14 Feb 2012

PNG parliament resumes, to debate critical legislation

8:29 pm on 14 February 2012

Parliament has resumed in Papua New Guinea with the Peter O'Neill government asking for the rival grouping of Sir Michael Somare to be present on the floor for debate on critical issues for the country.

Several members of the Somare faction, which claims to be the legitimate government, appeared in the house for the first time in months today, sitting in middle benches.

The O'Neill Government has notified that the critical issues to be tabled are enabling laws related to the Governor's seats, including the formalisation of parliamentary seats for the two newly created provinces Hela and Jiwaka.

The bill o create a Sovereign Wealth Fund is to be tabled along with legislation to create 22 new women's parliamentary seats after an earlier defeat in a parliamentary enabling vote.

The driver of the women's bill, Dame Carol Kidu, says she's still vying to become the Opposition Leader, a post currently vacant:

"No, I was very cheeky today and I went and sat in the Opposition Leader's chair. The Speaker instructed me to leave the chair until he had made a ruling (on who is opposition leader) which he says will be tomorrow. He has received applications from other niterested persons who are presently members of the present government."

Dame Carol Kidu