22 Aug 2012

PNG poised to repeal new controversial laws

2:22 pm on 22 August 2012

The Papua New Guinea government is to repeal controversial laws giving parliament the power to suspend judges as part of an ambitious five-year reform programme.

The Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio yesterday opened the ninth parliament of PNG and declared an end to the political turmoil seen since August last year.

In a speech outlining the government's agenda for the next five years, he declared the government would repeal the internationally criticised Judicial Conduct Act, which gave parliament the power to effectively suspend judges.

The government would also scrap an age restriction of 75 years for the prime minister - a law introduced last year to keep 76-year-old, court-backed Sir Michael Somare from retaking the top job.

Sir Michael is now part of the O'Neill's government, the pair having reconciled after the election.

The government plans to assume hiring and firing power over senior public servants and will restructure major departments such as national planning, which manages much of the development budget.