18 May 2005

Australia says police package revival needs PNG constitution change

1:33 pm on 18 May 2005

Australia says the only way to solve the legal crisis that forced the withdrawal of Australian police from Papua New Guinea would be to change the PNG constitution.

The Australian prime minister, John Howard, says last week's decision by the supreme court in PNG was set back.

It ruled that immunity provisions for Australian police were not constitutional.

Mr Howard says Australia is involved in talks with the PNG government on ways to resolve the issue.

He says PNG lives under the rule of law as Australia does and both sides have to therefore live with the consequences of that.

Mr Howard says PNG needs Australia's help and Australia is willing to provide it, but he says there must be a way found to ensure the constitutionality of the immunity.