22 Mar 2012

PNG opposition leader warns of ramifications of Judicial Conduct Bill

2:36 pm on 22 March 2012

The leader of Papua New Guinea's opposition, Dame Carol Kidu, has described the passing of the Judicial Conduct law in parliament yesterday as a step too far by the O'Neill government.

The new law, which was rushed through parliament, gives MPs the power to direct the governor-general to appoint a tribunal to investigate judges, and effectively empowers the cabinet to suspend judges.

The move is seen by many as another attempt to remove PNG's Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, who the government accuses of financial mismanagement.

One of the few non-government MPs allowed by the speaker to debate the bill, Dame Carol Kidu labelled it an erosion of the independence of PNG's judiciary.

"I'm concerned because one of the first questions that reputable foreign investors ask is: is the judiciary independent of politics? So, it could have other ramifications, not just this particular thing at this moment. And the law is clearly designed to move certain persons from the bench."