5 Aug 2013

PNG opposition says Australian asylum deal lacks legitimacy

7:20 pm on 5 August 2013

A senior Papua New Guinea opposition MP says the refugee resettlement agreement that Prime MInister Peter O'Neill signed with Australia lacks legitimacy.

Under the agreement all boat people trying to reach Australia will be sent to Manus Island and if subsequently found to be refugees will be resettled in PNG or in another Pacific island country.

Dr Allan Marat, who is a former Attorney General, says Mr O'Neill failed to consult parliament about this agreement, which he says opens PNG up to a wide range of problems, should hundreds of refugees from foreign cultures settle in the country.

"What Peter O'Neill said about the opposition, that the opposition is inexperienced and it didn't know the process, that with deals like this, they had to be signed first before they are presented on the floor of parliament. That is definitely against the flow of how things are done in PNG. We don't do things like that."

Dr Allan Marat

Meanwhile, PNG's opposition leader, Belden Namah, has re-submitted his court challenge to the government's decision to allow Australia's asylum seeker processing centre on Manus.