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A Papua New GXnea

Political Chronicle


A Papua New Guinea

Political Chronicle


Clive Moore with Mary Kooyman






A CHP Production
Produced and published in Australia by
Crawford House Publishing Pty Ltd
PO Box 1484
Bathurst NSW 2795
Published in the UK by
C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd
38 King Street, Covent Garden
London WC2E 8JZ
National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry
A Papua New Guinea political chronicle.
Includes index.
ISBN 1 86333 124 7.
1. Papua New Guinea- Politics and government- To
1975. 2. Papua New Guinea- Politics and government
- 1975- . I. Moore, Clive, 1951- . II. Kooyman,
Mary, 1928- . III. Title: Australian journal of politics
and history.
C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd ISBN 1-85065-506-5
Copyright 1998 Clive Moore and Mary Kooyman and the
several authors in respect of the chapters contributed by them;
for the full list of such copyright owners, see the Table of
Contents of this volume.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying
or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.
Printed in Australia
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


Contributors and Editors





Papua and New Guinea's Political Development to 1967


January-April 1967

May-August 1967


September-December 1967


January-April 1968


May-August 1968


September-December 1968



January-April 1969


May-August 1969


September-December 1969



January-April 1970



May-August 1970



September-December 1970






May-August 1971
January-April 1972
May-August 1972
January-April 1973
May-August 1973
May-August 1974







January-June 1975
July-December 1975



January-June 1976



July-December 1976
January-June 1977
July-December 1977
January-June 1978
July-December 1978



January-December 1979



January-December 1980



January-December 1981




January-June 1982




July-December 1982
January-June 1983
July-December 1983



January-June 1984
July-December 1984
January-June 1985
July-December 1985
January-December 1986
January-December 1987
January-June 1988



July-December 1988



January-December 1989
January-December 1990
January-December 1991




Papua New Guinea Colonial Chronology


Members Elected to the House of Assembly, 1964-1997





Donald Denoon was Professor of History at the University of Papua New

Guinea when he wrote his chronicle. He arrived there in 1972 by the
scenic route from Uganda via Nigeria; but he departed more
conventionally in 1981 to Canberra. He is now Professor of Pacific
Islands History at the Australian National University. While at the
University of Papua New Guinea he edited (with Roderick Lacey) Oral
Tradition in Melanesia (1981) and (with Catherine Snowden) A History
of Agriculture in Papua New Guinea (1981). His most recent books are
Settler Capitalism (1983) and (with Kathleen Dugan and Leslie Marshall)
Public Health in Papua New Guinea (1989).
Emeritus Professor James Griffin was Senior Lecturer in History, University
of Papua New Guinea, when his chronicles were written. He was later Senior
Research Fellow in Pacific History, Australian National University;
Professor of Extension Studies (1981-84) and Professor of History (198890), University of Papua New Guinea. He has published widely on Papua
New Guinean and Australian History and politics. He has contributed
notably to the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

David Hegarty holds a BA, Dip Ed, from Melbourne University and an MA
from the University of London. He joined the University of Papua New
Guinea as a tutor in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies
in 1970. When he left in late 1982 he had been promoted to Senior Lecturer
and had served as Chairman of Department. He had previously lectured at
Monash Teachers' College in Victoria and had studied as a postgraduate
fellow at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. His major research
and teaching interests have been in the politics, development and security
of the Asia-Pacific region with a special focus on Papua New Guinea and
the South Pacific. He has edited Electoral Politics in Papua New Guinea:
studies of the 1977 National Election (1983), and authored numerous articles
and monographs on Papua New Guinea and South Pacific politics. Since
leaving Papua New Guinea he has worked in Canberra, Australia, as an
analyst in the Office of National Assessments, a Senior Research Fellow in
the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National

Contributors and Editors


University, a Senior Adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister and

Cabinet, and as an adviser to the Minister for Trade and Overseas
Development. He is currently employed in the Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade.
Peter King holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the
University of Melbourne and a PhD in international relations from the
Australian National University. Since 1966 he has lectured off and
(mostly) on in Government at the University of Sydney. During 1981-83
he was Professor of Political and Administrative Studies at the University
of Papua New Guinea, and is currently Professor of Australian Studies at
the University of Tokyo, on leave from Sydney University. In 1988 he
became Foundation President of the Centre for Peace and Conflict
Studies at the University of Sydney, and was its Director from 1990 to
1992. His publications include From Rhetoric to Reality?, papers from the
15th Waigani Seminar (edited with Wendy Lee and Vincent Warakai,
1985), and Pangu Returns to Power: the 1982 Elections in Papua New
Guinea (1987). He is a member of ex-President Jimmy Carter's
International Negotiation Network, and in recent times has lectured on
conflict resolution in Scandinavian universities and in Russia.
Mary Kooyman holds a BA from the University of Queensland where she
has worked as an editorial assistant for many years. She is co-author with
Martin Stuart-Fox of a Historical Dictionary of Laos (1991).
Clive Moore holds a BA and a PhD from James Cook University of North
Queensland, where he worked as a tutor in 1974-75. In 1981 he was
appointed to the Department of Extension Studies, University of Papua New
Guinea, as Lecturer in Social Sciences. During 1984 he was acting Director
of the Department, and from 1985 until1987 moved to the Department of
History as Senior Lecturer. In 1987 he was appointed as Lecturer in the
Department of History, University of Queensland, where he is now Senior
Lecturer. In 1979 he edited The Forgotten People and along with numerous
other works on the Queensland labour trade he is author of Kanaka: a history
of Melanesian Mackay (1985). More recently he co-edited Labour in the
South Pacific (1990) and compiled the Pacific History Journal Bibliography
( 1992). His current research interests are connected with Papua New Guinea,
the Solomon Islands and Queensland.
Michael Oliver holds a PhD from McGill University, Canada, where he
was a Professor of Political Science and Vice-Principal (Academic). He
later became President of Carleton University (Ottawa), then Director of
the International Development Office of the Association of Universities
and Colleges of Canada. He has published on the politics of pluri-cultural
states and was Director of Research for the Canadian Royal Commission
on Bilingualism and Biculturalism from 1964 to 1967. He has been a
Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (Sussex) and at

A Papua New Guinea Political Chronicle

the Research School of Pacific Studies at the Australian National

University. From 1984 to 1988, he was Professor of Political and
.Administrative Studies at the University of Papua New Guinea and edited
Eleksin: the 1987 National Election in Papua New Guinea (1989). He is
at present the National President of the United Nations Association of
Canada and Visiting Professor at Bishop's University, Quebec.

Stephen P. Pokawin is currently serving his third four year term as

Premier of Manus Province, Papua New Guinea. At the time of writing he
was Lecturer in Political and Administrative Studies with the University
of Papua New Guinea. He was seconded to the Manus Provincial
Government in 1981 to co-ordinate the establishment of Community
Governments in the Province. He contested the 1983 Provincial
Government Election and was elected as Member for Lelemasih
constituency. The Manus Provincial Government was suspended in 1984.
He was re-elected in 1985 after the lifting of the suspension and was
appointed by the Provincial Assembly as Premier of Manus. In the 1989
and 1992 Provincial Government Elections he was popularly elected as
Premier. He holds a BA (Hons) from University of Papua New Guinea
and an MA from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Yaw Saffu is Professor of Political and Administrative Studies at the
University of Papua New Guinea where he has taught since 1981. He
took a First at the University of Ghana and has a BPhil and a DPhil from
Oxford University. He taught at the University of Ghana, 1967-1980 and
at the University of Ibadan before coming to Papua New Guinea.
Born in India, Robert Waddell has worked in business in England, the
Netherlands and Indonesia. After becoming an academic he lectured in
politics in the University of Papua New Guinea from 1968 to 1974 and in
development studies at the University of New South Wales from 1974 to
1988. His doctoral thesis was on local government councils in Papua New
Guinea. He co-founded the appropriate technology organisation APACE
in 1976. Dr Waddell holds degrees and diplomas from Oxford,
Birmingham, the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) and
the University of Papua New Guinea. He is currently involved in the
fields of development education, development assistance policy and
practice, and appropriate technology. His publications include An
Introduction to Southeast Asian Politics (1972) and Replanting the
Banana Tree, a study in ecologically sustainable development (1993).

Edward P. Wolfers is Foundation Professor of Politics, University of

Wollongong. His contributions to this volume were written while he was a
Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs (New York). He has served
as consultant to the Papua New Guinea Constitutional Planning Committee,
1972-74; the Foreign Policy Review, 1979-81; the Security Review, 1991;
the United Nations Initiative on Opportunity and Participation, 1993; and

Contributors and Editors


intermittently for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as well as

the Ministry of Mining and Petroleum. Awarded a PhD by the University
of Papua New Guinea in 1976 for Race Relations and Colonial Rule in
Papua New Guinea (1975), he has published extensively on the history,
including race relations, politics and international relations of Papua New
Guinea and the wider region.


The fifty chapters in this volume are the Papua New Guinea Political
Chronicle published in the Australian Journal of Politics and History, 19671991, the flag-ship publication of the History Department ofthe University
of Queensland. Acknowledgement is due to all editors of the journal since
1967 and to its publisher Queensland University Press. Without them and
the labour of the chroniclers there would be no book.
Edward Wolfers, Robert Waddell, David Hegarty and James Griffin have
given their time to revising and re-proofreading their chapters in the
chronicle. They have also kindly agreed that all royalties from the book go
towards a fund to publish a monograph series based on postgraduate
students' theses from the History Department.
Geoffrey Bolton, now at Edith Cowan University, encouraged the project
from its inception. Eve Rannells, Law librarian at Michael Somare Library,
University of Papua New Guinea, helped provide details on politicians. Peter
Cahill and Edward Wolfers provided valuable comments on an earlier draft
of the Introduction. Thanks are due to Stewart Firth and Webb Books for
permission to use the map of colonial boundaries, and to the Geography
Department of the University of Papua New Guinea for the map of modern
Papua New Guinea.
Suzanne Lewis laboured for many months over the manuscript, and
survived a change from one word processing program to another, which
scattered parenthesis marks and introduced unknown hieroglyphics into the
text. She coped with remarkable aplomb amid the chaos and deserves great
The book also owes much to the skills of Mary Kooyman, recently retired
editorial assistant of the Australian Journal of Politics and History, who
scanned the original political chronicles onto the word processor and
undertook the first part of the editing process, as well as casting a critical
and remarkably accurate eye over the final product.
Special thanks must go to the History Department, Research School of
Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, for the financial
grant that made this publication possible.


The following abbreviations appear in the text and in the index.

ABC: Australian Broadcasting Commission/Corporation
ACTU: Australian Council of Trade Unions
AEC: Administrator's Executive Council
ALP: Australian Labor Party
Angau: Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit
ANU: Australian National University
Ass.: Assistant
Assoc.: Association
Aust.: Australia/n
BCL: Bougainville Copper Limited
BSIP: British Solomon Islands Protectorate
C'W: Commonwealth
CM: Chief Minister
Comm.: Commissioner
Comm.: Commission
CPC: Constitutional Planning Committee
CRA: Conzinc Rio Tinto (Australia) Exploration Pty Ltd
DAC: District Advisory Councils
DC: District Commissioner
DDA: Department of District Administration
Dep.: Department
DI: District Inspector
Dir.: Director
Ex. Mgr.: Executive Manager
GG: Governor-General
HA: House of Assembly
HR: House of Representatives
LGC: Local Government Council
MHA: Member, House of Assembly
MIF: Melanesian Independence Front
Min.: Minister
MLC: Member, Legislative Council


A Papua New Guinea Political Chronicle

Napro: National Progress party

NGRU: New Guinea Research Unit
NSW: New South Wales
NZ: New Zealand
OPC: Office of Programming and Coordination
OPM: Organisasi Papua Merdeka
Pangu: Papua and New Guinea Union (party)
PC: Post-Courier
PM: Prime Minister
POM: Port Moresby
PPP: Peoples Progress party
Pres.: President
PSA: Public Service Association
PSB: Public Service Board
SC: Select Committee
SCCD: Select Committee on Constitutional Development
SPF: South Pacific Forum
SRC: Students' Representative Council
T&LC: Trades and Labour Council
UN: United Nations
Under-Sec.: Under-Secretary
UNDP: United Nations Development Program
UNTC: United Nations Trusteeship Council
UOT: Papua New Guinea University of Technology
UP: United party
UPNG: University of Papua New Guinea


Clive Moore

I have come from 50,000 years ago

So they think
Others say I was born on 16th September 1975
Let my arrows fly another 50,000
Kumalau Tawali
"Niugini Panorama"
This book contains a chronicle of politics in the Australian territories of
Papua' and New Guinea2 from 1967 until 1975 when the two colonies
became the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, and on through the first
sixteen years of Papua New Guinea's political history until the end of 1991.
The process of electing leaders to a national House of Assembly began in
1964; by 1967 when the chronicle begins the first House was in mid-term.
It was a unique time in the political life of Papua New Guinea. The first
political parties were being formed, and for the first time indigenous leaders
took their place in governing Papua New Guinea, growing with the task.
Two points need making before focusing the discussion on the pre-1967
years. First, political activity is not new to New Guinea. For tens of thousands
of years debates and political lobbying have been part of village life. People
joined together in gardening, fishing and hunting; and through trading reached
out to surrounding communities, dialect and language groups. Leadership was
generally acquired rather than inherited,3 and usually leaders could not order
compliance or make decisions on behalf of their people, relying on kinship
links, generosity and expected reciprocity to persuade. Leaders polished their
oratory, holding their followers through ability, hard work and eloquence.
Leadership could also be quite authoritarian, sometimes combining the roles of
statesman, warrior and priest in one man.4 Despite the existence of extensive
coastal and inland trade routes such as the Hiri, Kula or Te, which linked
leaders in exchange relationships over long distances, in many areas language
and dialect boundaries revealed little about political boundaries. Sometimes
alliances spanned language and dialect areas but deadly enmities also occurred
between close neighbours. Local disputes were settled by discussion,
often involving compromise. Village or clan gatherings were usual events,


Clive Moore

informal, lengthy and circumlocutory, arriving at decisions by consensus

not voting. Disputes between members of different communities often led
to war. Formal leaders are usually male, although there is no doubting the
influence of women, particularly older women, in discussions and
decision making. This pattern of male dominance is very evident in the
modern political process: only eight Papua New Guinean women are
mentioned by name in the entire 1967-91 political chronicle. 5
The second point is that the modern state is an artefact of nineteenth
century colonisation by the Netherlands, Germany and Britain, and by
Australia in the twentieth century. Just as they still do today, last century
the inhabitants of New Guinea and adjacent islands spoke hundreds of
languages, and lived in thousands of small societal units, each reasonably
autonomous but linked through inter-marriage, trade and warfare with
neighbouring peoples. There were never any overarching regional
governments; only small scale political units each governing hundreds, or
at most thousands, of villagers. Language and dialect groups indicate larger
cultural and sometimes political units but not in the sense of tribal "nations".
In many areas language and culture do not coincide. This lack of unity meant
that they could never combine against colonial intrusion, the final result of
which left three artificial political territories: the Indonesian province of
Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Colonial Origins
The Maluku sultanates of Indonesia laid claim to areas of the Vogelkop
(Birdshead) Peninsula of east New Guinea over hundreds of years; Dutch
claims to the eastern half of New Guinea in 1828 were based partly on the
suzerainty of Maluku, which by then had been absorbed into their East Indies
colony. Formal Dutch annexation took place on 24 August 1828: all of
eastern New Guinea from the 14lst meridian on the south coast to the Cape
of Good Hope (Cape Yamarsba) on the north side of the Vogelkop; but still
not usurping the rights of the Sultan of Tidore to four areas of Geelvink
Bay and the Rajah Ampat Archipelago. Further expanded claims were
asserted in 1848, the claims made public in 1865 and again expanded in
1875 to the present boundary, except for a final change in 1893 when the
141st meridian border was altered to exclude land surrounded by a loop of
the Fly River which more logically belonged in British New Guinea. 6
German commercial interests in the Bismarck Archipelago were already
substantial when Germany took possession of northeast New Guinea on 3
November 1884 at Matupit Island in Simpson harbour on New Britain's
Gazelle Peninsula. The Protectorate of the New Guinea Company, with the
mainland known as Kaiserwilhelmsland, remained under company rule from
1884 until1899, when the failed enterprise was taken over by the German
state. The 1884 Protectorate did not include present-day North Solomons
province, Buka, Bougainville and the outlying Mortlock and Tasman atoll
groups. These were included as the border was expanded into the Solomon
Islands as far south as Santa Isabel Island between 1886 and 1889.





