22 Jan 2004

PNG parliament adjourned without voting on a contentious constitutional change

5:56 pm on 22 January 2004

The Papua New Guinea Government has adjourned Parliament for more than five months.

It will sit again on June 29th.

The move temporarily saves the Government from having to deal with a threatened vote of no confidence when its grace period finishes next month.

The Post Courier says the Opposition celebrated in Parliament yesterday saying the adjournment meant it had successfully opposed the tabling of the crucial second vote on the Government's attempt to extend that grace period from 18 months to 3 years.

The Government had been expected to submit the controversial clause 145 yesterday but were a vote short of the 73 or two thirds needed to make the consitutional change.

The legislation has been criticised as undemocratic and opening the way for a dictatorship, but Cabinet Minister Dr Puka Temu says they have no hidden agenda other than political stability.