24 Mar 2012

PNG's PM to respond to petition against Judicial Conduct law

5:10 am on 24 March 2012

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill is expected to respond to a petition by thousands of University students against a new controversial law on the judiciary when he gives a national address on Sunday night.

Mr O'Neill's office says the government will consider the petition calling on it to repeal the Judicial Conduct law which was passed through parliament this week.

The law, introduced on Tuesday and passed by a vote of 63 to 7 on Wednesday, effectively gives government the power to suspend judges.

An estimated 2 to 3 thousand students from the University of PNG's Port Moresby campus marched to near the Prime Minister's Office.

There have been no reports of unrest and police, after refusing the protestors permission to occupy the parliament grounds in Waigani, have been praised for allowing the protest to go ahead.

The Judicial Conduct Bill has drawn widespread criticism from NGOs, the legal fraternity and church groups.