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Colonial boundaries in East New Guinea and the Solomon Islands





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Ten years later under the Anglo-German Treaty over Samoa the boundary
between the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (proclaimed in 1893) and
German New Guinea was moved north to its present position between
Bougainville and the Shortlands. At the same time most of eastern
Micronesia, the Mariana and the Caroline groups but excluding Guam, was
incorporated into German New Guinea as the "Island Territory". The
German Protectorate of the Marshall Islands, including Nauru, was added
to the German New Guinea territories in 1906.7
In September 1914 at the request of the Allies Australia and Japan
militarily occupied German New Guinea: Australia took over the "Old
Protectorate", leaving Japan controlling the "Island Territory" above the
equator. The southern section of the German colony was awarded to
Australia as a League of Nations Mandated Territory in 1921, remaining
under Australian administration until the interruption of the Pacific War,
1942-45. After the war the colony became a United Nations Trusteeship,
though governed as one unit with Papua until both became independent as
Papua New Guinea in 1975.
Papua is the twentieth century name of the British New Guinea
Protectorate, proclaimed on 6 November 1884 at Hanuabada, Port Moresby.
Australian colonists, particularly those in Queensland, were reluctant to
allow any other European power to colonise east New Guinea and expected
Britain to act on their behalf. Much of pre-Protectorate contact between
Papuans and outsiders was through the movement north of traders, labour
recruiters, missionaries, goldminers and officials from Queensland.
The chief executive of the British New Guinea Protectorate was a Special
Commissioner responsible to the Colonial Office, the title replaced by that
of Administrator in 1888 when the Protectorate became a British colony,
then altered to Lieutenant-Governor in 1895. Due to the untimely death of
the first Special Commissioner, from 1885 until1888 British New Guinea
was governed from Port Moresby and Thursday Island, Queensland's
northern-most administrative centre in Torres Strait. Even as a British colony
from 1888 New Guinea still fell primarily under the authority of Queensland.
All dispatches were liable to consideration by the Governor of Queensland,
acting on behalf of Britain and the Australian colonies which provided some
of the funds. Extraordinary matters could be referred to the Governor-inCouncil in any of the funding colonies but in reality there was little
communication or interference. British New Guinea was transferred to the
new Australian Commonwealth by Letters Patent in 1902, legislated for as
the Territory of Papua through the Papua Act 1905, and formally proclaimed
in Port Moresby on 1 September 1906. The chief executive's title was
changed from Lieutenant-Governor to Administrator after the death of the
long-serving incumbent Sir Hubert Murray in 1940. Temporary or acting
appointments, 1895-1940, were always termed Administrator.
The German chief executive of the company-colony from 1885 until 1899
was the Landeshauptmann, or Administrator. When German New Guinea
became a German colony, 1899-1914, the title changed to Governor. During
war-time Australian occupation of the colony there were Military


Clive Moore

Administrators, but on the re-introduction of civil government in 1921 the

title reverted to Administrator, until war once again disrupted government
in the Mandated Territory in 1941.
The Second World War was a cataclysmic interruption to government
and everyday life in Papua and New Guinea. The Japanese attacked in
December 1941 and quickly occupied most of coastal New Guinea and parts
of Papua, though the Highlands were left largely unscathed. What
government remained was entirely military, although much of the
administration consisted of pre-war government officials in uniform. In the
early part of the war the Japanese set up quite elaborate systems of
administration in areas like the Gazelle Peninsula in New Britain and around
the Sepik.s The Australian army set up separate administrative units for
Papua and New Guinea. On 10 April19t12 the two units were combined as
the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (Angau), with headquarters
at Port Moresby, the first time that Papua and New Guinea were
administered as a single unit. Angau covered all areas not directly involved
in the war and was extended to cover the entire Territory between 1945-46.
Australia passed the Papua-New Guinea Provisional Administration Act in
1945 to combine the two administrations but was unable to formalise this
until1949 because of the uncertain status of the League of Nations Mandated
After the war even though two Australian Territories existed they were
governed as one by an Administrator based in Port Moresby. Thus the two
Territories became the Territory of Papua-New Guinea ( 1945-49) and then
the Territory of Papua and New Guinea onwards from 1949. When civil
government was restored during 1945-46 Angau disbanded. J.K. Murray
served as Administrator, 1945-52, followed by D.M. Cleland, 1953-67, D.O.
Hay, 1967-70 and finally L.W. Johnson, 1970-73. Michael Somare, with
majority support in the House of Assembly, was electe<l as Chief Minister,
1972-75, in preparation for independence. In December 1973 the office of
Administrator was merged with that of Australian High Commissioner:
Johnson served as the first High Commissioner, succeeded by Tom Critchley
in March 1974. Somare was the first Prime Minister, with Sir John Guise
as the first Governor-General, when the bird-of-paradise flag of the
Independent State of Papua New Guinea was raised on Independence Hill
in Waigani, Port Moresby, 16 September 1975.
Electing Politicians
Electing politicians to local, provincial and national government positions
is a relatively new concept in Papua New Guinea. Colonialism reduced the
autonomy of local political and social units. The colonial officials aimed at
"pacifying" local groups (meaning making them malleable to central
authority), and harnessed mainly male labour to maritime, plantation and
mining ventures, while leaving villages as autonomous as possible and not
a financial burden on the colonial state.9 Government was by European
officers on occasional patrols, backed up by part-time local 'officials", co-



opted village leaders acting as interpreters, village headmen, medical orderlies and police. In Papua village constables were the counterparts of government headmen in New Guinea. The Germans called their indigenous officials
the luluais, headmen or local government representatives, and the tultuls
or interpreters. In some areas paramount luluais exercised authority over
lesser luluais. Australia never attempted to promulgate the position in Papua,
though there was provision made for Government Chiefs.IO
Government in Papua was initially divided into Divisions until1951, each
with its own Resident Magistrate, a pattern first laid down by Governor
William MacGregor in the late 1880s. Divisions were sub-divided into
smaller parts, under the control of Assistant Resident Magistrates, supported
by Patrol Officers. II In the New Guinea Territory the administrative units
were called Districts and the officials called District Officers, with Assistant
District Officers and Patrol Officers under them in Sub-Districts. After the
Pacific War the unified Territory was divided into eighteen administrative
Districts, each progressively subdivided into Sub-Districts (seventy-nine by
1969) as administration became more intense.
Various local church and a few informal government councils existed
before the Second World War. In New Guinea kiaps (patrol officers) sometimes called kivungs (large village meetings) to consult the people. In 1927
Motu-Koita villagers at Port Moresby elected the first local councillors, with
further elections in 1929 and 1935. These Papuan councils were remarkably successful, providing a forum for discussion of problems in these semiurban villages. Individual members acted as assessors for government courts
in matters concerning native custom and compensation, and provided a
conduit direct to Sir Hubert Murray.I2 But they lacked finances or statutory
authority until Australia's Papua and New Guinea Act 1949 and the Native
Local Government Councils Ordinance 1949-60 which passed to local government councils many of the powers held by village constables in Papua
and luluais in New Guinea. The first local councils were established on the
Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain, at Hanuabada village, Port Moresby, and
on Baluan Island, Manus District.l3 In 1954 these "village councils" officially
became "local councils"; village constables were attached to council areas,
responsible for law and order, and became known as local constables. Local
councils were responsible for collecting all direct taxes on the indigenous
people, and were able to make and administer regulations on everything from
gambling and community work to controls on weapons, disease and plant
pests. These local councils were subJect to the Department of Native Affairs'
supervisors, later called advisors. I
Concerted policy to introduce universal local government dates from the
1960s. The council system was extended from 1960, a Local Government
Ordinance was passed in 1963, operating from 1965, and a Director of
District Administration was appointed in 1967. Although varying enormously
in the number of people they covered, the size of their areas and the level
of economic development in each, by 1967 there were 139 councils covering
eighty-two per cent of the population. The 1963 Ordinance also removed the
word "native", a significant change in policy, enabling non-native residents


Clive Moore

to stand for and vote in elections. Six years later 111 of the 142 councils
were multi-racial, with growing indigenous allegations that Australian
officials and councillors were dominating the local political process through
their English language competency and other means.l5 This came to a head
on the Gazelle Peninsula with concerted and violent opposition from the
Mataungan Association.l6
In the 1960s the largest councils, first Gazelle and Wewak-But, began to
delegate responsibility to Ward Committees, a move formalised by the
House of Assembly in 1967.17 Nominated District Advisory Councils
(DACs), made up from expatriates and chaired by District Commissioners
existed from the late 1940s. The Papua and New Guinea Act contained
provisions for nominated indigenous positions on Advisory Councils for
Native Matters, but none was ever established and in 1956 indigenous
members were added to the DACs. Ten years later the majority of DAC
members was indigenous. As local councils proliferated in the early 1960s
representatives of the councils became involved in regular District, Regional
and Territory-wide conferences. A Local Government Association was
formed in 1968, with annual conferences, followed in 1971 by the Local
Government (Authorities) Act which inaugurated a second level of local
government, overarching the limited geographic areas of the councils. Area
Authorities were established, District-level bodies set up to counter growing
regional sentiment, and made up primarily of local government council
representatives. Up to one-third of their members were appointed rather than
elected. With the advent of the House of Assembly in 1964 fundamental
questions arose concerning the roles of elected members and District
Commissioners, and central and local government. The intention in the 1971
Act was for DACs to be dissolved and District Commissioners and members
of the House whose electorates coincided with the local areas to have
speaking but not voting rights in all discussions. IS
Before the war the Lieutenant-Governor in Papua and the Administrator
in New Guinea received advice from European members of small Executive
and Legislative Councils. There were no elected members. Nominated public
servants held the majority of places (eight out of thirteen in Papua 192441, and eiht out of fifteen in New Guinea 1931-41) in the Legislative
Councils.l Non-official members were appointed by the Administration,
always representing plantation, mining, commercial and mission interests.
Each Territory also had an Executive Council composed of eight official
and one non-official members, the latter elected from among equivalent
members of the Legislative Councils.20 Papua New Guineans were not
represented, although officials and mission representatives were presumed
to protect their interests.
The post-war Australia Labor government introduced a new deal for
Papua and New Guinea, the terms of which continued under the LiberalCountry party government after 1949. Australia owed the people a
considerable debt of gratitude for helping to turn the war away from
Australia, and increased funding for education, health and welfare, but was
reluctant to transfer power from Canberra to J.K. Murray's Port Moresby



administration and was still not serious about training the indigenous people
to run their own country.
Australia's relationship with Papua and New Guinea in the 1950s and
1960s needs to be viewed against policy towards indigenous Australians and
the thinking behind the "White Australia Policy". Papuans were Australian
nationals with no right of entry into Australia. There are similarities between
the administration of Papua and New Guinea and remote Aboriginal
communities, particularly in the Northern Territory.21 From 1951 the
administration of Papua and New Guinea was combined with the Northern
Territory, with Paul Hasluck as minister,22 and Northern Territory patrol
officers were trained with Papua and New Guinea officers at the Australian
School of Pacific Administration in Sydney.
Within Australia, Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (who were
Australians rather than Papuans only because of the territorial ambitions
of Queensland in the 1870s) lived in appalling conditions, deprived ofland
rights, largely confined to government reserves and missions, and controlled
by paternalistic laws. Not until a constitutional referendum in May 1967
were indigenous Australians counted in the national census and the
Commonwealth given power over the States in matters pertaining to them.
This was at a time when many Papuans and New Guineans had voted in local
council elections, and in two national elections, although the 1961 election
had been largely indirect. More than one million voters were on the electoral
roll for the 1964 elections.
The "White Australia Policy" remained current well into the 1960s,
though less firmly enunciated than in earlier decades. So at the same time
that Australia was giving way to international pressure to prepare Papua and
New Guinea for eventual independence, it was slowly changing conditions
for indigenous Australians and generally re-thinking racial attitudes. But it
would be much longer before indigenous Australians took control of their
own lives. Australian policy in Papua and New Guinea in the 1960s was well
in advance of that dealing with indigenous Australians.23
Australia established a "Staff Conference" in 1945, based in Port
Moresby, which continued until 1951. This was a committee of Heads of
departments and other co-opted officers of the government who advised the
Administrator on policy and legislation. Then in 1951 the "Staff Conference" was replaced by a re-constituted Legislative Council consisting of sixteen official and twelve non-official members, three of them elected by the
foreign population, which made laws subject to approval by the Administrator. There were three nominated positions for Papuans and New Guineans in the Legislative Council. The composition of the Council remained
stable throughout the 1950s but was amended in 1960, expanding the number
of members and allowing for more indigenous representation.
Just as the 1960s brought the beginnings of change for indigenous
Australians, the first years of the decade were crucial to shaping modern
Papua New Guinea. International changes stimulated constitutional changes
in Papua and New Guinea. The United Nations Trusteeship Council adopted
a resolution calling on Australia to set target dates for stages in political


