Manus governor unimpressed with Namah's legal action | Pacific Beat

Manus governor unimpressed with Namah's legal action

Manus governor unimpressed with Namah's legal action

Updated 21 January 2013, 18:29 AEST

Papua New Guinea's opposition leader has carried through with a promise to challenge the legality of the Australian government's asylum seeker processing centre on Manus Island.

However, the launching of that legal action is unlikely to be welcomed on Manus Island, where locals believe they are starting to see the benefit of having the centre there.

The Governor of Manus Charlie Benjamin told Pacific Correspondent Campbell Cooney he's not convinced Mr Namah's driven by concerns over PNG's constitution, saying he believes its got more to do with party politics.

Presenter: Campbell Cooney

Speaker: The Governor of Manus Island, Charlie Benjamin

BENJAMIN: Because in Manus, I think the people are disappointed. They'd rather he concentrate on his electorate, which is in West Sepik. There is an excursion and a small skirmishes between the Papua New Guinea people there, the borders and the Indonesian down there. So we'd rather see him concentrate on what is happening in his province, rather than concentrate on what is happening in Manus. Because from this, we know that we would be benefiting one way or another, directly or indirectly.

COONEY: The people there do feel the benefit of having the centre. They're starting to see some benefits from it now, is that correct?

BENJAMIN: Yes, in terms of employment, yes, our people are starting to get employment, in terms of government support. We still have to receive anything as yet since the first lot of asylum seekers came to Manus.

The Prime Minister and I think the Australian High Commissioner will be coming to Manus on Thursday and Friday, so hopefully they might announce some commitments or they might even have probably something for the province. But as it is, there is really nothing yet as yet.

COONEY: Were you surprised when you heard what Mr Namah was doing?

BENJAMIN: Eh, I wasn't surprised. As an Opposition leader, I'm sure he would be doing everything he can do try and spoil the best name of the current government. But I don't think it is necessary, but I think he has his own reasons. I think it's more political than the actual thing itself.

COONEY: Have you been given any indication when you know when the next step in this will be?

BENJAMIN: Eh, I have no idea yet. I have to find out what is happening, what is the latest. I heard that he's lawyer is trying to file something in Port Moresby, but I really don't know anything as yet.

Contributors

Campbell Cooney

Campbell Cooney

Correspondent

Campbell joined the ABC in 1997 and has been reporting as Radio Australia’s Pacific Correspondent since 2006.

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