25 Jun 2014

PNG's O'Neill withdraws amendments

6:54 am on 25 June 2014

The prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O'Neill, has backed away from pushing through controversial amendment to the country's constitution.

In parliament in Port Moresby on Tuesday, Mr O'Neill announced the amendments would be withdrawn to allow more debate.

Jamie Tahana reports.

"One of the amendments, which would have made it harder to pass motions of no-confidence in a government, had been labelled draconian by a former supreme court judge. When Mr O'Neill withdrew the amendments, parliament voted to adjourn for two months. At the same time a few hundred metres away a thousand people defied a police ban and gathered in a Port Moresby park to protest against the prime minister's handling of corruption allegations.

Mr O'Neill was issued with an arrest warrant last week following a major investigation by the anti-corruption unit Task Force Sweep. He responded by disbanding the unit and sacking several high-profile ministers and police officers."