18 Dec 2013

PNG's Speaker says he is within rights to renovate parliament

9:48 am on 18 December 2013

The speaker of parliament in Papua New Guinea says he has a mandate for his plans to remove what he described as inappropriate cultural artefacts from parliament building.

There's been a public outcry over Theo Zurenuoc's decision to remove carved heads from above the entrance to parliament.

"He also plans to replace a large totem structure inside parliament with a National Unity Pole containing a Bible and a copy of the constitution."

The Prime Minister Peter O'Neill last week asked Mr Zurenuoc to suspend the plans while members of the national executive council have voiced outrage over the removal of the artefacts.

But Mr Zurenouc says he is within his rights to continue with his renovation of parliament.

The NEC doesn't have any say on what goes on in parliament, or what is put in to parliament or removed from parliament. It is actually done by the speaker with the advice from the national parliament house committee, and that is basically what has happened.

The speaker of parliament in Papua New Guinea, Theo Zurenuoc.