaker rejected the opposition's motion on the basis of a procedural defect.