Clive Moore

advancement. Neighbouring west New Guinea was in turmoil as Indonesia

asserted its claims. Newly independent African and Asian nations were
looking harshly at Australia and its Territory. Then at the Commonwealth
Prime Ministers' Conference of 1960, African members took a hard line with
South Africa, which was forced to leave the Commonwealth in the following
Minister for Territories Paul Hasluck returned from the conference
converted to the view that the Territory needed a more representative
constitution. Amending legislation changed the composition of the
Legislative Council in 1961, which was expanded to thirty-seven places:
the Administrator and fourteen official members, twelve elected members
and ten appointed members. Six elected and six nominated members were
to be Papuans and New Guineans.
The Administrator was requested to nominate no less than two
members to represent undeveloped areas, and encouraged to include
missionaries and indigenous public servants as members. The Territory was
divided into six constituencies, each with one European representative
directly elected by Europeans, and one indigenous representative, chosen
via an indirect system, through local government councils and "electoral
groups" where there were no councils. People voted by lining up behind
the representative they favoured to take part in a regional conference to elect
a member. The old Executive Council was replaced by an Administrator's
Executive Council which consisted of the Administrator, three official
and three non-official members, at least two of them elected, and one
indigenous. The Administrator was obliged to seek the advice of his
Executive Council, and if he rejected such advice, to make a report to the
Legislative Councii.25
Further change came faster than the Australian government anticipated.
Several European members of the Legislative Council advocated introducing
a new constitution with an elected majority; a Select Committee to consider
this was established in March 1962, chaired by John Gunther.26 Then in
April a visiting mission from the United Nations, led by Sir Hugh Foot (later
Lord Caradon), put forward what has become known as the Foot Report,
which recommended the creation of a parliament of 100 members elected
by adult suffrage on a common roll, with no more than five official members.
Foot believed that this would transform political life in the Territory.27
The Legislative Council Select Committee did not go as far as the Foot
Report: there was to be adult suffrage and a common roll; the Australian
system of preferential voting was adopted but unlike in Australia voting was
not compulsory. The House of Assembly (the new name of the legislature)
was to have ten official and fifty-four elected members, and the non-official
membership of the Administrator's Council, all drawn from the elected
members of the House, was increased from three to seven, allowing a nonofficial majority. The Administrator was to nominate up to fifteen secretaries
from among them, and ten of the fifty-four elective seats were reserved for
non-indigenous candidates (the Special electorates). All others would be
Open electorates for indigenous and non-indigenous candidates alike.28



The 1964 national election was the first large scale exercise of
democracy. In 1961 the elections operated on a nominal electoral role of
less than 500,000, which was doubled to 1,029,000 in 1964. Political
education campaigns preceded the elections with patrols reaching out
into remote villages, though as John Ryan notes many kiaps did not
bother to try to explain the intricacies of the Australian system of
preferential voting. Many voters used the "whisper" system in which
they were shown photos of candidates, whispered their choice and
watched the polling officer mark their ballot paper. Seventy-two per
cent of eligible voters actually took part. 298 hopeful candidates
contested the 1964 elections: 31 Europeans stood in the ten Special
electorates and 235 indigenous and 32 Europeans contested the forty-four
Open seats.29
Europeans won in six of the Open electorates, which the planners had
presumed would all go to indigenous candidates. The educational standards
and political abilities of the other thirty-eight members in Open electorates
varied: three (John Guise, Simogen Pita and Nicholas Brokam) had served
in the 1961 Legislative Council; nineteen had no schooling and only four
had been educated past Grade VI (all school teachers). Generally coastal
members were better educated than the Highlanders but only around half a
dozen members could hold their own in the House against Europeans, and
then only on topics of special interest. There were considerable language
difficulties in the parliament: only John Guise and Dirona Abe, both
Papuans, were fluent in English; twelve others spoke little English, and only
one Highlander spoke English; only two Papuans spoke fluent Tok Pisin.
Handabe Tiaba, member for Tari, knew only Huli, his mother tongue, and
could not communicate directly with any other member of the House. He
was provided with an interpreter between Huli and Tok Pisin.30 Debates
were in English, Tok Pisin or Hiri Motu with simultaneous translator services
provided. Five of the seven elected members appointed to the
Administrator's Council were indigenous: they and five others became
under-secretaries, understudies to the official members who were
departmental heads.
Establishing indigenous under-secretaries in a government in the
beginning stages of transition was not easy. The senior government officers
they understudied complained about their lack of training and ability, and
shared power to varying degrees. In turn the new under-secretaries felt that
they had not really been given any clear responsibilities, and that they were
not free agents, but expected to support the government. Lucy Mair quoted
one significant observation made by a journalist in relation to the 1968-72
the votes of the members from the Highlands could at any time be carried
by an explanation of the question at issue in his fluent Pidgin by the district
commissioner for Western Highlands, who was one of the official
John Guise, member for Milne Bay and under-secretary for the Department


Clive Moore

of Information, became leader of the Elected Members Group in the House,

with Matthias Toliman as his deputy and Barry Holloway and Zure
Zurecnuoc as two Whips; but there was never a unified voting bloc and the
Group dissolved in June 1966.32 It was also Guise who in 1964 called for
the setting up and became the chairman of a new Select Committee on
Constitutional Development. The 1962 Legislative Council Select
Committee had recommended the creation of the House of Assembly, but
many doubted the sincerity of the Australian government in bringing about
further constitutional change and political development. Guise's important
Select Committee, the report of which was presented to the House in June
and passed in final form in October 1967, is described in Edward P. Wolfers'
political chronicle for 1967. This report led to a major revision by Australia
of its Papua and New Guinea Act in 1968.

Political Parties
Papua New Guinea political parties fall into three categories: local branches
of extra-Territorial parties; indigenous-sponsored political parties formed
to mobilise votes in the House; and indigenous-sponsored movements and
associations aimed at mobilising electors on multiple levels. Wolfers
identifies the Kuomintang (the Chinese Nationalist party) as the first foreign
party to have a branch established in Papua New Guinea, in Rabaul in the
1920s; though this was more of a social organisation than a political party.
Next came the Australian Labor party (ALP), with branches in Wau in 1938,
Rabaul and Port Moresby in 1941. Mainly on the basis "of evidence or
accusations supplied by their political opponents" Wolfers suggests that the
Italian Fascist and German Nazi parties had devotees in New Guinea before
the war, as did the Communist party of Australia and the Australian
Democratic Labor party in the 1950s. Certainly the_ United Australia
Movement and the Australian Country party made ventures into Papua New
Guinea in the 1960s. 33
The first home-grown party was the United Progress party, established
in 1960 by three members of the outgoing Legislative Council: Donald
Barret, RE Bunting, and Pita Simogen, the indigenous nominated nonofficial member for the New Guinea mainland, 1951-1960, later member
for Wewak-Aitape in East Sepik, 1964-68_34 The party went into self-imposed
suspended animation in September 1961. It lacked cohesion and finance,
but managed to stand four indigenous and five expatriate candidates in the
1961 Legislative Council elections: four of its candidates were elected; the
one successful indigenous candidate was Vin ToBaining from New Britain.
Indigenous-sponsored parties began to be formed just before this political
chronicle begins. Papua New Guinea's longest surviving and most famous
political party is the Papua New Guinea Union (PANGU) Pati, herein called
Pangu pati, founded on 13 June 1967_35 But Pangu was not the first. Oala
Oala-Rarua formed the first truly indigenous-sponsored party, the New
Guinea United National party, in September 1965. Oala-Rarua's party
negotiated with sixteen MHAs including five Europeans, but failed to secure



any support in the House and ceased functioning when Oala-Rarua

amalgamated both members and funds into Pangu pati in 1967 (from which
he was expelled the same year).36 Another, the Christian Democratic party,
was formed in June 1966 initially under the name of the United Democratic
party, endorsed by Peter Maut, president, and Otto Kovingre, vice-president
of the Wewak-But Local Government Council, along with Pita Simogen
(MHA Wewak-Aitape).
The last category of parties is indigenous-sponsored movements and
associations aimed at mobilising electors on multiple levels, which takes
us further away from normal European political parties towards less formal
more PNG-style parties. Local political movements of various types are
indigenous to New Guinea societies: charismatic individuals or warrior
leaders who could unite large numbers of followers for short periods,
perhaps just a number of years; religious cults, whether pagan or Christian;
and in the colonial era variations which were expressed as cooperative
movements and workers' associations, or what are generally known as
"cargo cults", in reality a vast array of micro-nationalist movements with
overtones of charismatic leadership and pre-Christian cults. Some "cargo
cults" managed to .get their leaders elected to parliament and many stood
candidates in local and national elections. Paliau Mal oat of Baluan Island,
part of the Admiralty Group, developed a political and religious organisation
which took control of the whole south Manus area. He was imprisoned in
1949-50 on spurious grounds, but later became president of the Baluan Local
Government Council and a member of the House of Assembly, 1964-72.
Koriam Michael Urekit, leader of a West New Britain cult movement, was
returned as MHA for the East New Britain Open electorate, 1964-78, and
his nominee Paul Manlel as MHA in West New Britain, 1964-68.37
Other political movements include parliamentary and popular wings
in the same organisation. Papua Besena was Josephine Abaijah's (MHA
1972-82) vehicle to advance her charismatic, rather quixotic Papuan
independence movement. But it was more than just a parliament-based
political party; perhaps Papua Besena is better described as a regional ethnic
movement or a charismatic movement, although it did have a political wing,
the Papuan Democratic Union, and involved Papuan leaders beyond just
Abaijah. 38 Another regional political movement, the Mautangan Association
of New Britain, is based among the Tolai, the dominant ethnic group on the
Gazelle Peninsula. John Kaputin, member for Rabaul since 1972, has always
been their main spokesman and was instrumental in setting up the
Mautangan Association's business arm, the New Guinea Development
Corporation. 39
Our list would not be complete without Napidakoe Navitu, formed on
Bougainville in August 1969 to act as intermediary between villagers and
Conzinc Rio Tin to Australia (CRA) in negotiations over its giant Panguna
copper mine. Because of the links between Napidakoe Navitu's president
Paul Lapun and Pangu, initially there was speculation of an amalgamation
but Napidakoe Navitu developed much broader economic and social aims,
canvassing for the future independence of the North Solomons. It also


Clive Moore

supported three successful candidates in the 1972 elections.40

One limitation on the formation of political parties was the lack of a
strong trade union movement to foster worker-oriented candidates. The
situation was further retarded by the close hold ofthe Department of Labour
over workers' associations, and limits on their rights to fund political
parties.41 Left wing and labour parties were contemplated and even begun,
such as the Papua-New Guinea Workers' party in 1966 and the Social
Workers' party in 1973, but most left-leaning aspiring politicians soon joined
Pangu. However, workers' associations have been very successful vehicles
for national politicians, some of whom used them in fairly calculated ways
to further their own political ambitions.
There are several prominent examples of trade union and workers'
association leaders who became important politicians: Albert Maori
Kiki (MHA 1972-77), Gavea Rea (MHA 1972-77), Paulus Arek (MHA
1968-73) and Tony Ila (MHA 1972-92). Rise to political power through
leadership of a workers' association certainly applies to John Guise and
the Milne Bay Workers' Association. As Michael Hess says, although he
had been a waterside worker for many years on Samarai before the war,
was typical of the first generation of Papua New Guinea's political leaders,
in that he was a politician who stood outside the workforce he was attempting
to organise. 42

Revealingly, Sir John recalled to Hess that "if I didn't form a Workers'
Association ... I would have formed a political party". A consummate
politician and undoubtedly the most successful individual politician before
independence, though never party-oriented Guise's interest in trade
unionism was political rather than industriaJ.43
The 1967 and later political chronicles carry details on all political parties,
however short-lived, and the development of the long-stayers such as Pangu
and the People's Progress party.44
Early Politicians
Papua New Guinea's indigenous national political leaders honed their skills
in the 1960s and 1970s. Some of the earliest leaders served first in the
Legislative Council: Kondom Agaundo, Vin ToBaining and John Guise are
good examples of the diverse origins of these leaders during the political
Kondom, a tribal leader from Kundiawa, Chimbu (Simbu), served in the
Legislative Council, 1961-64, representing almost one million Highlanders.
Born in the late 1910s, the son of a war leader, but orphaned in early
childhood, Agaundo became one of the youngest luluais, involving his
people in coffee-growing and himself concerned in Waiye Local
Government Council, of which he became president in 1959. Agaundo had
numerous wives (estimates vary from seven to fourteen) and up to forty
natural and adopted children. Although he never learnt English and was not



fluent in Tok Pisin, he was a great Highlands orator. In the Legislative

Council he was constantly frustrated, a token Highlander, dignified and
progressive but bewildered by the foreign procedures. He expressed the
tribulations of a regional big man becoming a national political figure during
a speech in 1959:
My name is Kondom. I come from the bush. I have no English, I cannot read
or write. My tongue is thick, my head is stone. In my country I am a big man,
yet I stand before you as a child. I have been a leader with bow and arrow
and spear, but today I am a baby feeding at his mother's breast.45
Kondom lost his bid for the Chimbu Open electorate in 1964 and
tragically, was killed in a car accident in 1966.46
Vin ToBaining, born in 1915 at Latramat village on New Britain's
Gazelle Peninsula, schooled locally and trained as a pastor from
age seventeen to twenty-three, abandoned his studies and joined the staff
of the Raluana Methodist mission printery, rising to foreman. He moved to
Vunamami village in the Kokopo Sub-District and was appointed as
tultul after the war in 1946. The early establishment of local government in
the Gazelle enabled ToBaining to gain administrative and political
experience as vice-president of the new Vunamami Local Government
Council from 1951. Aged forty-six, he became a member of the Legislative
Council, 1961-64. A member of the Select Committee on Political
Development, he was also involved in negotiations with the Hahalis Welfare
Society on Bougainville in 1962 and represented the Territory at the
United Nations in 1963. After his term in the Legislative Council ToBaining
became president of the Gazelle Local Government Council. and was
involved in the land disputes and disagreements over the multiracial local
government system that led in August 1971 to the death of District
Commissioner Jack Emanuel. He was also a founding member of Pangu pati
and chairman of the Melanesian Independence Front formed in 1968.
ToBaining was forced into retirement by the emerging radical Mataungan
Association 1eaders.47
The last of our examples from the Legislative Council is the most
complex and arguably the real founder of the modern nation. John Guise
was born in Gedulalara village, near Dogura, Milne Bay District in
Papua in 1914, of mixed parentage. His grandfather, Reginald Guise, was
an adventurer who reached Papua in the early 1880s, and despite
being deported twice for unsettling the good order of the Protectorate,
returned to settle near Hula, became a trader and married locally.48 John
Guise grew up near the Anglican mission headquarters at Dogura, beginning
his four years of formal education in 1923. At fourteen Guise began work
on Samarai as a waterside worker for Burns Philp Pty Ltd and remained in
this job until war broke out, after which he served with Angau as a clerk in
Signals. In 1946 he joined the police force, rising over ten years to the rank
of sergeant-major, then spent five years in the Department of District
Services in Port Moresby, often coming into confrontation with the colonial


Clive Moore

Travel was part of the political awakening of John Guise. His first
overseas trip was to Australia in 1949, followed quickly by four trips to
Anglican Synods, and a visit to London in 1953 as part of the police
contmgent at the Coronation. Guise's first overt political activity was in the
Port Moresby Mixed Race Association, of which he became president in
1958. The association encouraged mixed-race Papuans to side with the
European elite, separating their development from other Papuans. He found
the elitism distasteful but was involved long enough to come to the attention
of the Administration which chose him to represent local opinion on the
Central District Advisory Council. They later regretted their choice because
of his opposition to all racial discrimination. Already "blooded" in politics
Guise entered the Legislative Council as member for East Papua in 1961,
becoming by far the most successful indigenous politician in terms of his
grasp of procedures and his progressive political philosophy. At this stage
Guise developed close connections with workers' organisations. Already
active in the cooperative movement he helped found the Milne Bay District
Workers Association.49
John Ryan compared Guise with other New Guinea political leaders of
the 1960s, suggesting that his only real equivalents were amongst the elite
of Netherlands New Guinea- men like Nicolaas Jouwe, Herman
Womsiwor, Johan Ariks, Eleizer Bonay, and Marcus Kaisiepo- most of
whom left before the Indonesians took over from the Dutch in 1963. The
Administration appreciated and fostered Guise's talents by sending him to
represent Papua and New Guinea at the 1962 South Pacific Commission
conference at Pago Pago, then later the same year and in 1965 sent him to
New York as special adviser to the Australian delegation at the United
Nations Trusteeship CounciJ.50
Ian Downs assessed Guise during his term in the Legislative Assembly
as "a cautious pioneer of nationalism at a time when h.e could expect less
support from his own people than from Australians".51 His statements on
the West Irian crisis and on the political future of Papua and New Guinea
were reasoned and moderate but strongly nationalist. His pre-independence
political career led him to be Chairman of the Select Committee on
Constitutional Development, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Deputy
Chief Minister, Minister for Lands and Minister for the Interior. He was the
first Papua New Guinean to be honoured with the degree of Doctor of Laws,
honoris causa, by the University of Papua and New Guinea in 1970,
followed by a knighthood in 1975 before he became Governor-General.
There is a degree of machiavellianism in the elevation of Guise out of the
political arena: he was so capable a politician that he was a threat to others
who desired the prime ministership. Yet there can be no doubt that Guise
was also the perfect choice for Governor-General: involved and dignified,
still at home with village people and equally fond of chewing buai (betel
nut). Ultimately frustrated by his vice-regal position he resigned in 1977
and returned to politics until 1982, dying in 1991. The cunning lone wolf
of politics in the 1960s and 1970s, Guise was an outstanding survivor.
Kondom, ToBaining and Guise are all politicians who date from before



the House of Assembly. Since the House first sat in 1964 Papua New
Guinea's voters have elected 440 national politicians. Only four have
become Prime Minister.

