7 May 2014

Sacked PNG minister still in the mix for front bench seat

8:27 pm on 7 May 2014

Papua New Guinea's parliament has resumed with two empty seats on the government front bench.

The seats were formerly occupied by the Triumph Heritage and Empowerment Party leader Don Polye and William Duma, the leader of the United Resources Party who were both absent from parliament.

Despite the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill having sacked Mr Polye as Treasurer and Mr Duma as Minister for Petroleum and Energy in recent months, the parties of both MPs appear to be remaining in the government ranks.

However in recent weeks, Mr Polye has been waging a war or words against Mr O'Neill's policies in the media and the Prime Minister wants the Kandep MP to sit with the opposition.

But the President of Mr Duma's party, Ken Yapane, says their leader is still in the mix with the O'Neill government.

"The PM has told him not to attend parliament because if he attends, it doesn't look good him coming and sitting in the back benches. The Prime Minister has said we'll keep it vacant for him until such time as he is invited to come back. So we as a party, we believe him and we are keeping our options open."

Ken Yapane of the United Resources Party