8 Jul 2013

PNG opposition strongly against constitutional changes

3:55 pm on 8 July 2013

The Papua New Guinea opposition says the government is engaging in constitutional terrorism over a proposal to toughen the rules for votes of no confidence.

The prime minister, Peter O'Neill, last week proposed the changes to make sure motions of no confidence are made public three months before they come to a vote, as well as reducing the minimum annual number of parliamentary sitting days.

The opposition leader, Belden Namah, says the prime minister has yet to specify the public interest or national goal that such amendments would achieve, promote or enhance.

He says the prime minister ought to be clear that manipulating the constitution to avoid or escape the scrutiny of parliament, does not constitute a public but a selfish interest.

Mr Namah said he will launch legal action to stop the amendments being discussed when parliament resume tomorrow.

He says any further constitutional amendments should be subject to a referendum.

He also wants a tougher separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government.