Dame Carol Kidu bows out as PNG opposition leader

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16 May 2012

Papua New Guinea's Opposition Leader, Dame Carol Kidu has bowed out of politics, asking to be remembered not as a women's advocate but as a social development policy maker. Dame Carol became opposition leader in February - the first time in six months the position had been filled - in the midst of a political crisis following the replacement of Sir Michael Somare by Peter O'Neill as prime minister.

In her final speech to parliament, Dame Carol says the elections due next month provide a chance for a fresh start. "The political impasse of the past nine months has been a trying time for all, but we must thank the people of Papua New Guinea for their peaceful patience with their leaders," she said.

"With the political play that has been going on with our young nation, it's all known by record that I did not support the activities of the last nine months, but I'm really glad now that we are going to elections, and whatever comes out of the election, it is a fresh start.

Dame Carol entered politics in 1997, winning the seat of Port Moresby South in that year's parliamentary elections. The former Somare government minister is currently the only female member of parliament, and had championed a bill that would set aside 22 seats in Parliament for women.That bill failed to get enough numbers to pass through parliament on three separate occasions.  Dame Carol says she wants to be remembered not as a women's advocate but as a social development policy maker.

"I'd like to be remembered as someone who was very concerned about policy development in the social sector and the community," she said.
"And I thank the people of Moresby South for giving me this great honour to be on this floor on their behalf for the last 15 years."

[Radio Australia]

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