16 Feb 2012

PNG gets first female opposition leader

7:15 am on 16 February 2012

Papua New Guinea's only female MP, Dame Carol Kidu, has become the leader and the only member of the nation's opposition.

Dame Carol was recognised as opposition leader yesterday by the speaker, making her the country's first female to hold the position.

Dame Carol said being the single member of the opposition was an impossible task, and invited others to join her.

The 15 year veteran of PNG's male dominated house took her seat at the head of the opposition benches and is the only member to do so since parliament's August 2011 decision to bring down the nine-year-old Somare government.

MPs loyal to former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare currently occupy the non-aligned middle benches.

The driver of the bill designed to give women up to 22 seats in parliament, Dame Carol is retiring at the June elections.

Later, Mr O'Neill congratulated Dame Carol on taking the post recognising its historical significance.