5 Jul 2005

PNG's Opposition says the ECP stalemate can be resolved through existing legislation

8:11 pm on 5 July 2005

PNG's deputy opposition leader says the apparent deadlock over the derailed Enhanced Cooperation Programme could be resolved by using existing legislation.

Andrew Baing says the way forward is for the government to set up a special forces agreement that works within the constitution.

The ECP saw the arrival of Australian police officers to bolster security in PNG but they were pulled out by Australia after the Supreme Court in PNG ruled that their immunity provisions were unconstitutional.

Mr Baing says the PNG police commissioner should be appointed to

determine the issue of immunity on a case by case basis.

"I think they should use the special forces legislation which gives the Commisssioner for Police here some power to decide on individual cases if the need be to provide immunity or not."

Mr Baing says cases deserving prosecution could be dealt with by Australia.

He warned that if Australians working in PNG's government departments pull out it will be damaging to law and order, internal and regional security.