Papua New Guinea's O'Neill government has indicated that it may backtrack on the Judicial Conduct Law if the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, resigns.
The law, which was rushed through parliament last month and gives government the power to suspend judges, met with widespread opposition.
The Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said the law was aimed at strengthening the role and conduct of the judiciary.
The former Chief Justice, Sir Arnold Amet, who is the Attorney General in the rival Somare grouping which also claims to be government, says the law has never been anything but an attack on Sir Salamo.
"It was reported on Saturday that Peter O'Neill said he would be willing to take the act back to parliament to have it rescinded if the Chief Justice stepped aside. So all that hulabaloo about strengthening the judiciary and holding the judiciary accountable as to propriety and so on are absolute nonsense."
Sir Arnold Amet