The Prime Ministers

Prime Ministers of Papua New Guinea, 1975-1997
Michael Somare*
August 1977 to March 1980
Julius Chan
Michael Somare
Paias Wingti
August 1987 to July 1988
Rabbie Namaliu
Paias Wingti
Julius Chan

September 1975 to August 1977

March 1980 to August 1982
August 1982 to November 1985
November 1985 to August 1987
July 1988 to July 1992
July 1992 to August 1994
August 1994-**

* Also Chief Mil!ister 1972-75

**Stood down March 1997

No description of Papua New Guinea would be complete without

detailing the career of the young Sepik journalist who became the most
important politician in Papua New Guinea's history, Sir Michael Thomas
Somare (MHA East Sepik). Born in 1936 in Rabaul where his father was
a sergeant of police from 1922 to 1945, Somare's home village was in the
Murik lakes district, west of the mouth of the Sepik. Educated in Wewak
and Finschhafen and a 1957 graduate of Sogeri Teachers' College,
Somare's first trip overseas was as a member of a School Teachers' group
which visited four Australian states in 1958. He visited Australia again in
1961. Somare taught in secondary schools in New Ireland, Wewak and
Madang before returning to Sogeri in 1962 to complete his Queensland
Junior certificate (grade 10). In 1964 he became an announcer on Radio
Wewak, but returned to Port Moresby the next year to attend the Administrative College to matriculate.52 Twenty-nine years old, he met a group
of students and staff through the Bully Beef Club at Administrative College. These men, and other public servants, later became important figures in national life. Albert Maori Kiki (MHA 1972-77), Niwa Ebia Olewale (MHA 1968-72), Reuben Taureka (MHA 1972-77) and Oala OalaRarua (MHA 1968-72) were all signatories to submissions to the Select
Committee on Constitutional Development and later became political
figures. Cecil Abel (MHA 1968-72) and Sinake Goava (MHA 1964-77)
joined in many of the discussions, as did Tony Voutas (MHA 1966-72),
John Guise (MHA 1964-75, 1977-82), Barry Holloway (MHA 1964-68,
1972-87), Paul Lapun (MHA 1964-77) and Pita Lus, the only member of
the present Parliament to have served continuously since 1964.
Somare was lucky to have been in Port Moresby at such a crucial time;


Clive Moore

he returned to work at Radio Wewak late in 1966, but was back in Port
Moresby in mid-1967 to help found Pangu pati.53 Under its auspices
Somare contested the East Sepik Regional electorate in 1968, which he
has held ever since. A great negotiator and survivor, Somare has served
as Chief Minister (1972-75), Prime Minister (1975-80; 1982-85), Leader
of the Opposition (1980-82), Minister for Foreign Affairs (1988-92) in the
Namaliu government, and Minister without portfolio in the Chan
government. 54
Somare straddles the pre- and post-independence political modes. The
other three Prime Ministers have all been newer-style politicians. Sir
Julius Chan, born in 1939, of Chinese and New Ireland parentage,
educated to matriculation level in Queensland, like Somare has been a
constant force in politics for twenty-five years. A second generation
businessman of considerable wealth, Chan has been in parliament since
1968. One of the nation's most accomplished politicians, and credited
with introducing stable financial strategies, he has been Prime Minister
twice (1980-82; 1994-97), four times Deputy Prime Minister (1977-78;
1985-7; 1987-88; 1992-94), three times Minister for Finance (1973-77;
1985-87; 1992-94), and also Minister for Primary Industries (1978),
Trade and Industry (1986-87) and Foreign Affairs (1994). Knighted in
1980, Sir Julius created and remains the central power in and the
financial backer of the People's Progress party.
Rabbie Namaliu was born in 1948 at Kokopo, East New Britain.
Educated at Kerevat and Sogeri high schools Namaliu graduated from the
University of Papua New Guinea with a Bachelor of Arts in history and
English. Namaliu went on to complete a Masters degree in history and
politics at University of Victoria, British Colombia in 1972, returning to
the University of Papua New Guinea in 1973 as a Lecturer in the History
Department. For the next decade until he entered parliament in 1982
Namaliu moved through a series of administrative positions: principal
private secretary to Chief Minister Somare (1974-75); District Commissioner for East New Britain (1976); Chairman of the Public Service
Commission (1977); then principal research officer for Prime Minister
Somare and Pangu pati activist to 1980; and finally executive officer to
Somare as Leader of the Opposition in 1981. Member for Kokopo in East
New Britain, his education and administrative background prepared him
for cabinet positions as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (1982-84)
and Minister for Primary Industry (1984-85), a period as Leader of the
Opposition and his final elevation to prime ministerial office, 1988-92. In
August 1994 he became Speaker of the House, and was knighted in 1996.
Paias Wingti, born in Moika, Western Highlands in 1951, was educated
at Mount Hagen community school and high school, studying economics
and political science at the University of Papua New Guinea until 1976.
Wingti never completed his degree, instead entering parliament in 1977
to represent the Western Highlands. He became Government Whip in the
same year, Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation (1979-80), Deputy
Prime Minister, (1982-85), Minister for National Planning and



Development (1984-85), briefly Leader of the Opposition, then Prime

Minister (1985-87, re-elected 1987-88). Defeated by a vote of noconfidence in 1988 Wingti remained in the opposition until re-elected
Prime Minister in 1992. During his third term as Prime Minister Wingti
centralised the political system through a series of personal appointments
to key positions. and ~rovided parliamentarians with greater direct access
to government funds. 5
What seemed a clever but immoral parliamentary coup in September
1993 finally turned against Wingti in August 1994. Re-elected to
government in July 1992 Wingti took full advantage of the Namaliu
government's 1991 extension of the grace period before a motion of noconfidence could be introduced to parliament, from six to eighteen
months. On 23 September 1993, before the eighteen months expired,
Wingti resigned from office and the next day brought on a new election
for the position of Prime Minister. The opposition was caught off guard,
and, disgusted, walked out of the House in protest. Wingti thought
himself safe for another eighteen months and probably until the next
national election, but in August 1994 the Supreme court ruled that
Wingti 's re-election was invalid and declared him to have been only a
caretaker Prime Minister since September 1993, forcing another election
of the floor of the House. Wingti's popularity plummeted because of his
parliamentary tactics and personal life. Knowing that he did not have the
numbers to win, Wingti persuaded Bill Skate, the Speaker, to resign and
contest the prime ministership. On 30 September Chan in turn
successfully nominated Namaliu as Speaker, which assured his own return
to the prime ministership later the same day.
In March 1997 a scandal surrounding Sir Julius' contract with Sandline
International to bring foreign mercenaries into the country, to quell the
long-term rebellion in Bougainville, led to military and civil unrest. The
Commander of the Defence Forces, Brigadier General Gerry Singirok,
exposed details of the contract and demanded the resignation of Prime
Minister Chan, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Haiveta and Defence
Minister Mathias Ijape. Two weeks of turmoil, the worst political
instability since Independence, led on Wednesday, 26 March, to the three
leaders agreeing to stand down while the circumstances of the contract
were investigated. John Gihenu, Member for Heganofi and an experienced
Cabinet Minister, was appointed acting Prime Minister.
Papua New Guinea goes to the polls in June 1997. Volatile but
reassuringly democratic, Papua New Guinea's parliamentary process has
continued to operate, though this time severely strained by military
rebellion just short of a coup d'etat. Let us hope that the vote of the
people at the elections marks out a clear path for the future.

The Political Chronicle

The Papua New Guinea political chronicle which follows was published
in the Australian Journal of Politics and History from 1967 until 1991. It

was then dropped from the journal as an anachronism, given that Papua
New Guinea became independent in 1975 and two other journals, Journal
of Pacific History and Contemporary Pacific carry quite satisfactory
Papua New Guinea poiitical chronicles, within a wider Pacific nation
context. The 1967-75 chroniclers were Edward Wolfers, Robert Waddell,
David Hegarty and James Griffin, followed by Donald Denoon, David
Hegarty, Peter King, Stephen Pokawin, Michael Oliver and Yaw Saffu,
The original suggestion to include a Papua New Guinea chronicle with
the Australian State chronicles in the journal carne from Edward Wolfers,
who was about to take up a resident fellowship in Papua New Guinea. He
raised the possibility with Professor R.N. Spann of the Department of
Government and Public Administration, Sydney University, who in turn
wrote to Professor Gordon Greenwood of the History Department,
University of Queensland. Greenwood's response was positive, as Wolfers
says "at a time when politics in and concerning Papua New Guinea was
not a fashionable subject of academic interest in Australia".56 Thus began
the longest-running political chronicle of events in Papua New Guinea.
Initially it was necessary to be current with the media in Australia as
well as Papua and New Guinea, together with United Nations
publications. This was achieved through financial support from the
Institute of Current World Affairs for Wolfers' subscription to a
comprehensive Australian clipping-service. The United Nations
Information Centre in Sydney supplied relevant releases and publications,
particularly those relating to the Trusteeship council. After Wolfers' years
as chronicler Professor Charles Rowley of the Department of Political and
Administrative Studies, University of Papua and New Guinea (UPNG)
helped institutionalise the chronicle at UPNG, and Colin Freeman,
librarian in charge of the New Guinea Collection in .the UPNG library
agreed to subscribe to a clipping service to make the enterprise possible.
The authors have all been experts on Papua New Guinea affairs,
observing national politics from Port Moresby.
The chronicles have been edited slightly to standardise style, but all
retain a sense of immediacy; even the tenses used often indicate that they
are reports and analysis of recent events. Only a few cosmetic alterations
have been made to the chronicle, mainly to standardise spelling of names.
The "and" between Papua and New Guinea, correct from 1949 and 1971,
has been removed, and "Niugini" has been confined to Air Niugini,
although it was used interchangeably for Papua New Guinea in some
chapters of the political chronicle. "PNG" became a common term in the
1970s and is used in the later chapters of the chronicle.
The political chronicle is the most detailed account available of
national politics in Papua New Guinea, 1967 to 1991. The text is
augmented by two appendices. The first is an historical chronology of
Papua New Guinea to 1975, and the second contains a full list of
members of the House of Assembly, 1964-97. There is also a substantial


Edward P. Wolfers

Australian policy in Papua and New Guinea since 1962 has had three
distinct, sometimes conflicting, elements. There has, firstly, been a
relentless insistence by the Minister for Territories, first Paul Hasluck, then
Charles Barnes, that "the people of the Territory have the right to choose
self-government or independence at any time". 1 Secondly, there has been
the hope that the movement towards self-determination "can proceed at a
pace [that the indigenes] ... want and in an atmosphere of calm". 2 The latter
hope has been based on the assumption that continued cooperation and real
harmony of interest between the Australian government and the territory's
leaders are not only proper, but likely. Lastly, the Australian government has
sought to establish certain minimum safeguards so that, should Australia's
hopes fail, the territory will soon be ready to follow whatever constitutional
path it chooses.
The first element has involved Australian resentment at outside criticism
of government policy for the territory, and fear that a radical elite might
attempt to force the pace, at a greater rate, and in a more independent
direction, than the indigenous majority presently desires. The second
element has led the Administration, albeit reluctantly at times, to increase
its consultation of local leaders, especially in the House of Assembly. The
increase in consultation has, however, often been granted less as part of a
consistent attempt to answer, or to foster local demands for a greater say in
Territory policy-making, than to demonstrate the Administration's faith that
"the real community of interest between the House and the Administration
can be used to the Territory's advantage". 3 Accompanying the last
assumption has been the vague hope, now increasingly acknowledged in
public, that the Territory's leaders will choose to remain closely associated
with Australia in the future, perhaps through some constitutional device
short of complete independence. The last element, based largely on fear, or
perhaps a realistic appraisal of the situation, depending upon one's
interpretation of official motives, has led to an Administration and Australian
government tendency to stress majority views in the Territory at the expense
of the views of the rapidly-growing educated elite. This stress has involved
attempts to discredit elite views as unrepresentative, and has led to quite
serious moves in the direction of preparing for the Territory's eventual

Edward P. Wolfers

independence of Australia, especially in the administrative sphere. The

resulting tension in policy between Australia's hopes and fears has tended
to breed indigenous frustrations far more likely to ensure the realisation of
the latter than of the former. Indeed, the first five months of 1967 have seen
the most vivid manifestations yet of the latent conflicts in Australian policy,
and, ironically, they have demonstrated very clearly the extent to which
administrative change is determining the rate and direction of political
change in the territory.
The New Administrator

