15 May 2008

PNG Speaker defends stoppage of questions on disappearance of aid money

9:43 am on 15 May 2008

The Speaker of Papua New Guinea's parliament has defended his decision to stop the Opposition asking questions of the Prime Minister on the Taiwan dollar diplomacy scandal in the house.

Jeffrey Nape says the issue was an investigative matter in the media and should not be brought before the Chamber.

However the Speaker allowed the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and a government MP to make statements on the cash scandal in which 30 million US earmarked by Taipei for aid in PNG went missing.

Mr Nape says he was only following standing orders which only allow for the questions the opposition wished to raise during Grievance Debate on Fridays.

"It's good to discuss on Grievance Debate but at Question time, our standing order doesn't allow questions relating to policy matters, questions relating to investigative or law interpretation or all this. It does not allow in standing orders to put these before a member or a Minister or a Prime Minister, it does not allow... the Standing Orders are too restrictive."