PNG's reformationist speaker urged to become a pastor

1:17 pm on 7 September 2015

The speaker of Papua New Guinea's parliament is facing mounting criticism over his reformation campaign.

A view of the government benches in Papua New Guinea's parliament.

PNG's Speaker Theo Zurenuoc is leading what he calls a "reformation" of parliament Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The Catholic Professionals' Society has announced it will mount a court challenge against Theo Zurenuoc's ongoing reform and modernisation agenda.

As part of his agenda, the speaker plans to replace all of Parliament House's traditional cultural objects with christian symbols such as the King James bible.

Mr Zurenuoc, who has already removed various traditional artefacts from the House, considers the cultural objects to be idolatrous.

The Bulolo MP Sam Basil says members of parliament are meant to be legislators, not pastors.

"I think the speaker of parliament should go back to the seminary and become a pastor. I think he's in the wrong place. The people of Fincshafen voted him in to serve the country and make good laws and deliver services back to his district. They're not voting him in here to chop up our cultural heritage at the parliament. I think he's done the wrong thing. He should be charged for it."

PNG's former prime minister Sir Michael Somare has said Mr Zurenuoc's actions may breach section 45 by imposing his personal views on religion and faith because Parliamentary approval has not been sought.

Meanwhile, Trade Union Congress general secretary John Paska and others are filing a Supreme Court reference seeking an interpretation of whether the Speaker's actions have breached PNG's constitution.

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