BY JO CHANDLER
The Age (Melbourne)
AS THE ONLY FEMALE MP in Papua New Guinea's resolutely macho 109-member Parliament, Queensland-born Dame Carol Kidu is well accustomed to running a lonely race.
Now she's proposing to form a one-woman opposition and - in the absence of other contenders - be recognised by the Parliament as opposition leader.
The move was compelled by her distress over the political machinations behind the short-lived military mutiny on Thursday which aimed to restore Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare as prime minister.
Dame Carol is a long-serving and loyal minister in the Somare government and a steadfast figure within the cabinet-in-(internal) exile which has maintained an unrelenting battle to be restored to power since being deposed last August.
She is distancing herself from the desperate actions of Somare loyalists who reportedly endorsed the abortive coup attempt.
While continuing to insist that Sir Michael's removal was illegal and that Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's claim to power is unconstitutional - as was declared in the judgment of the Supreme Court in December - Dame Carol said: ''We must uphold the rule of law. Thus I am uncomfortable with the media statements (if correct) that the Somare government endorsed actions that are outside the rule of law.
''I wish to make it clear that I was not present in any such meetings and I disassociate myself from active participation in both factions in the ongoing political impasse.''
In a statement yesterday she said: ''I have not changed my position that, although Parliament is the supreme legislator as rightly claimed by the O'Neill government, it is not supreme in itself and is answerable to the constitution and to the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea.''
Despite this, Dame Carol told The Sunday Age that the fractured and fragile nation urgently required a functional Parliament and an active, questioning opposition in the months leading up to the general election scheduled for mid-year.
''I am willing to concede to the reality now - though I don't accept it as being correct. It's about pragmatism,'' she said.