10 Jun 2005

PNG lawyer says Australian inmmunity impossible under PNG police act

3:24 pm on 10 June 2005

A Papua New Guinea expert on the Enhanced Cooperation Programme says invoking the Police Act will fail to give Australia the immunity it is demanding from PNG.

Australian and PNG officials have been holding talks in a bid to revive the largely derailed, multi-million dollar ECP following a successful court challenge.

Australia's been demanding that its police operating in PNG get immunity from prosecution, and PNG officials say invoking part of the Police Act could be a way out of the stalemate.

Lawyer John Nonggorr represented the State in the court challenge.

He says invoking the Act would be part only of the answer both countries want for the ECP.

"What I understand that the PNG government is suggesting is that instead of using separate powers for the ECP under the ECP arrangement and the act that was passed to approve it, let's go on another police act. It doesn't take care of immunity. It does take care of the issue of bearing arms and Australian police having powers of arrest and search and arrest. Immunity cannot be dealt with under the police act."

Dr John Nonggorr.