|Intro||Papua New Guinean politician|
Charles Abel (born 24 September 1969) is a Papua New Guinean politician. He has been a member of the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea since August 2007, representing the electorate of Alotau Open. He has been the Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea since August 2017. He was previously Minister for National Planning in the O'Neill government from 2012 to 2017.
Life and education
Abel is the grand-nephew of Sir Cecil Abel, one of the founders of the Pangu Party, and the great-grandson of missionary Reverend Charles Abel, after whom he was named. Abel completed his secondary education at Immanuel Lutheran College, Buderim in Queensland, Australia. He then completed a Bachelor of Economics at the University of Queensland in 1989. In the 1990s, he was a vocalist in a band, Wabo Knights. Abel is an accountant by profession.
Abel was elected to the National Parliament as an independent at the 2007 election, but joined the governing National Alliance Party upon his election, stating that he and other Milne Bay politicians had been "promised a better share of the cake". On 28 August 2007, he was appointed Minister for Culture and Tourism in the Somare government. His time as Minister for Culture and Tourism saw an agreement with his Chinese Chinese counterpart on Approved Destination Status for Papua New Guinea, a wide range of issues regarding the popular Kokoda Track, including preservation, nearby mining, track access, and airline connections, and seeking the return of illegally exported artefacts. During this time he also initiated a Settlement Reform Committee in Milne Bay to address the issue of squatter settlements, and while acting as Minister for Civil Aviation dealt with the response to the Airlines PNG Flight 4684 crash.
On 19 July 2010, Abel and three other ministers, Belden Namah, Puka Temu and Ano Pala, defected to the opposition and attempted a vote of no confidence in Somare, which was unsuccessful when Somare succeeded in adjourning parliament instead. Although sacked as Minister by Somare in the aftermath, when the motion again came up in November, Abel wrote a letter indicating that he wished to withdraw his support for it, and it again failed. In a June 2011 ministerial reshuffle, he was appointed Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Constitutional and Electoral Matters in a ministerial reshuffle by Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal.
On 2 August 2011, Abel supported a no-confidence motion in Acting Prime Minister Abal and voted to elect Peter O'Neill as the new Prime Minister. He stated that he had advised Abal on numerous occasions of "dissatisfactions within the government" but that Abal had been "slow in executing his powers". He was subsequently appointed Minister for Commerce, Industry and Trade in the O'Neill government. He subsequently joined O'Neill's People's National Congress party, and was later re-elected under that banner at the 2012 election. Following his re-election, he was promoted to Minister for National Planning by O'Neill in August. As Minister for National Planning, his role has included individual infrastructure projects, addressing public service corruption, a long-running project to introduce a biometric national identification card, the implementation of a sustainable development strategy, and issues with aid delivery and the Australian detention centre at Manus Island.
In August 2017, Abel was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister under Peter O'Neill following the defeat of his predecessor Leo Dion at the 2017 election.