29 Jan 2004

PNG parliament recall possible to clear way for Australian police deployment

5:38 am on 29 January 2004

Australian government officials are working with the Papua New Guinea government to try and find ways to provide legal cover for the planned deployment to PNG of hundreds of Australian police and civil servants.

An agreeement to send a team of more than 300 police and officials was announced last month, with the first personnel expected in Bougainville before the end of last year, and the remainder early this year.

However, the PNG parliament was adjourned last week for more than five months before passing the necessary enabling legislation.

An Australian government spokesman says Canberra still hopes the personnel can be sent as soon as possible and officials from both governments are exploring ways this might be achieved.

He says a special sitting of parliament is one possibility being canvassed.