7 Sep 2011

PNG minister Philemon surprised at Somare ouster

6:02 pm on 7 September 2011

A Papua New Guinea cabinet minister, Bart Philemon, says the dumping of Sir Michael Somare from parliament yesterday, came as a surprise to most MPs.

But he says the speaker Jeffrey Nape told parliament that the legal opinion he had was Sir Michael had missed three consecutive meetings and so had disqualified himself.

"I thought that Sir Michael was qualified due to the fact that in May of this year the Parliament had granted him leave of absence. And according the legal advice that the Speaker has, he managed to determine that there were three sessions of Parliament that he missed consecutively."

Bart Philemon says despite the manner in which Sir Michael's career seems to have ended, no one can take away that he's forged one of the most illustrious records among Commonwealth politicians.