18 Jan 2013

PNG's first speaker dies in Brisbane

6:49 am on 18 January 2013

The first speaker of Papua New Guinea's parliament, Sir Barry Holloway, has died.

78-year old Sir Barry died in Brisbane's Mater Hospital on Wednesday with his family members and former partner, Fua, present.

A formidable politician, he first came to PNG as a Kiap, or provincial administrator, in 1953 at age 18.

Sir Barry went on to form the Pangu Pati in 1968 and he became speaker of the house of assembly in 1972.

When PNG gained full independence from Australia in 1975, he served as the nation's first Speaker until 1977, before taking on the role of finance minister until 1982.

He ran for the governorship of the Eastern Highlands at the 2012 national election, narrowly losing to Julie Soso, one of the three women members of PNG's 111-member parliament.

Sir Michael Somare's spokeswoman, Betha Somare, says the former prime minister cherished Sir Barry's contribution to PNG and noted his contributions to legislative and constitutional amendments.