PNG parliament approves no-confidence amendments

PNG parliament approves no-confidence amendments

PNG parliament approves no-confidence amendments

Updated 17 July 2013, 19:20 AEST

Parliament approves PNG's constitution amendment to make it harder to raise no-confidence motions.

Papua New Guinea's parliament has given preliminary approval to amend the country's constitution to make it harder to raise motions of no-confidence.

Its political system has often been destabilised by no-confidence challenges against the prime minister, toppling the government.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill presented the changes to the country's parliament for debate on Wednesday.

The changes propose that a no-confidence motion should require a fifth of MPs to support its introduction, and then one month must pass between the challenge and the vote.

Currently a challenge requires a tenth of MPs and a wait of one week.

Mr O'Neill says they aim to prevent constant instability.

"We as members and leaders of this country, we must not be part of this recklessness and totally negative approach that is undermining our country continuously," he said.

The amendment was debated in Parliament and passed a first vote 87 to 3.

A second vote will be held in two months, at which point the amendments could become law.

Establishing stability

Mr O'Neill says accusations he is using the amendments to hold onto power are "laughable".

"I will remain in this office as long as I retain the confidence of the majority of the elected members of this honourable house," he said.

"These changes are not about protecting Peter O'Neill, they are about strengthening a long-term government stability and confidence."

Mr O'Neill says the amendments will not prevent motions of no-confidence but will ensure "sufficient notice" is given before a motion can be moved.

"It will guarantee that the vote of no-confidence motion is treated as a very serious matter for our people and our country," he said.

PNG politician Ken Fairweather said in parliament he supported the change.

"With the amount of money that the government has... we need to take a better look at the way we do things," he said.

"Whilst it might go against my natural instinct at having a bit of fun at everybody, I'll support the bill, the amendments, and I think everyone should too."