Don Polye

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Don Polye

Don Pomb Polye[1][2] is a senior Papua New Guinean politician from Enga Province. He has been a Cabinet Minister under two Prime Ministers to date, and was briefly deputy Prime Minister from July to December 2010. Earlier, he has held Foreign Affairs, Immigration, Transport, Civil Aviation, Finance and Treasury portfolios.

Polye was first elected in 2002 to the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea representing the Kandep Open electorate as a member of the National Alliance Party. He was the Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation from July 2006 to August 2009. Sir Michael Somare, the Prime Minister, appointed Polye to that position in July 2006 as part of a Cabinet reshuffle.[3] As Minister for Civil Aviation he introduced an "open air" policy ensuring that Air Niugini faced competition from other airlines starting from 2007.[4]

Polye was rushed from a political rally in his Kandep electorate in June 2007 after shots were fired. A rival candidate for his seat was later charged with attempted murder.[5]

Polye was removed from his position as Member of Parliament on 14 August 2009 when the National Court determined that his victory in the 2007 general election was invalid.[6] The judge's ruling included the observation that it was hard to believe that some polling stations had returned a 100% vote for Polye.[7] The by-election for the seat took place on 9 November 2009, and Polye ran as a candidate.[8] He was successful in regaining his seat.

In July 2010, he replaced Puka Temu as deputy Prime Minister, when the latter tried unsuccessfully to unseat Prime Minister Somare through a parliamentary motion of no confidence.[9] Polye himself was removed as deputy Prime Minister on 7 December 2010, in an impromptu cabinet reshuffle conducted under what Australia's ABC News called "unusual circumstances".[10] However he was appointed as Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister later in December 2010, holding that position until another cabinet reshuffle in June 2011. He supported the Opposition when it brought down the government through a parliamentary motion of no confidence in August 2011, and was appointed Minister for Finance by new Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.[11]

In October, the National Alliance Party consequently sought to expel him from the party, but was prevented from doing so by a court order.[12] Later that month, it was reported simultaneously that Polye, along with many others, had been expelled from the party "for conduct prejudicial to the interest of the party", and that he had been elected as party leader.[13] In fact, the party split into factions, one of which was led by Polye. In January 2012, he announced that he was de-registering the National Alliance Party, despite the existence of a rival faction claiming to be the legitimate party. Polye and his faction launched a new party, the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Rural Party ("T.H.E. Party"), ahead of the June 2012 general election.[14][15][16][17]

On 27 February 2012, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill relieved him of the Finance portfolio, taking it on himself, citing "the continuing lack of ability by the department and ministry of finance to contain expenditure overruns outside of the budget appropriations". Polye retained the Treasury portfolio, and gained that of Border Development.[18] Following the results of the 2012 general election Polye retained his position as Treasurer under a new cabinet announced by O'Neill.[19] On 10 March 2014, O'Neill sacked him again, accusing him of having a destabilising effect on the government.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Key Note Address to the 27th Papua New Guinea – Australia Business Council Forum by the Hon. Don Pomb Polye, MP", Papua New Guinean Ministry for Immigration
  2. ^ "SPEECH BY THE MINISTER FOR FINANCE & TREASURY, HONOURABLE DON POMB POLYE, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE BANK OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA STRATEGIC PLAN 2012-15", Bank of Papua New Guinea
  3. ^ Prime Minister of New Guinea media release "SIR MICHAEL MAKES MAJOR CABINET RESHUFFLE" 5 July 2006
  4. ^ "Air Brunei set to offer competition for Papua New Guinea carrier". Radio New Zealand International. 3 March 2006. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  5. ^ The Age, "Rival denies shooting at PNG's deputy PM" 19 June 2007
  6. ^ Post-Courier, "Polye out" 17 August 2009
  7. ^ The National, "Red-faced", 28 August 2009
  8. ^ Post-Courier, "H’lands ‘hope’ back to polls" 27 August 2009
  9. ^ "Somare jets off after cementing rule", The Australian, 23 July 2010
  10. ^ Fox, Liam: Deputy PM sacked in PNG shake-up, ABC News, 8 December 2010.
  11. ^ Cabinet of Papua New Guinea, CIA Factbook, 18 August 2011
  12. ^ "Court stops NA from sacking Don Polye", Post Courier, 6 October 2011
  13. ^ "National Alliance party sack 12 parliamentarians, leader calls on party executives to resign", Pacific Islands News Association
  14. ^ "Polye splits National Alliance party, forms new group to contest 2012 polls", Islands Business, 17 January 2012
  15. ^ "PNG’S DEFUNCT RULING PARTY REFORMS AS ‘T.H.E. PARTY’", The National, 23 January 2012
  16. ^ "New party launched", Post Courier, 24 January 2012
  17. ^ "New PNG political party to focus on strengthening family unit", Radio New Zealand International, 24 January 2012
  18. ^ "Polye loses powers", The National, 28 February 2012
  19. ^ "PNG PM announces full cabinet membership", ABC Radio Australia, 11 August 2012
  20. ^ "PNG treasurer sacked by PM O'Neill", News.com.au, 10 March 2014