20 Nov 2012

Further PNG call for affirmative action for women

6:53 pm on 20 November 2012

A former MP in Papua New Guinea says other forms of affirmative action are needed, if reserved seats for women are not to be put in place.

Last year, parliament passed a bill to set up 22 reserved seats for women, but enabling legislation was not passed in time for this year's election, in which three women were elected to the 111-seat parliament.

The three current MPs say they will not support such a bill if it is brought up again.

Dame Carol Kidu championed the legislation in the House, and says the debate over the legislation has served its purpose.

"Three is not enough. One was not enough, and to be quite frank, three is not enough either, and I think they will probably find that as time goes on, but maybe not. But when it comes to lobbying on issues, very contentious issues, if they start to lobby on contentious issues to do with women's health and things like that, and I don't know what their opinions are, you'd need a concerted effort to get some changes."

Dame Carol Kidu says she wonders if the three women would have been successful if there had not been a five-year debate over women's seats.