12 Nov 2004

PNG PM backs his embattled Speaker, blames Opposition for parliamentary rowdiness

4:34 pm on 12 November 2004

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has announced his support for embattled Parliamentary Speaker Jeffrey Nape.

Sir Michael made his stance and that of his government clear in a response to a request by Opposition Leader Peter O'Neill for support to have Mr Nape ousted as Speaker.

In his reply yesterday, Sir Michael said the speaker has his personal and his government's total backing and that he would not support any moves to oust him.

Sir Michael said it would be contrary to parliament's Standing Orders to move a motion to remove the Speaker within 12 months of a similar action, after the motion that saw the ousting of Bill Skate as Speaker in June.

The Prime Minister said many of the leaders now in the Opposition and the People's National Congress, which Mr O'Neill now led, were party to the election of Mr Nape as Speaker.

Sir Michael shifted blame for the rowdy sessions of Parliament in the past few weeks to the "unco-operative and irresponsible behaviour" of the Opposition members.