20 Aug 2013

PNG opposition leader challenges Manus camp in court again

10:17 am on 20 August 2013

A constitutional challenge to Australia's tough border protection policy will be taken up in Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court today, with lawyers expected to push for access to detainees housed on Manus Island.

Loani Henao, who brought the challenge on behalf of PNG opposition leader Belden Namah, also told AAP he has communicated with an Afghan asylum seeker housed on Manus Island.

Lawyers seeking to talk to asylum seekers were earlier this year prevented from doing so, despite having the backing of a court order.

Mr Henao's comments come as PNG gears up for a second round of hearings into the asylum-seeker detention centre.

An earlier challenge to the centre on Manus was dismissed by the courts on procedural grounds.

The challenge is expected to be under way when the government of Peter O'Neill introduces laws in September to block further challenges to the centre.

The laws will also create a new visa class for asylum seekers resettled in PNG, and may also consider options for allowing resettled asylum seekers to work in the private and public sectors.

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last month announced all asylum seekers who arrive by boat will be sent to PNG.