3 Feb 2005

PNG Transport Minister says country doesn't need a grand coalition

2:25 pm on 3 February 2005

The Papua New Guinea Transport Minister says the country doesn't need a grand coalition; instead it needs an Opposition with teeth.

The National newspaper reports Don Polye as saying plans by the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, to bring in new recruits from the Opposition would only have demoralised existing cabinet ministers.

Last week, Sir Michael announced that he wasn't inviting the opposition into a proposed grand coalition government.

Mr Polye describes the opposition as defunct and he's challenged it to put forward alternative policies.

The opposition leader, Peter O'Neill, hasn't responded directly to Mr Polye but he has released a statement, saying he is duty-bound to improve the opposition's level of contribution to the nation.

The National newspaper reports a source as saying Sir Michael still wants opposition support to pass constitutional changes.

Parliament is due to sit in two weeks' time.