Nineteen sixty-seven opened with the promise of a further liberalisation of

Australian policy in the territory. Just before the beginning of the new year,
the government indicated that Africans and Asians with specialised skills
would, for the first time, be allowed to work in the territory for periods of
up to two years. 4 In line with the recent relaxation of the domestic White
Australia policy which had for so long been extended to the territory's
immigration practice, the territory would be able to capitalise upon
experience from other underdeveloped countries, and especially from Japan.
On 8 January, Sir Donald Cleland retired after fourteen years as
Administrator of the territory. At his final press conference, therefore, he
spoke at length of his experience in, and hopes for, Papua and New Guinea.
The territory, Sir Donald felt, had now passed through the most critical
period of its development, and, although full self-government was still a
long way off, there should be no real worries on the road to nationhood.
His views depended for their validity, he pointed out, upon a strong
measure of control and wise policies on the part of the Australian
government. 5 He regretted only that the arbitration case over indigenous
public service salaries had not yet been settled, 6 and c.ast a glance at the
nature of constitutional change in the territory. His advocacy of a standing
committee of constitutional lawyers and independent members to replace
what he termed the present "voluntary committee" may even have indicated
a hankering after change, as his previous regret may have revealed a fear
for the future, that his strong denial of a recent deterioration in race
relations scarcely concealed. 7 Strong Australian control, the stress on the
long distance still remaining before self-determination, the assumption that
inter-racial cooperation was still a viable proposition, were the principal
points of Cleland's speech, as they had been the hallmarks of Hasluck's
career and policy.
There had been much speculation throughout 1966 as to Cleland's
successor. Mention had been made in the press of Messrs Falkinder and
Overall, respectively a former liberal backbencher from Tasmania, and
present chairman of the Australian National Capital Development
Commission, and of Sir John Crawford of the Australian National
University, especially once it had become clear that Dr J.T. Gunther,
formerly the Assistant Administrator (Services), now Vice-Chancellor of the
new University of Papua and New Guinea, was out of the running. The


character, and comparative surprise of the appointment, of D.O. Hay, CBE,

DSO, a former Australian High Commissioner in Canada and representative
at the United Nations, gave rise to even more press speculation, when the
Minister for Territories, the Honourable C.E. Barnes, was dropped from
cabinet in late 1966. There was doubt whether this combination of events
strengthened the Department of External Affairs' influence over territory
policy-making in cabinet, or whether Barnes' new position isolated his
department even more than usual from cabinet interest. The long-term effect
of Hay's appointment, then, seemed crucial to most observers, if somewhat
difficult to predict.
The Sydney Morning Herald was not alone in greeting Hay as possibly
the territory's last Administrator. 8 This view was strengthened by the new
Administrator's UN experience, and the loss of a territories department
voice in federal cabinet, and its absence from the helm in Port Moresby.
The South Pacific Post looked to him as a man to "set a firm and precise
lead and avoid any unnecessary delays". 9 Only the Age dissented from the
common view, and feared that the appointment of a career public servant
could well strengthen Canberra's hand in Port Moresby, and even lead to a
complete takeover. 10 The fear of Canberra control, however, probably
reflects local territory fears rather than an awareness, observed in other
mainland papers, of the likely and existing irter-departmental tensions over
Australia's territorial policies.
Hay's first speech, on 9 January, immediately after his arrival in the
territory, set the tone at least for his first few weeks. He indicated a real
eagerness to get down to work and a personal desire for real involvement in
local policy-making. He promised increased consultation with the House of
Assembly and forecast much greater expenditure by Australia on the
territory's development in the next few years. His stress that he desired to
reduce the territory's dependence on outside economic and administrative
assistance hinted at a speeding-up of the territory's preparation which was
reinforced by the mild sense of urgency he imparted to an old article of
Australian faith in promising that Australia "will not be slow to make
constitutional changes if you, the people of the territory, want them". He
promised also to consider transitional steps towards a form of ministerial
government, and to increase local financial control to match the territory's
increasing contribution to the annual budget. 11
The promise of ministerial government was delivered anyway in the final
report of the House of Assembly's Select Committee on Constitutional
Development. Local budgetary control was later extended within the
framework of existing legislation, which allowed the six under-secretaries
not already members to be present at meetings of the Administrator's
Council, which he promised to consult rather more than in the past when
framing the 1967-8 budget.
Local participation was further supplemented later on with the
appointment of a second Highlander, Tei Abal (MHA Wabag) as
Under-Secretary for Labour. It is doubtful whether even this move
represented a recognition of conscientious labour or a further recognition of

Edward P. Wolfers

conservative leadership in the house.

Three Little Words
Expectations of an early definite shift in policy under Hay, and hopes for a
change in the minister's attitude towards the territory's political future did
not last long. The heated exchanges and mutual recriminations that occurred
in early March between the Australian press and Barnes ensured that.
The Australian of 4 March headlined a story that purported to be a report
of Barnes' speech to a small gathering at a public exhibition in
Melbourne. 12 Barnes claimed later that he had made his speech "off the
cuff', and had no record of it. His subsequent experience, however,
convinced him that the furore over his speech should "be taken as a
warning to any minister in future to have a written statement so that he has
some evidence of what he said" Y
The Australian reported Barnes as saying, "Independence for Papua-New
Guinea will not be achieved for very many years, if at all". 14 In substance
the statement probably did not represent any new departure in Australian
policy. It had long been said, and often reiterated, that it was up to the
people of the territory and the Australian government of the day to
negotiate over the future constitutional status of the territory after selfdetermination. The minister's unfortunate wording of the proposition,
however, led to a series of attacks on him, not the least of which implied
that he hoped for a direct constitutional link between the Commonwealth
and the territory on the lines of that governing New Zealand's relations with
the Cook Islands, or that between Puerto Rico and the United States.
The Speaker of the House of Assembly, H.L.R. Niall, flatly denied what
Barnes had said: "We will have independence much sooner than the
minister thinks and it will work." "It is not the first time_ that he has voiced
sentiments like this", wrote Peter Hastings, "although he has never before
been so frankly, brutally paternalistic"Y The reply to both charges was
swift. Both Barnes and the Prime Minister, Harold Holt, denied that the "if
at all" statement represented any change in policy, 16 and a cable was sent
from Canberra to Port Moresby to ensure the "correct" reporting and
explanation of the minister's remarks there.
Barnes, and Frank C. Henderson, 17 the most senior of the official
members of the House of Assembly, described the Australian's report as a
"distortion" of the truth, and suggested that the Age's rendition of the story
was the accurate one. Even the Age however, had quoted Barnes to have
"doubted whether Papua and New Guinea would ever be completely
independent of Australia" . 18 Barnes went one step further then, and
explained, "I said that the Territory's ties with Australia would continue
because it was isolated with us in the Pacific". 19 On economic and defence
grounds, the two countries' links would always be close.
Barnes' cable to the territory Administration was described by the
Australian as "a virtual direction to ventilate publicly throughout the
Territory the minister's spleen". 20 The Canberra Times described Barnes'

January-April 1967

statement as embarrassing, and the Age criticised him for it too. 21 The
Australian still continued unrepentant, and felt that "the words 'if at all' are
unwarrantably self-satisfied", 22 and there, but for some questions in the
House of Representatives,2 3 the matter rested - the real words used never
fully produced or denied, and their correct interpretation still in
considerable doubt.
The House of Assembly's Twelfth Meeting
The February-March meeting of the House of Assembly saw few matters
raised that had not been brought up before, but the proximity of the 1968
elections lent to their deliberation an urgency, and an explicitness about the
nature of some problems, that were both quite new to the House.
The first motion before the House began as "a discussion of a matter of
definite public importance, and rapidly developed, on both occasions as a
result of moves initiated by John Guise (MHA Milne Bay), into a debate on
the motion that "a Statutory Land Development Authority [on lines similar
to those of its Malaysian and Kenyan predecessors, be set up] to handle ...
every aspect of Land Resettlement ... with the object of centralizing and
coordinating all ... matters of Land Resettlement in the control of one
authority"Y The official members, with reservations as to the relevance of
overseas experience in this field, were soon forced to accept the elected
majority's support for the proposal. It seems likely, then, that one body may
soon replace the five departments, plus the relevant labours of the
Development Bank, the two Assistant Administrators and the Department of
Territories, Canberra, in this field. Guise's motion, in fact, represents the
second recent attempt by the House to alter present administrative
arrangements in the territory, though his motion was more definitely worded
than its predecessor, which only requested the Administrator last year to
consider the establishment of a Department of Local Government.
The continuing land and mining problem on Bougainville was again
raised during this meeting of the House, only to result in the usual confusion
and differences of opinion when debated. In November 1966, the House of
Assembly had finally supported Paul Lapun's (MHA Bougainville) attempt,
over the official members' opposition, to work a compromise between the
Administration and Conzinc Rio Tinto (Australia) Exploration Pty Ltd
(CRA) on the one hand, and the Panguna people of Bougainville on the
other. Lapun had sought to reconcile the Panguna people's opposition to
CRA's copper explorations through offering them five per cent of the
Administration's mining royalties from the project. Unfortunately the
Panguna people had again opposed the CRA application in February to
continue its activities, and the compromise appeared to have failed.
Don S. Grove, Director of Lands, Surveys and Mines, then made a
statement to the House to inform it of the current situation at Panguna.
Grove's statement indicated the nature of CRA's difficulties in Bougainville,
and showed the attempts CRA was making, through provision of high school
scholarships, etc., to win the local people's cooperation. The ensuing debate,

Edward P. Wolfers

however, developed into a series of attacks on the Panguna people for

retarding the territory's development, and for not being satisfied with the five
per cent of royalties offered them. 25 Even Paul Lapun, who had fought so hard
for the five per cent compromise, was attacked by some members, though it
seems clear that he had not foreseen in November that the Panguna people
were not amenable to any compromise at all and simply wanted to retain
complete control of their land. The debate swung around completely towards
the end, however, and the attack on Lapun and the Pangunas initiated by
Graham Gilmore (MHA South Markham) was answered by an impassioned
defence of Lapun by Pita Lus (MHA Dreikikir), and of the Panguna people,
at least against the sorts of attack made in the House, by Barry Holloway
(MHA Kainantu).
The Appropriation Bill (No 2) 1966-67, the end of the year adjustment to
the main annual budget, produced a minor surprise in the ease with which
the House approved of the restoration of the $50,000 it had cut from the
original budgetary allocation for overseas recruitment, and, indeed,
supplemented it by a further $10,000. The original $50,000 had been struck
from the budget as a gesture intended to show that the "House generally
viewed the continued recruitment of persons from Australia and elsewhere
as something to be avoided whenever possible",26 and in order to emphasise
the House's demand for greater participation by its members in the budgetmaking process. The restoration of the original $50,000, however,
represented a reluctant realisation of necessity by the House rather than an
Administration victory. It was still emphasised by many elected members
that the training and recruitment of local officers needed to be increased. In
addition, the justice of the members' second demand received a measure of
official recognition.
Between the Treasurer's (A.P.J. Newman) second reading speech on the
budget and its debate by the House, L.W. Johnson (Assistant Administrator
(Services)) made a statement to the House in which he expressed the
Administration's desire "to increase the degree of consultation in framing
the budget for the next financial year"Y In part, his statement was merely
the follow-up to Hay's remarks in his first speech in January, and in part,
the Administration's attempt to compromise with the House's demands
during the original budget debate. If anything, the Administration's
proposals simply robbed the final report of the Select Committee on
Constitutional Development of some of its thunder, while, in fact, intending
nothing not already provided for in existing legislation.
Johnson's statement promised increased consultation with all members
when preparing the budget, and with the Administrator's Council in
particular. The six under-secretaries not already in the council would be
consulted by it in relation to their departments' estimates. In all, the
promised changes were slight, and conceived within the framework of
current legislation. Their meaningfulness would depend as much on the
Administration's goodwill as upon the House's effectiveness in pressing its
John Guise and Lepani Watson (MHA Esa' ala Losuia) seemed to


emphasise the futility of those who hope for seventh statehood when,
separately, they pressed for Papuans and New Guineans to be trained
respectively as information officers and diplomats and posted overseas. The
Public Officers (Employment Security) Bill 1967, which gave legislative
form to the White Paper on the future security of permanent overseas
officers of the public service, only reinforced the apparent decolonising
tendency of Australian administrative policy in the territory.
The Public Officers Bill "gives machinery to give an assurance of job
security to permanent overseas officers of the public service by providing
for a compensation scheme for them in the event of the premature
termination of their services because of the requirements of localisation of
the public service or of political or constitutional change in the Territory". 28
Clearly, the Administration fears that, far from actually promoting stability
within the public service through providing security for its members, the
bill may actually foster fears and insecurity among those of the House's
members, probably still the majority, who fear desertion at, and even the
term, independence, though not a steady progression towards the same
result. In order to avoid too confused and disturbing a debate, therefore, and
possibly to forestall the criticism of members such as Ian Downs (MHA
Highlands) who felt that a contract service promotes insecurity and who,
therefore, desired the return of the old-style permanent service, 29 and of
those members possibly unsympathetic to any compensation for Europeans
who wanted, or needed, to leave as local participation in government
increased, W.W. Watkins (Secretary for Law) requested members to ask
their questions then for recording in Hansard, or to submit them to him
"before the bill is again debated, as the Government is anxious that the
scheme be fully explained and understood throughout the Territory". 30
Many members seemed to view the state of race relations in the territory
rather differently from Sir Donald Cleland. Indeed, one of the principal
preoccupations of the House seemed to be with the general theme of interracial and inter-regional relations, and there was widespread support for a
proposal to set up a three-member committee to recommend amendments to
the Discriminatory Practices Ordinance 1963. 3'
The many separate speeches as well as the general debate on the subject
of law and order in the territory seemed to focus very much on inter-racial
and inter-tribal relations too. The need for greater concentration on primarylevel education was repeatedly stressed, though its emphasis varied from
many indigenous members' purely parochial demands for more schools in
their own electorates, to the rather mild echo of the Highlands Farmers and
Settlers Bulletin 's 32 attack on the new university which appeared even in
O.I. Ashton's (MHA New Britain) attack on the "Hilton-like" facilities at
Vudal Agricultural College and Keravat High School, and on "the June
Valley dragon just about to devour its eight [sic] or ninth professor"Y
It was during the debate on the Native Employment (Amendment) Bill
(No. 2) 1966 that one of the more revealing exchanges took place, and one
with some relevance for the political groupings that were to emerge after the
thirteenth meeting of the House. The bill under debate proposed, against the

