3 Aug 2012

Fear of being outside Government prompts wholesale rush into O'Neill camp - Basil

10:30 am on 3 August 2012

The PNG Party MP Sam Basil says that fear of being outside government is driving new MPs to the coalition of Peter O'Neill who is expected to be voted in as Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister in parliament tomorrow.

Mr O'Neill is the leader of the People's National Congress, the party which has emerged from the general election with the most MPs, and has been invited by the Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio to form the next government.

Mr O'Neill appears to have support from as many as 80 out of the 111 MPs, excluding the PNG Party.

Sam Basil says access to a range of development funds is a critical factor.

"All those fundings, I think, normally the government doesn't make it available to the opposition. We all know that. This is why you can see that, psychologically, it's affected a lot of new members. They are so worry and scared to be in the opposition. That is why they running to where the caretaker government is, without thinking about who is the proper Prime Minister they should be voting for."

Meanwhile, the former deputy Prime Minister, Belden Namah has called for the Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish to be recalled after he attended a state ceremony where Peter O'Neill was invited to form the next government.

Mr Namah says Mr Kemish violated PNG's sovereignty by attending Wednesday's ceremony.

He is calling on the Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, to apologise and to discipline the high commissioner.