23 Nov 2006

PNG Parliament adjourns without debating 2007 Budget

9:08 am on 23 November 2006

Papua new Guinea's 2007 budget has yet to be debated and passed after parliament was on Tuesday abruptly adjourned.

The National newspaper reports that backbench MPs warned before that they would not vote to pass the budget until they receive outstanding district grants, or their electoral development funds, for the year.

The afternoon session, which was delayed by more than 90 minutes, was fraught with tensions.

It is understood heated exchanges between backbenchers and ministers nearly evolved into a fistfight.

When the parliament session did start, Treasurer Sir Rabbie Namaliu took up his position next to the Clerk, as is always done during the Budget session and Opposition leader Peter O'Neill delivered his reply to the budget.

As soon as Mr O'Neill ended his speech, leader of Government Business Patrick Pruaitch moved to suspend debate and possible vote on the budget, and adjourned Parliament to next Monday.