Edward P. Wolfers

wishes, but not against the vote, of Ian Downs, to provide rural workers
with one week's annual leave. John Stuntz (MHA East Papua) was able,
however, to amend the bill to allow casual workers and their employers to
terrninate their employment "at any time by eiiher pany wiihout notice", 34
and only six members were prepared to vote against him. John Guise's
amendment to increase the leave provision for plantation workers from six
to twelve days fared little better than Stuntz's opponents had done, and was
lost by fourteen votes to thirty-eight. Finally Stuntz was able to have the
leave due to agreement workers deferred until the end of their two years'
contract. The debate on Stuntz's initial amendment, however, provided the
occasion for an exchange between Downs and A.(Tony) C. Voutas (MHA
Kaindi) which highlighted the growing tensions between those who identify
themselves with the indigenous cause in a radical sense, and those with a
real economic stake in the country who assume (perhaps need to assume)
that race relations are good.
Downs had written a series of articles for the South Pacific Post, 35 and
spoken in the House, on the need to restrict the over-production of coffee.
Indigenous planting should be restricted, he felt, and the cash-cropping of
sweet potato and other locally-grown staples encouraged. Downs felt "unable
to weep with" the indigenous members over coffee prices, for they were
now even endangering European holdings. The Highlanders were beginning
to "substitute [coffee] for food in the cyclic food planting programme", and
even to buy food instead of planting coffee simply "as an extra agricultural
effort". 36 Downs seemed to feel then that Voutas' consistent support of the
losing side in the Native Employment Bill debate represented an attempt on
Voutas' part to gain the "reputation of being the only man who looks after
the people of Papua and New Guinea in this House ...". "Mr Voutas", he
said, "likes to call himself a brother of the people", but his irresponsible
attitudes were more likely to foment than to prevent inter_-racial troubleY
The Emergence of Parties
In the long-term, probably the most significant events of the first half of
1967 will prove to be the emergence of the territory's first two political
parties able to command support within the House of Assembly and outside.
The facade of unity which the caucus of all of the elected members of the
House of Assembly had provided had never commanded the ideological
unity or the organisational means for the emergence of a party, and even the
facade had crumbled by the middle of 1966. On paper, the territory had
only one political party.
The New Guinea United National party was formed in September 1965.
It gained the allegiance of no members of the House of Assembly, and its
total membership was never publicly revealed to consist of anyone apart
from its president, Oala Oala-Rarua. Once its formation was announced, it
had rapidly collapsed under pressure of the attack by certain MHAs,
especially Frank Martin (MHA Madang-Sepik), who disapproved of its
mildly socialistic platform, and the too-ready embrace of a few European


radicals who sympathised with its platform rather than understood its
organisational problems. Party membership had offered no real advantage to
the present members of the House of Assembly, and the possible
disadvantage of association with a party whose aims were vague,
organisation nebulous, and leadership uncertain. An overly eager press corps
in search of significance where it hoped for it rather than found it, and the
failure of the party's appeal for non-European support, had ensured its
effective demise.
For at least eighteen months before its final formation, there had been
rumours of a potential political party in the Sepik district. There had been
signs in the press and elsewhere of a possible connection between the future
party and the leadership courses sponsored by the local Roman Catholic
mission both within the territory and in Melbourne, while its likely seventh
state bias was only too readily apparent. In March, however, the South Pacific
Post reported that the present United Christian Democratic party had been
formed already in June 1966, under the name of the United Democratic party, 38
although the party's first formal meeting was only held in May 1967.
The Christian Democratic party began with a circular from Otto
Kovingre, vice-president of the Wewak-But Local Government Council,
endorsed by Peter Maut, the council's president, and Pita Simogen (MHA
Wewak-Aitape). The party's original aims were: "(1) To unite the nation of
Papua-New Guinea as one country; (2) To unite all people of all
denominations; (3) To get people to follow the law of the Government
provided the law agreed with the law of God; (4) To unite all people of all
races in the country; and (5) To make people stop stealing, fighting and
murdering and to bring all together as brothers and sisters of one big family
within the party". 39 The explicit formulation of these aims seemed vague
when it was reported that the party opposed the early granting of selfgovernment, but that it would approach Oala Oala-Rarua's party to suggest
their amalgamation. The latter party had, of course, advocated the early
granting of self-government, originally by 1968, and Simogen's comment
that the two would never unite seemed rather more realistic than other
In May, the Christian Democrats finally announced a programme quite
at odds with that of Oala-Rarua's party, while its leaders seemed to be a
much less sophisticated group of European-guided pidgin-speakers. The
party's principal aims were: seventh statehood for the territory within the
Australian federation, and, simultaneously, to have pidgin as the territory's
national language; to endorse candidates in the House of Assembly and Local
Government elections, and to encourage primary education. 40 The party's
leaders later denied any association with the Roman Catholic church, 41
though its first meeting opened and closed with the Lord's Prayer and Ave
Maria, and its leadership included a mission catechist and two mission school
teachers. The two European members were a Roman Catholic priest and
Graham Gilmore, MHA. One of the party's leaders, Peter Maut, has already
been endorsed as the successor to its only other member in the present
House of Assembly, Pita Simogen. 42 At first centred exclusively in the


Edward P. Wolfers

Wewak area, the party soon claimed adherents at Madang, Kavieng and
Rabaul, and was recruiting in Lae, Port Moresby and Maprik to boost its
membership from the total of 3,000 at the end of MayY
Outside \Vewak, however, there was much discussion during the year as to
whether the territory was ready yet to have political parties, and, if so, how
many and of what type they should be. 44 Much of the debate centred around
the territory-wide hearings of the House of Assembly's Select Committee on
Constitutional Development. Various suggestions were made. One prominent
leader from the Finschhafen area suggested that two political parties be set
up, and even stated his preference as to what they both should seek to
represent. Tony Voutas, MHA, on the other hand, toured the New Guinea
district and regional local government conferences, and sent a letter to all
council presidents, suggesting that a local government party be formed. 45 The
Voutas proposal was potentially illegal in that it might involve direct council
donations for political purposes, and dangerous in that it could lead the
party's opponents to oppose local government as an institution. James
Meanggarum (MHA Ramu) wrote to the councillors and other people in his
area stating that "The time for 'yes sir, yes sir' is now finished, and I think it
is now time for 'no sir'. Things are not as they ought to be, because we have
not got a party, and we are in the habit of speaking one at a time and alone [in
the House of Assembly] about your conditions and the conditions of the
people of this country, "Meanggarum asked the councillors and people to
start a party, and not to heed" the cajoling of administration officers". The
platform should concern the necessity of roads and bridges for economic
development, improved wages for workers and mission teachers, and better
prices for producer cooperatives.~6 In short, there were some demands that
political parties be set up, but no attempt, outside the Wewak area, perhaps
because there was not the necessary knowledge, to start them.
The point at which many political demands received ~xplicit formulation,
and about which many organisational demands crystallised, occurred when
a group of thirteen Papuans and New Guineans presented their much
publicised demands for self-government to the Select Committee on
Constitutional Development in mid-March. The submission was actually the
third of a series which were presented in April 1966, by a group of ten
Papuans and New Guineans which included six of the final thirteen names
from January 1967, over the signatures of Cecil Abel and Albert Maori
Kiki, and then in March 1967. The final thirteen signatories were Dr
Reuben Taureka, the most senior indigenous public servant, Dr Ilimo
Batton, Albert Maori Kiki, Joseph Kaal Nombri, Gerai Asiba, Ebia Olewale,
Elliott Elijah, Cecil Abel, Sinaka Goava, Kamona Walo, Penuelli Anakapu,
Oala Oala-Rarua and Michael Somare. Cecil Abel was the only European
and Joseph Nombri the only Highlander among them, while only three were
from New Guinea. Three were government trainees, three patrol officers,
three concerned with education, two were doctors, plus a broadcaster and a
workers' association leader. All of them had acquired some prominence
outside their home areas, in the urban environment. 47
The demands of the thirteen were of a markedly different kind from

January-April 1967


those of most of the witnesses who had appeared before the Select
Committee, though no more radical, if nonetheless different in form, than
the suggestions circulated shortly thereafter by two MHAs, Messrs Voutas
and Holloway. 48 The thirteen claimed there was a "widespread feeling
amongst our thinking people that Federal Government [sic] is temporising
and foot-dragging". They pressed "for constitutional changes involving the
setting up of an Executive and the granting of nothing less than limited selfgovernment in 1968".'9 They wanted the under-secretary system to be
replaced by full ministerial government with at least eight ministers
including a chief minister, and the Administrator to be replaced by a high
commissioner with a Papuan or New Guinean deputy. They sought control
of the ministries of Home Affairs, to replace the present Department of
District Administration, Local Government, Lands, Surveys and Mines,
Labour, Information and Culture; with local Finance and Education to be in
local hands, their previous directors to become permanent secretaries of
their departments. They wanted the localisation of the public service to
proceed at a greater rate, under the guidance of a new Public Service Board
(PSB), to replace the present Commissioner. The "new framework after
1968 must be a 'caretaker administration'", or transition commission,50 they
felt, and their reasons for confidence in the success of the handover they
proposed were based on their conviction that there must be "a complete
face-about ... in policy and outlook on indigenous rule", their faith that "a
new type of politician will emerge in 1968 - younger, better educated and
with greater understanding of politics", and that the public service already
contained men quite capable of holding down its top positions. 51 The
group's combination of youth, education and organisational achievement
was impressive, and even the South Pacific Post welcomed the group's
submission with but few reservations, mainly concerning its fear that
overseas investors might be disturbed by such demands. 52
The response of Watkins, Secretary for Land, and Deputy Chairman of
the Select Committee, was as predictable as the reply to him was sharp.
Watkins felt that "all of these people could not possibly go along with some
of the statements here, which I think are impertinent, and also show an
absolute disregard for what has been done for the Territory ... and exhibits a
situation which shows no thanks for what has been done" .53 Other
correspondence in the press conveyed a similar charge of ingratitude on the
part of the "12 apostles", 54 but Watkins' remarks were quickly countered
with the charge that they almost bordered on contempt of the House of
Assembly. 55
It was, then, scarcely surprising when the "thirteen angry men" and nine
members of the House of Assembly announced on 13 June that they had
formed the PANGU Pati (the Papua New Guinea Union). The party
included Paul Lapun, Pita Lus, Barry Holloway, Nicholas Brokam, James
Meanggarum, Tony Voutas, Paliau Maloat, Wegra Kenu and Siwi Kurondo,
MHAs, all from the New Guinea side, and only the last-named from the
Highlands, and, later, John Guise and Eriko Rarupu, both Papuans. The
interim central executive of J.K. Nombri (Highlands), Oala Oala-Rarua


Edward P. Wolfers

(Papua), Michael Somare (New Guinea Mainland) and Vin ToBaining (New
Guinea Islands) represented all of the territory's major regions. It was also
announced by Oala-Rarua that the New Guinea United National party had
now ceased to exist.
The party desired home-rule, leading to ultimate independence, the
territory's unification, increased localisation of the public service, improved
educational and communication facilities, and increased economic
development through stepped-up overseas investment. Again pidgin was
advanced as the territory's nationallanguage. 56 As yet, however, the party's
final platform and constitution are not public. Recent allegations, both in
the press and on the radio, that at least two prominent MHAs openly
advocate the cause of the rebel Rhodesian government may provide the
party with some interesting opponents.
Local Public Servants' Pay

The decision of the public service arbitrator on salary rates for local officers
in the territory public service, L.G. Matthews, was finally handed down on
11 May. In sum, he awarded a $40 per annum rise to all officers in the
lowest adult male range of $440-560, and a $600 increase to those in the
top present salary levels, i.e. above $4,875. At the intermediate levels, he
simply set two benchmarks from which the complete structure could be
evolved. The present $950 paid to first class artisans, patrol officers, grade 1
education officers and grade 2 clerks was raised to $1,070, and the $1,700
paid to professional graduates, class 1, rose to $1,950. All pay-rises were to
apply only from the first pay period in July. 57
Local feeling over the small rises, granted after a hearing which began in
October 1965, ran high. Local Public Service Association (PSA) branches
expressed their dismay at the decision, a petition was circulated requesting
the Governor-General to disallow the decision, and Matthews' dismissal
was sought by the association. Despite Barnes' attempts to discredit the
protesters as an unrepresentative minority of dissidents, and his opinion that
"The umpire's decision is final and must be obeyed", 58 the decision was
followed, on 2 June, by probably the largest demonstration ever seen in Port
Moresby, when 1,500 people, not all of them public servants, marched
through the town to present a list of demands to the Administrator, David
Hay. 59 The PSA has now filed a memorandum with the Australian Prime
Minister requesting a review of the decision by the president of the
Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and two of his
nominees. 60 The decision has not been disallowed, and will, therefore, be
enforced, but the memorandum is as yet unanswered. One form of
preparation for self-determination at least, the lowering of indigenous public
servants' pay-scales in accord with the territory's "capacity to pay", seems
to be exercising a very great influence on the form of the indigenes'
ultimate decision.
The scandals revealed by the House of Assembly's Public Accounts
Committee in regard to local public service housing, while nonetheless

January-April 1967


dismaying, can only have reinforced the feelings of disaffection aroused by

the pay decision. 61 Surprisingly, however, Barnes admitted the accuracy of
the committee's claims.62
The Final Report of the Select Committee on Constitutional Development

The Select Committee's report was presented to the House of Assembly in

June, but as Hansard was not available at the time of writing, this report of
its contents and reception by the House are all that can be retailed of the
thirteenth meeting.
The report was unanimously adopted by the House, qualified only by the
comment by the Assistant Administrator (Economic Affairs), F.C.
Henderson, that he felt the use of the word "minister" to be misleading.
Two other members at least were reported to have been surprised when the
report was debated, and had left the chamber for their notes when the
debate lapsed for want of further speakers. One member of the committee,
Tei Abal, claimed that he could not understand the report he had helped
make because it was not available in pidgin.6 '
Although "The Committee does not see its recommendations as committing
the country, or attempting to commit the country to any particular course"64
of constitutional development in regard to legislative-executive relations, its
report represented a cautious advance towards the territory's selfgovernment. The report recommended that the Administrator's Council be
replaced by an Administrator's Executive Council consisting of the
Administrator, three official members of the House of Assembly, seven
ministers and one additional MHA appointed at the Administrator's
discretion, all of whom, bar the Administrator, should be appointed by the
Minister for Territories on the Administrator's nomination. Subject to the
Administrator's responsibility to administer the territory on the Australian
government's behalf, the Council "should be the principal instrument of
policy of the Executive Government of the Territory, and should have the
final responsibility within the Territory for advising the Administrator on
budget policy and planning". 65 As "the members of the Council would not
publicly oppose the advice of the Council and the policies laid down by
it" ,66 it is, however, theoretically possible that the three official members
could be bound to support the Council's majority, or at least not to oppose
it, when the Council's advice is rejected by the Administrator- an
interesting source of potential embarrassment for the Administration, which
could, therefore, lose three votes in the House of Assembly, though these
three are probably more likely to abstain, than to vote against the
Administration policy in the House. The Administrator must report his
reasons for rejecting the Council's advice to the House as soon as possible.
The seven ministers, selected without racial qualification, will "share
responsibility with [their] Departmental Head[s]"Y The minister will
represent his department in the House, and, in cases of dispute between the
minister and the departmental head the Administrator will decide the issue.
It is suggested that the powers and duties of ministers should be reviewed


Edward P. Wolfers

by the House after a minimum of two years, as the "capability of a Minister

could develop to the extent that he is able to assume sole ministerial
responsibility for the department", or "the needs of, or situation within a
department could warrant an increase in the Minister's authority" .68
In departments without a minister, assistant ministers will be appointed
with powers spelt out, but not markedly different from those of the present
under-secretaries. Thus, all sixteen Administration departments will have a
measure of elected representation in the House, but the extension of the
obligation not to oppose the Council's decisions to the assistant ministers
probably only serves to add sixteen votes to the ten official votes in a
House of ninety-four when the two groups agree, and makes very little
difference when the elected members of the Council are in a majority and
opposed to the Administration. A great deal therefore depends on the calibre
of the Administration's nomillt:t:~ fur t:xecutive positions, especially as the
defeat of a minister's proposal in the House does not require his resignation
- shades perhaps of a future separation of powers?
The Council, though finally responsible for the annual budget, will be
assisted by a five-member, non-ministerial budget standing committee of the
House, to act as an additional link "between the house and the government
[sic] in budgetary matters". 69 The standing committee will lack executive
authority, "but could, in appropriate circumstances" 70 make
recommendations to the Executive Council, or to particular ministers and
assistant ministers.
The report finally recommends that a further committee be appointed by
the next House of Assembly to continue the previous select committee's
work, and to consider, among other matters, the desirability of drafting a
constitutional bill of rights, as well as to study more conventional
constitutional matters. In all, a modest advance, the success or failure of
which depends on the extent to which the next House of Assembly is
prepared to cooperate with the present Administration, or can be used by it.


