22 Mar 2012

PNG's Dame Carol Kidu calls for Speaker to come from outside parliament

8:22 pm on 22 March 2012

The leader of Papua New Guinea's opposition says the country should change to a system where the Parliament Speaker is not an MP.

Dame Carol Kidu was one of the few MPs allowed by Speaker Sir Jeffrey Nape to debate the Judicial Conduct law which was rushed through parliament this week by the O'Neill government.

The law effectively empowers the government to suspend judges.

Dame Carol says it's the latest in a series of dangerous political precedents made under the Speaker over recent months.

"I firmly believe that we should move towards the process used in Bougainville and the Solomon Islands where the Speaker is not a member of parliament. There's a different process by which a speaker is brought in afterwards. I firmly believe that the NEC (cabinet) should not have any influence over appointing or removing a Chief Justice. There's a lot of things that we have to look at if we serious about getting our democratic processes back on track."

Dame Carol Kidu says that a bipartisan committee should be put in place after this year's election to have the constitution reviewed.