PNG PM denies being Australian citizen

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill (L) has denied being an Australian citizen.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill (L) has denied being an Australian citizen.

Papua New Guinea's prime minister has told a court he's never been an Australian citizen amid questions about his eligibility to hold office.

Attorney-General Alfred Manase this week launched a probe into the citizenship of all 111 sitting members of PNG's parliament after outspoken opposition politician Bryan Kramer alleged PM Peter O'Neill held dual Australian citizenship through his Melbourne-born father.

Dual citizens are not eligible to serve as members of the Pacific country's parliament.

O'Neill's lawyers on Thursday submitted an affidavit saying he had never been an Australian citizen and did not hold an Australian passport.

The prime minister has also asked for a court order preventing Kramer from continuing to make what he calls defamatory statements.

Kramer has said he will only provide proof in court or parliament next week.

The claims come after the embattled O'Neill this month managed to delay a vote of no confidence by adjourning parliament until next Tuesday.

The opposition plan to oust O'Neill, in office since 2011, came after a series of defections from his party.

Australian Associated Press