Edward P. Wolfers

The Thirteenth Meeting of the House of Assembly 1

The thirteenth meeting of the House of Assembly (5-9 June) was one of the
shortest and least exciting to date. The debate on the report of the Select
Committee on Constitutional Development was, largely by accident, no
more than "a damp squib" .2 Where conflict was expected, the Administration
either conceded victory beforehand, as was the case with the Public
Accounts Committee's report on public service housing, or remained quiet
in the assurance that conflict was unnecessary in those cases in which the
Administrator had the power simply to reject the House's advice. Many of
the more controversial measures were simply held over for the longer budget
In many ways, the economic bias of most of the debates reflected the
extent to which this meeting was no more than a legislative interlude before
the final preparation of the budget. The most exciting political developments
were now taking place outside the House.
The Public Accounts Committee's report on the Department of Health
was primarily concerned with internal administrative arrangements. It did,
however, reinforce the increasing tendency of Administration departments
to move away from the "give away" nature of many social services, and
towards charging the indigenous population for their use. While the
Education Department now levies a fee- against the committee's advicethe Public Health Department was urged to consider the introduction of
hospital fees too. It seems likely that the distinction between paying and
non-paying patients will disappear as soon as investigations into the
possibility of a medical benefits scheme suitable for territory conditions are
completed. 3
The debate on the committee's eighth report, on the housing division of
Treasury, was robbed of its expected excitement when the Minister for
Territories, Charles Barnes, simply admitted the accuracy of most of its
criticisms. 4 What could the Treasurer do, then, but acquiesce in the
committee's accusations as to the shortage and inadequate standards oflocal
officer accommodation? Thus, the report was accepted without demur,
despite the inclusion of such criticisms as that of the acting District Medical
Officer at Vanimo, who felt that "the indigenous married quarters in


Edward P. Wolfers

particular ... are under-sized, under-ventilated and underlit and there is no

provision for toilets ... I would say that if we wanted to design a house in
which we could cultivate the spread of tuberculosis we could probably come
up with something similar to this style of house". 5
On the more strictly economic side, Ian Downs moved that the House
request "the Government to introduce either legislation or the appropriate
administrative procedures for the establishment of a national development
planning authority or commission". 6 Such a body should coordinate planning
at the national level, advise the government and report to the House on all
aspects of economic planning and development. Finally, the motion required
an answer from the Administration by the August meeting of the House,
and implementation of the decision before the end of the year. A number of
European members for special electorates warmly supported the motion,
which was passed without any demur from the official members. There was
no need to fight the issue in the House, for at the August meeting, the
Administrator informed the House that, in his view, "the creation of a further
planning body of the type proposed by the resolution would, at this stage,
tend to complicate the process of reorganisation being undertaken within
the Administration and would also tend to duplicate activity". He requested
the House, therefore, "not to take the matter further at this stage". 7
The lengthy and long-awaited report on the territory's economic
development since the World Bank report was tabled on 9 June. 8
Unfortunately, it was "a statement on work in progress- on the forward
plan- rather than a settled programme ready for implementation". 9 Despite
the provision of a pidgin summary, and the recommendation of a number
of changes from the World Bank's programme, the report was not debated
at all, either inside or outside the House.
That "the Papuan's attitude to his pig has much of the emotional and
mystical quality of the Australian's attitude to his beer" 10 was surely
demonstrated by the debate on the Animal Disease and Control Billl967.
The bill simply provided stock inspectors with the power to impound
straying animals. The debate, however, developed into an impassioned, if
inconclusive, discussion of the rights of pigs. Only the debate on the Child
Welfare Bill1967, which sought to raise the age at which adolescents could
be committed to an institution rather than prison from sixteen to eighteen,
and to provide for multiple maintenance payments where a woman is
uncertain of her child's paternity, provided the same amount of
entertainment for all members. The bill was nonetheless defeated. The Local
Government Bill, to prevent non-taxpayers seeking election to foreign local
government councils while they were absent from home on labour-contracts,
and paying their tax at home, also aroused as much confusion as thought
before it was passed.
The report of the Select Committee on the conduct of the Administration
towards Andree Margaret Bellaard was as vigorously opposed by the
Administration as the committee's very constitution had been opposed in
February and March. The committee recommended that the Administration
pay compensation of $10,624 for the disruption of her restaurant business

May-August 1967


consequent upon the inequity and mutually contradictory nature of various

departments' rulings on her business. 11 The Select Committee's
recommendations were later rejected by the Administration, as it had been
expected they would be. It was, perhaps, this particular affair, then, that led
to the moving of the Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry Bill 1967, and
of Percy Chatterton's motion, in August, that the House set up a commission
of inquiry to investigate the possibility of appointing an Ombudsman or
parliamentary commissioner in the territory. 12
The Parliamentary Commissions oflnquiry Bill, which attempted to give
the House power to set up its own commissions of inquiry without first
requesting the Administrator so to do, was adjourned on the ground that "the
contents of the bill are very difficult for the indigenous members to
understand so ... that time is needed for members to consider it". 13 Despite
the Administration's prolonged attack on the bill on the grounds "that it does
in effect offend against the principles of the separation of powers, that it
results in an unnecessary duplication of existing machinery, that it is
ineffective, and that if effect were given to it, such legislation as would be
required may well be unconstitutional ..." the bill was finally passed at the
August meeting. 14 Despite the threatened consequences, the House, pending
the Administrator's approval and the Governor-General's assent, may well
be able to set up such commissions itself, and may appoint a three-member
standing committee of parliamentary commissions of inquiry to select their
The Administration further asserted itself when the Administrator
informed the House that he did not favour the establishment of a separate
department of local government, as the House had earlier sought. The
Administration believes that, as the territory develops and direct
administration decreases, so the Department of District Administration will
gradually evolve into the sort of department the House had requested. The
early establishment of the new department would, therefore, only result in
"a less economic use of manpower" .15
The resumed debate on the Public Officers (Employment Security) Bill
1967 was again hurriedly adjourned when an unexpected line of attack was
brought forward by John Guise. While he supported the bill's general
principle of a compensation scheme for expatriate public servants who are
replaced by Papuans and New Guineans, or who must leave the territory in
the event of civil unrest at independence, Guise certainly did not favour
clause 40 of the bill. Clause 40 provides that all such compensation
payments should come from the territory's revenue, while, in Guise's view,
it is the Australian government that should set up such a scheme. Far from
the conservative members opposing the bill through fear of its implications
for the future, it seemed that the more radical members might oppose it for
the potential drain it represents on the territory's income.
The by-election for the Henganofi seat in the Eastern Highlands,
caused by the death of U gi Biritu, was held on 15 July, and was the
territory's first one-day poll. This time, the five Lufa candidates' preferences
did not go much beyond number three (it is optional how many preferences


Edward P. Wolfers

one indicates in Territory elections), so that Bono Azanifa from the

Henganofi sub-district was assured of the victory denied him in 1964 by
the tight exchange of preferences among the then four Lufa candidates. The
by-election had no legislative implications at aii.

The Minister and Political Parties

The formation of the Pangu pati immediately after the June meeting of the
House gained a favourable press. Such a favourable press, in fact, that the
Minister for Territories, Barnes, was moved to comment that "the amount
of publicity being given it is out of all proportion to how it is regarded by
the people of New Guinea. This is because the aims of the party fit in with
the ideas of many people outside the country". 16 In his view, the people of
the teHituiy did want self-government, but certainly not independence. The
Pangu pati was getting all the publicity, he felt, while the United Christian
Democratic party was being left out. The Australian, for one, agreed with
Barnes as to the undue publicity accorded Pangu, but warned that, when
talking of the party's support, the minister needed "to define in this context
just who the people of New Guinea are", the urban, educated elite or the
rural massesY
A few days later, while visiting Lae, the minister went one step further.
On this occasion, he "demolished the main plank of the conservative United
Christian Democratic Party, admitted to considerable ignorance ofthe Pangu
Pati ... and for good measure said that the Territory would be better off at
this stage without political parties" .18 Perhaps the first two points derived
directly from the last.
Certainly, the minister felt that "the Territory would be better off
without political parties. "Parties", he said, "should form naturally. They
should not be force-fed. However, it is a free country , ..".19 Then, as if to
deny his own dictum on force-feeding political development, Barnes
undermined the main plank of the United Christian Democratic party's
"I believe", he said, "a seventh State would not be contemplated by the
present Government ...". This policy had been decided upon by federal
cabinet, and he believed that "this will be the continuing policy of the present
Government". He cited legal difficulties, the possibility of a brain-drain from
the territory to Australia, and the cost of social services as reasons for the
policy, but denied that current Australian immigration policy was a factor
in the government's decision. He refused to commit himself, however, as
to what might be possible in fifty to one hundred years. 20
While the Australian criticised the minister for leaving any hopes about
a future form of close association between the territory and Australia, 21 the
Canberra Times simply denounced his reasons as "fatuous", his statement
as "unfortunate and ill-timed". 22
After some initial resistance, the Christian Democrats accepted the fait
accompli. Their platform now proposes "[T]he peaceful movement towards
Independence". The party therefore calls on the administration for

May-August 1967


"immediately increased efforts to educate the people in the meaning of

Independence and its responsibilities". 23 For the Christian Democrats the
hope of negotiating statehood after independence may still remain, but, at
least outwardly, the minister's announcement seems to have been accepted
with equanimity.
It is unclear, however, to what extent Barnes' later denial that seventh
statehood had been ruled out may still affect events, for his denial was still
qualified by his belief that it is "not ... a practical possibility for the time
being that the Territory should be absorbed into the Commonwealth as a
new State on the same terms as existing States". 24
Pangu, however, took umbrage at the minister's general attitude towards
political parties, especially as he admitted that he had not read the party's
platform. The party, therefore, accused the minister of being out of touch
with political realities in the territory, and of having a low opinion of the
intellectual and political understanding of many Papuans and New
Guineans. 25 Its earlier call for the territory to be placed under the care of
the Department of External Affairs, took on a more personal note, as Barnes
was warned not to go back on Hasluck's policy, and the government was
asked to put Papua and New Guinea under Hasluck again. 26
Pangu, however, had problems of its own to contend with.
One ofPangu's most difficult problems, from the start, has been to explain
how its policy of home rule by 1968 differs from a demand for selfgovernment or independence. Very early, it therefore issued a statement
defining home rule as "one of the first steps towards full self-government.
The Home Rule we are asking for is only partial or limited self-government.
But it is NOT [sic] independence which most people think is still a long
way off." 27
Speaking in Sydney on 18 July, one ofPangu'sjoint chairmen, Oala OalaRarua, appeared to go one step beyond this policy, when he predicted that
independence could come by 1970. The prediction was made in part of a
speech, in which he also suggested that the developing Westminster system
of responsible government might be inappropriate for territory conditions. 28
Reaction in the territory to Oala-Rarua's widely publicised statement was
swift. Karo Ahi, president of the Huon local government council,
immediately qualified his support for Pangu pending clarification of the
implications of Oala-Rarua's statemenU9 In the Highlands, and at the first
meeting of the All Peoples' party, Pangu was accused of wanting (rather
than Oala-Rarua predicting), independence by 1970. Thus, in late August
Oala-Rarua was expelled from Pangu for making statements contrary to
party policy, failing to correct these statements, and failing to attend
executive meetings following his statement.
Oala-Rarua replied that the meeting which had expelled him was not
properly convened, that the executive had failed to convene to discuss the
matter with him when he returned from Sydney, and that he had already

Edward P. Wolfers


resigned from the party anyway. His final charge was that Pangu was
effectively controlled by the three European members of its executive,
Messrs Voutas, Holloway and Abel, a charge that the Pangu executive
denied. 30
Despite press fears that Oala-Rarua's expulsion represented a serious split
in Pangu, and would weaken the party, the party seemed only to gain from
its new, rather more conservative, image. Four additional members were
added to the parliamentary wing: Edric Eupu (MHA Popondetta, and UnderSecretary for Lands, Surveys and Mines), Stoi Umut (MHA Rai Coast),
Tambu Melo (MHA Kutubu), and Singin Pasom (MHA Lae). Several other
MHAs have made no secret of their sympathy for the party. To date, the
party has branches in Port Moresby, Lae, Rabaul, Kavieng and at several
places in the Morobe District. Albert Maori Kiki has been appointed the
party's full-time secretary, while the parliamentary wing now has an
established leadership of Paul Lapun and Edric Eupu, its leader and deputy
leader respectively, and Pita Lus, the parliamentary whip.
More Parties
Reactions to the emergence of political parties have varied from regret
that they have appeared at all on the part of some European settlers in the
Highlands, 31 to accusations that Pangu is predominantly a Papuan party, 12
to fears at the radicalism of Pangu, and even of the Christian Democrats.
The All Peoples' party, which was formed at Angoram on 2 July, falls
into this last category. Founded by a group of European Sepik and Ramu
river area traders, the All Peoples' party, which as yet lacks any real formal
organisation, has now endorsed at least nine candidates in the East Sepik,
Madang and Eastern Highlands districts. Clearly, as the invective heaped
upon Pangu at the party's first meeting showed, its founder, Jim McKinnon,
is motivated by the fear of rapid political change rather than by the desire
for political organisation.
The All Peoples' party stresses the importance of economic development,
the need to criticise the Administration only in a "constructive way", and
emphasises the territory's reliance upon Australian help and guidance. Most
importantly, it opposes self-government at this stage, but suggests that "a
target date should be set whereby everyone can work towards bringing the
economic, social and political development to a level where self government
would be a simple, painless, natural step", such a date being set by the
electors. 33 The party is also concerned with the protection of European
economic investments in the territory. It may be significant that one of the
party's two current members in the House of Assembly, Frank Martin (the
other is Suguman Matibri, (MHA Madang)) is an outspoken advocate of a
"Recognise Rhodesia" policy for Australia. 34
A proposal that the All Peoples' party and the United Christian
Democratic party should merge led to two attempts at initiating talks. 35 The
proposal was aborted partly because of personality clashes, and perhaps
because the Christian Democrats have now been obliged to alter their policy

May-August 1967


to accept the possibility of independence.

