MoU illegal – Manus detention centre unconstitutional, court told

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The National, Friday June 28th, 2013

THE agreement between Papua New Guinea and Australia to establish an asylum processing centre on Manus is illegal because it breached the Constitution, the Supreme Court in Port Moresby was told yesterday.
Loani Henao, representing Opposition leader Belden Namah in an objection to competency hearing, told a full Supreme Court bench of Justices David Cannings, Jacinta Murray and Stephen Kassman: “The memorandum of agreement is in breach of section 42 of the Constitution and therefore is unconstitutional.”
But Ian Molloy, acting for Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato and the National Executive Council, told the tribunal that Namah’s application should be dismissed because it was incompetent.
He said Namah also did not fulfil all proper criteria under PNG’s Supreme Court rules.
“The correct form of rules have not been followed.
“The rules provide that the applicant has to sign the application, and that has not happened.”
Molloy said the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Australian and PNG governments to provide persons seeking asylum in Australia a temporary assessment centre in PNG was lawful.