PNG Opposition claims budget illegitimate

7:25 pm on 23 November 2020

Papua New Guinea's Opposition has described the government's new national budget as illegitimate.

Papua New Guinea MP for Vanimo-Green, Belden Namah.

Papua New Guinea MP for Vanimo-Green, Belden Namah. Photo: Alex Smith

The Budget was passed in parliament without the usual debate last week before the James Marape-led government promptly adjourned the house until April .

Parliament's Speaker, Job Pomat, recalled parliament last Tuesday after ruling a decision by his deputy to entertain a motion to adjourn parliament by the Opposition the previous week was out of order.

It enabled James Marape to stave off a likely vote of no-confidence.

But the sitting is being challenged in the Supreme Court by the opposition which alleges various irregularities occurred.

Opposition Leader, Belden Namah, said the budget was passed without the required minimum of 56 MPs in attendance.

The government said it followed correct procedure in passing the budget.

However Namah claimed the Speaker breached the rules by allowing the second and third readings of the budget to occur "when this directly contravened Parliament Standing Orders".

"The actions of the Speaker are at best negligence, or at worst are a demonstration of serious unethical and immoral collusion," Namah said.

"So now the Speaker must be honest with the country and reveal if he was negligent in his job, or colluding with Marape to subvert Parliamentary process, because the answer can only be one or the other."

Sam Basil speaking from the Opposition camp in Vanimo

Sam Basil speaking from the Opposition camp in Vanimo Photo: Facebook

Meanwhile the Opposition maintained it had the numbers to form government.

Speaking from their camp in Vanimo, Bulolo MP Sam Basil, said they expected the court to rule in their favour.

"We all are confident that we will walk into parliament on the 1st of December. So all in all I can say that government is here. And I'm calling to my other brothers in government right now: you better think twice now that the number is here.

"Get on the next plane and come to Vanimo. We are still brothers, we will still accept you here."

The national court is expected to make a ruling on the Opposition's challenge on Wednesday.