Asia-Pacific

May 25, 2012

Death of constitutional government in PNG is looming

PNG’s democratic process has been critically, perhaps fatally, wounded.

Professor Damien Kingsbury

Crikey international affairs commentator

Papua New Guinea’s chief justice, Sir Salamo Injia, faces court today charged with sedition by a government that he and two colleagues have ruled illegal. The arrest of Sir Salamo and the impending arrest of his two Supreme Court colleagues follows their ruling, for a second time, that PNG’s ousted prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, be reinstated.

The court’s ruling incensed the de facto government of Peter O’Neill, in particular Deputy PM Belden Namah, who led police and soldiers in the judge’s arrest. How the subsequent charge of sedition against Sir Salamo is addressed in court today will have profound consequences for PNG and, to a considerable extent, how it engages with the wider world.

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3 comments

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3 thoughts on “Death of constitutional government in PNG is looming

  1. Gavin Moodie

    Thanx for this analysis.

    Developments in PNG have been very sad and deeply disappointing. I can’t see what Australia can do just now aside from urging the country to proceed with its forthcoming election and honour its results, as foreign minister Carr urges.

  2. Roger de Robillard

    Who will call the elections? The apparently unlawful O’Neill government?
    Australia has often openly interfered in lesser issues in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands: for example when the sovereign government of each country has chosen an Attorney-General not to Australia’s liking.
    Australia has spoken out about Fiji and its alleged lack of respect for freedom of the Press.
    Why is Australia now keeping quiet when an unlawfully appointed Deputy Prime Minister apparently commits contempt in the face of the court by interfering with a seating of the Court and making unsubstantiated allegations against the Chief Justice during a court sitting and threatening the Chief Justice with arrest?
    When will the Australian Bar Associations speak out in defence of the Rule of Law principles??

  3. khtagh

    You have to give PNG one thing they know how to have a real!! political bun fight.

    Two sets of thugs fighting for their own self interest. Damn the rule of law.

    Come to think about it the Mad Monk, & the rest of the lieberals would fit right in. Could we deport them to PNG?

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