9 Feb 2013

PNG MP defends grace period extension

11:47 am on 9 February 2013

The Papua New Guinea MP Gary Juffa has defended his decision to vote for the bill to extend the grace period protecting a government from no-confidence votes.

Critics of the extension, from 18 to 30 months after an election, say it restrains the ability of parliament to prevent a government becoming a dictatorship.

But Mr Juffa, who is the Governor of Northern Province, says the extension means a government no longer has an excuse for not implementing policies that assist the country's development.

"Obviously there's a lot of outcry from the public and from concerned organisations and entities and individuals that, you know, we've given this extension and we really can't do anything now, the government can use its tremendous power to be able to do whatever it wants... that's true. But it can use its tremendous power to do good or bad. Now, it's up to us to watch and then react accordingly."

Gary Juffa says if a government then fails to perform, the public can remove it at the polls.