21 Oct 2005

Solomons considers rule change to allow backbench MPs to get extra income

10:31 am on 21 October 2005

The Solomon Islands government says it may consider changing the rules allowing backbenchers to get additional income from the public purse for sitting on taskforces and State Owned Enterprises.

The secretary to cabinet, Toswell Kaua, says if he gets advice that the practice should be tested in court, he will discuss options for reform with the prime minister and the parliamentary entitlements commission.

The comment comes after the speaker, Sir Peter Kenilorea, wrote to the prime minister questioning the legality of the additional payments.

The opposition leader, Francis Billy Hilly, says according to the Leadership Code Commission MPs cannot get further remuneration for being on taskforces.

Mr Kaua says so far the extra payments are justified based on laws dating back to 1996.

He says the practice to pay for additional allowances has been in place for more than a decade and has been seen through the tenure of many prime ministers.