22 Jul 2010

Growing concern at abuse of PNG Parliament by Somare administration

8:19 pm on 22 July 2010

Papua New Guinea MP, Sam Basil, says he's seeking protection after threats made by the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and his son Arthur.

The threats came after the Speaker, Jeffrey Nape, controversially adjourned Parliament to ensure that Sir Michael's coalition government wouldn't face a vote of no confidence.

The Post Courier newspaper reports Sir Michael approached Mr Basil shouting in Tok Pisin "I will kill you" and Arthur Somare shortly after saying "I will get you outside."

Mr Basil, an outspoken critic of the Government, told the paper he was now looking for a way to get protection because the threats were from two powerful people.

The threats came after the Opposition disputed the adjournment ruling and which prompted Mr Basil to make a remark slighting Arthur Somare.

Sir Michael says his comment was made in a political context and had no literal meaning.

But he says Mr Basil's behaviour on the floor of Parliament is disrespectful and he wouldn't tolerate MPs who abused their colleagues.

Meanwhile the executive director of the PNG Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker, says it's vital that the Speaker is seen to be impartial.

But he says there have been increasing concerns about Mr Nape's actions over recent months.

"There has been concern expressed by quite a lot of people in this country for some time that the impartiality of the Speaker over recent months and years has been perhaps less than it might be."