8 Jun 2005

PNG opposition against immunity for Australian police

3:33 pm on 8 June 2005

The Papua New Guinea opposition says the government should take a harder line and refuse to grant immunity for Australian police in PNG under a multi-million aid deal.

Talks get under way in Port Moresby tomorrow between PNG and Australian officials in a bid by both parties to rescue the Enhanced Cooperation Programme, or ECP.

It was largely suspended following a ruling from the Supreme Court last month that immunity granted to Australians in PNG under the ECP was unconstitutional.

The PNG opposition leader, Peter O'Neill, says he supports the ECP, but it must comply with the laws of the country.

He also says that when it comes to the ECP, officials also aren't doing their jobs properly.

"Australians have got to be told that this is the laws of the country, we have to live by it and you have to learn to live by it too. I don't believe that I go to Australia and I don't have to comply with the Australian laws. So the same applies up here. And with respect to our officials, sometimes they are not telling the Australian officials the actual position of the leaders and the Government will. They are telling the Australians what they want the Australians to know and as a result we have a confusing situation."

Peter O'Neill says Australia is unreasonable to demand immunity.