13 Jan 2012

PNG watchdog warns of govt's growing irrelevance

2:55 pm on 13 January 2012

Papua New Guinea's anti-corruption watchdog is warning that unless the political crisis is swiftly resolved people will consider government increasingly irrelevant.

PNG is in the unprecedented position of having two competing governments and Prime Ministers, and a Supreme Court ruling that will determine which has legitimacy is imminent.

Transparency International PNG's Richard Kassman says it's vital for the country's laws that the court sets a precedent by resolving whether the Peter O'Neill-led cabinet or the one headed by Sir Michael Somare is legitimate.

Mr Kassman says although politicians have commended the public for not getting involved, another strong view is that people have just got on with their lives.

"If this sort of behaviour goes on then the people will lose more respect than they're already losing now for government and authority and it's not a good position to be in, where government starts to lose its relevance."

Richard Kassman says the next few years will be infected by politicians' behaviour with apparent impunity.