2 Nov 2004

PNG Speaker threatens to cut Opposition allowances for boycotting Parliament

9:10 pm on 2 November 2004

The Speaker of the Papua New Guinea Parliament has threatened to cut allowances and expenses for Opposition MPs after they failed to turn up at the beginning of a new session today.

The Opposition has frequently stayed away from Parliament this year after being stymied in its attempts to bring votes of no confidence.

The Speaker, Jeffery Nape, ruled today that such votes could not be brought until a Government reference on the issue is considered by the Supreme Court.

This could take months, though as our correspondent, Peter Niesi, reports, the Opposition could still move to suspend Standing Orders and this may force the Speaker to entertain a vote.

"the Opposition is still determined to push a vote of no confidence through, but the question of numbers will continue to plague them, given the split political party scenario the Government is currently driving on. While on that, the Speaker also indicated he will not be paying any Opposition bills for hotels and aircraft hires and he has also indicated that he will be asking the Salaries and Remuneration Committee to consider cutting the Opposition members sitting allowances for not turning up for Parliament's sessions."