16 Nov 2010

PNG's Kidu hopes reserve seats for women bill gets passed

11:26 am on 16 November 2010

Papua New Guinea's only woman MP is cautiously hopeful that the new parliamentary session starting today will debate and pass her initiative to create 22 reserved seats for women.

But Dame Carol Kidu says it'll hinge on the degree of volatility in the parliament.

The last session, in July, ran for just one day when the Speaker controversially adjourned parliament amid Opposition pressure to unseat Sir Michael Somare's coalition.

Dame Carol says there's a commitment to bring the seats legislation forward, though it could be disturbed by any renewed attempt at a vote of no confidence.

But she says if the legislation get to the floor, and is deemed not to need changes to the Organic Law, then it should pass.

"The general legal opinion being given now is that we will not require those consequential amendments so there is a chance that we can manage this because just a basic amendment to section 101 of the Constitution to introduce this new reserved electorate for women requires only 55 votes, and I think 55 votes is quite feasible."

Dame Carol Kidu.