The territory's fourth party, the Agricultural Reform party, was founded
in Rabaul in mid-August, with a prominent Tolai leader, Nason Tokiala, as
its first president. 36 As yet, the party has made no public announcement as
to its policies, but it seems to stress the need to develop the territory
economically before independence, especially so that the islands will not
be forced to carry the mainland economically.
The Country party was formed in Madang on 3 September. It too lacks
legislative support. Its founder is J.D. McCarthy, a Madang-basedjournalist.
The Country party's policy rests principally upon the belief that "selfgovernment must come but the party insists that it must be established on a
firm economic foundation and preferably, by easy stages which can be
adapted to the existing economic and social conditions". Its policy-bias is
rural, but includes support for a public service with one set of pay rates and
one standard of conditions, according to ability. Its most novel policy is for
a representative committee of territory and Australian delegates, to advise
on, and protect, the territory's interests, to be set up within the Australian
Parliament. 37
The Country party's executive consists of Alphonse Kotas from
Kerowagi, a vice-chairman and treasurer from Manus, and its secretary,
The United Nations Trusteeship Council38
The Trusteeship Council's debate on New Guinea for the year 1965-6
conformed very much to the usual pattern. The Soviet Union complained
of discriminatory electoral qualifications for the new regional electorates
(the candidates for which must have the territory intermediate certificate,
or its equivalent), and of discrimination in the economic, social, health and
educational fields. It also urged Australia to grant early independence to
the territory, and to refrain from using the area for military activities
incompatible with the UN charter. The Soviet representative also criticised
the administration's current practice in the alienation of land for mining,
and the activities of the police special branch.
The Liberian delegate, Nathaniel Eastman, also laid some stress on the
discriminatory nature of the qualifications required of candidates for the
regional electorates, and, despite its defence of the new electorates, the
Australian delegation was unable to estimate the number of indigenes who
might be eligible to stand for them. Eastman also criticised wage
discrimination in the territory, and educational discrimination in the form
of Primary A and inferior Primary T schools. He felt that the dual system
was difficult to justify in that children did not find it hard to learn English
quickly, as he knew from experience. He was also critical of the fact that
Papuan and New Guinean ex-servicemen received smaller loans to establish
their businesses than did their European counterparts, and commented
adversely on the smaller land-blocks granted to indigenous farmers.
The Liberian representative dwelt at some length on the problems and


Edward P. Wolfers

sufferings of the people of New Hanover, and asked who had introduced
the income tax bill into the House of Assembly. When told it was the
Treasurer, he expressed his disapproval of "a new tax being imposed on an
already helpless people". His disapprovai of the under-secretary system was
quite evident when he concluded that Zure Zurecnuoc's (Under-Secretary
for the Treasury) work was of an advisory nature only: "He picks up a little
information from the population and passes it along to the Treasurer".
Zurecnuoc therefore attempted, in answer, to stress his powers of decision
too. Eastman was also far from happy with labour conditions on plantations,
and cited examples in support of his case.
It was perhaps inevitable that with a female president and vice-president
Australia should have been asked to add a female adviser to next year's
delegation. The drafting committee which prepared the Council's report on
New Guinea was predictably mild in its strictures. Its members were the
New Zealand and Chinese representatives on the Council. The Soviet Union
voted against the final report, and proposed an alternative one of its own.
The first report was, however, adopted by five votes to one (the USSR), with
one abstention (Australia). Liberia raised many objections to the report, and
asked that a minority report be prepared. In consequence of the failure to
prepare such a report, Liberia refused even to be present in the chamber when
the report was finally adopted.
The Council concluded that the present political situation in the territory
is "unexceptionable in principal", but considered that experience suggested
that at these crucial stages before independence "there is a need for
stimulating more rapid advance in the political field", particularly by
increasing the financial powers of the House of Assembly and by
accelerating the indigenisation of policy-making posts and bodies. It
endorsed the report of the Select Committee on Constitutional Development,
but urged that the regional electorates and the retention of the official
members in the House of Assembly be regarded "as a transitional phase
only". It also urged the progressive reduction of the number of fields in
which official power to disallow legislation might be exercised.
Curiously perhaps, in view of the minister's statement as to the
impossibility of seventh statehood, the Council insisted "that all options for
the future of the people of Papua and New Guinea continue to be kept open".
A number of critics of recent Australian policy in the territory had urged
that seventh statehood be ruled out in view of its inherent unacceptability
in the eyes of the United Nations. It is difficult to tell whether the report,
therefore, conveyed an element of criticism of Barnes' early statement and
was responsible for its later qualification, or whether the drafting committee
was pro-Australian, as one newspaper alleged, and was simply "caught on
the hop" by Barnes' unexpected pronouncement. 39


Edward P. Wolfers

The Fourteenth Meeting of the House of Assembly

The annual budget debates in the House of Assembly have so far provided
some of the few occasions, apart from the daily adjournment debates, when
the indigenous members can participate fully in the House's discussions.
In addition, they have, under the leadership of Ian Downs, tended to form a
series of increasingly dramatic confrontations between the elected members
and the Administration. In 1964, the official members were subjected to a
quite surprising volume and intensity of criticism from the fledgling
legislature; in 1965, they were forced to revise some of the Administration's
revenue-raising proposals under pressure from the elected members; and
in 1966, the elected members cut $50,000 from the proposed allocation for
overseas recruitment expenses, with the warning "that no future
Appropriation Bill should be introduced without adequate control by elected
members ... ". 1 In the light of history, then, the debate on the Appropriation
Bill 1967-68 seemed "distinctly anti-climactic". 2 Thirty of the House's
thirty-eight indigenous members spoke, and thirteen of the sixteen European
elected members. Six of the under-secretaries gained further experience by
delivering at least short summaries of their department's activities, though
in just what, overall, they were receiving experience seems doubtful in the
light of one under-secretary's promise, when unable to answer a question
himself, to "refer the question to my superior officers for a satisfactory
answer". 3 The budget debate itself was less exciting than its predecessors,
probably for two principal reasons: this time the budget itself did "not reflect
only the views of the Administration. In many important respects it has been
modified by (indeed some elements have risen from suggestions made in
the course of) widespread consultations about the economy of this country
and the best means of developing it ... ",4 especially with members of the
Administrator's Council, and with the under-secretaries; in any case, the
"secret thoughts of members" seemed often to have wandered from the
business at hand in the House, and were "probably one way and another
fastened on next year's imponderables, the enlarged House, the elections,
Ministerial Government and the new political parties". 5
The budget's overriding purpose, according to the Treasurer (A.P.J.
Newman) was "to intensify the impetus of economic development, with

Edward P. Wolfers


particular emphasis on the expansion of exports . . . on the basis of the

greatest possible participation by Papuans and New Guineans at every level,
including the level of entrepreneur and owner of productive resources". 6
These priorities accounted for the increased amounts, and proportions of
the total budget, allocated for economic infrastructure, extension staff for
"production departments", and for secondary and tertiary level educational
and training institutions. Total budgetary expenditure for 1967-8 is expected
to be $140.6 million, of which $77.6 million is covered by the Australian
grant (which has risen by almost eleven per cent over that for 1966-7). Other
Commonwealth departments are expected to spend a further $44 million
on defence, civil aviation and other activities during the year. The principal
functional allocations in the 1967-8 budget are (the 1966-7 figures are
included for comparison):

Commodity producing
Economic overheads
Social services'"
General administration,
law and order"

per cent
of total

per cent
of total









Among the more important increases in individual allocations were a rise

of almost 13.5 per cent for the Department of Education; an additional $2.5
million for the Development Bank (to bring its total capi~al to $3.5 million);
a rise of $740,000 to $1.1 million in the provision for the Institute of Higher
Technical Education; and a 63 per cent increase to $2.9 million in the
university's allocation. Rather ominously, in retrospect, the university was
later warned 12 that it was not necessarily going to get the amount of money
it forecast it would need over the next triennium.
In order to meet the $20.4 million (or 17 per cent) rise in expenditure
for 1967-8, the territory's loan target for the year was raised by $1 million
to $8 million, and new measures were proposed which were estimated to
return a further $1.17 million in revenue. Sewerage (already in July),
sanitation and water charges were raised, while the Public Hospitals
(Charges) Bill was introduced in order to levy charges on patients (largely
indigenous) who attended the formerly non-paying sections of the base
hospitals in Lae, Port Moresby and Rabaul. Only children under fourteen
were, by amendment, exempted from paying these new charges. Stamp duty
on cheques was raised from 3 to 5 cents, while import duty on spirits rose
by $1 per gallon, and the excise on locally manufactured beer by ten cents
per gallon. An additional $500,000 was expected from an amendment to the
income tax ordinance designed "to eliminate the present differential as

September-December 1967


between private and public companies and to introduce one common

increased rate of tax of 22.5 per cent ... ". 13 The budget was attacked by
Downs as a "compromise, and a very bad compromise because the views
which have been put to the Administration have been largely discarded" .14
Most of his criticism, however, and that of Don Barrett and Barry Holloway,
was directed at the territory's administrative structure. The costs of the
administration were, in Down's view, "beyond the resources of our relatively
small population". Clearly, the Treasurer's promise of "a comprehensive
overall review of the organization of the Administration" 15 was not enough,
and this criticism of the Administration was given further edge by the critical
ninth report of the Public Accounts Committee on the stores and supply
branch, Department of the Treasury, and the Supply and Tenders Board.
Most of the indigenous members' budget speeches were essentially
parochial, though the frustration of many at the failure to do more for their
areas was readily apparent: "If I do not come back the person who takes
my place will say the things that I have always been mentioning in the
House" (Suguman Matibri). 16 There seemed to be some resentment too at
the members' political dependence upon a budgetary process over which
they have little individual control. As Wegra Kenu put it: "Nothing is being
done at present in my area and the people will not listen to what I say ... ". 17
The Income Tax and Income Tax (Rates) Bills 1967 interested most of
the European elected members rather more than the budget. Apart from
abolishing the differential tax rates for public and private companies, and
raising the tax to a flat rate of 22.5 per cent, the bill also abolished the special
concession to private companies that allowed them to pay only 12.5 per cent
on the first $10,000 earned, and 17.5 per cent thereafter. The new tax rate
was criticised by Downs on the ground that it would have a sectional impact
only, for, he felt, it "will not affect Papuans and New Guineans very much" .18
He was all for doubling the excise on beer instead, for although he had been
a member of the Administrator's Council when the increased tax was
discussed, he was opposed to the measure as signalling "the beginning of
the funeral march out of private investment in this country" .19 An amendment
to reduce the income tax on private companies to 17.5 per cent was, however,
defeated by 33 votes to 14, in which only 2 of the 3 were European elected
members (Voutas and Holloway), and only 3 of the 14 were Papuans and
New Guineans.
The most important "political" debate of the meeting was on Graham
Gilmore's resolution that "before there is further development towards
self-government or independence for the Territory of Papua a referendum
should be held in the Territory of Papua on the question of whether that
Territory wishes to form a full and permanent constitutional union with the
Trust Territory of New Guinea, its people accepting the ultimate citizenship
of that Territory, or retain its Australian identity and the people their
Australian citizenship". Gilmore had proposed a similar resolution late in
1965, which had resulted in a very confused and emotional debate on the
part of many indigenous members, and there had also been protracted
correspondence on a similar issue in the South Pacific Post earlier in the


Edward P. Wolfers

year. Liberty and light were certainly on Gilmore's side when he asked,
"Why should we stop these people from making their own decisions? It is
something for them to decide ... ", if the country is to be built on a firm
foundation of national unity. Clearly, however, many indigenous members
were simply frightened of the whole issue, and preferred to leave it to the
Australian government to handle: "We do not want to hear talk that may
divide the country and the people into two. Now we are one country and
one people. I do not want bad thoughts brought here" (Edric Eupu). 20
The Administration was opposed to the motion on the (for it) quite
traditional lines that "it would be most inadvisable at this stage if acts of
emotion were to precipitate any forms of cleavage or endeavour to affect
status before all peoples of the Territory have been given the opportunity
of examining the various futures available to them ... ". 21 Despite taunts that
they were denying the people their democratic right to be consulted on such
a major issue, and an amendment deferring the referendum until "any
irrevocable act towards the constitutional union of Papua and New Guinea
takes place", and extending the referendum's scope to New Guinea as well, 22
the official members and the Pangu pati remained resolutely opposed to the
motion. Indeed, John Pasquarelli's taunts at those "white men, who
seemingly all their time have tried to ingratiate themselves with the native
people by trying to not act as white men", 23 stirred up no hostility at all
towards Holloway and Voutas, but led Nicholas Brokam to point out that
the whole referendum issue had not been raised by Papuans and New
Guineans at all: "This does not come from the people of Papua and New
Guinea at all- from the black men -but I say this comes from the Europeans.
Some white men in this country want to divide us." 24 Clearly, very few
members were prepared to face the issue at this stage or in the proposed
form, and so the motion failed by thirty votes to nineteen. The only other
issue to raise a great deal of heat was the question of conditions at the Laloki
mental hospital near Port Moresby. Shocked by conditions there when they
paid a private visit, a group of members requested an organised tour of the
hospital. With the local press in support of their claims, Gilmore, Pasquarelli,
Chatterton, Stuntz, Martin and Downs made the Administration to agree that
conditions there were lamentable, though Gilmore was forced to withdraw
his charge that the patients had been drugged for the MHAs' visit. In
consequence of the unfavourable publicity, plans were later announced for
a special allocation to improve conditions at the hospital immediately,25 with
proposals for major extensions and improvements at a later date. 26
Some long-pending debates were also laid to rest, when the Mining
(Bougainville Copper Agreement) Bill 1967, was passed giving legislative
endorsement to the Administration's promises to Conzinc Rio Tinto in regard
to special taxation, and mining concessions for its activities at Panguna;
Gilmore's motion to allow the direct leasing of land from its indigenous
owners was lost. The latter motion was, however, implemented in effect,
and without demur, at the next meeting of the House with the passing of
the Land (Tenure Conversion) Bill 1967. This bill preserves the existing
restrictions on land dealings between natives and non-natives, although it

September-December 1967


authorises the Administrator-in-Council to remove the restriction in all

dealings short of transfer of title in which he considers that "the dealing
would not adversely affect the interests of the owner" 27 or the local people.
The Public Officers (Employment Security) Bill 1967 was also finally
passed, though only after it had been amended in the light of Guise's earlier
criticism so that the "golden handshake" for displaced public servants no
longer simply constitutes a straightforward drain on the territory budget, and
does not, in fact, even come into force until such time as the Commonwealth
government has enacted a guarantee for the whole scheme. Guise was also
the mover of an amendment to the Native Employment Ordinance which
for the first time grants to indigenous non-agreement workers the right to
receive a week's notice before dismissal after a minimum of six months'
employment. Other important motions that were put and passed included a
resolution that the House should evolve machinery of its own to select or
assist in selecting the territory's delegates to the United Nations Trusteeship
Council, and another requesting the Administration to encourage smallholder rice-growing more actively than in the past. In addition, statutory
recognition was finally given to the widespread use of ward committees as
a liaison between local government councillors and the people outside their
own village whom they represent. The new electoral boundaries for the 1968
elections were also approved, although many members clearly felt that they
or their areas had been inequitably treated. Some of them indeed were
prepared to leave the territory without a legislature for from three to six
months in order to obtain a redistribution. It had been the fault of the Select
Committee on Constitutional Development that the Electoral Distribution
Committee had been allowed no flexibility, and had been tied to delineate
a firm sixty-nine open electorates. For some members, the concern for
electoral justice clearly took precedence over their evaluation of the need
for a legislature to be in existence at all times, although, in the end, the new
electoral boundaries were accepted without a division being called.

The Political Parties

Early in November, the territory's sixth political party, the National Progress
party (Napro) was formed in Port Moresby. Its leader is Bill Dihm, an
unsuccessful mixed-race candidate at the 1964 elections, and its membership
seems to be predominantly Papuan. The party's motto is "Toil to Reap", and
its policies are a curious meld of conservative dependence upon Australian
initiatives, satisfaction with the political status quo, and of proposals for
agricultural and economic development. The party claims to have the secret
support of four members of the first House of Assembly, and has sponsored
a number of candidates for Papuan seats in the general election. Both its
impact as a party, and its formal organisation, seem minimal.
Despite the disparaging comments of many members of the House of
Assembly, Pangu continued to grow, and branches were set up in Kavieng,
Wewak and Port Moresby. Lapun's deniaJ2 8 that the party was
Papuan-dominated was, therefore, largely superfluous. By the end of the


Edward P. Wolfers

year, the Territory Country party and the Agricultural Reform party seemed
to be moribund, and the various attempts at talks between the All Peoples'
party and the United Christian Democratic party, with a merger in view, had
failed. 29 The All Peoples' party also gained the adherence of an additional
MHA, Keith Tetley (MHA Gulf Open). 30

Extra-Parliamentary Politics
Outside the House of Assembly, most of the territory's politicians were too
preoccupied with purely local political problems, specifically those
connected with their desire for (re-)election, for there to be much activity
of national significance. Pressure continued from the Returned Servicemen's
League (RSL) and the New Guinea Graziers' Association for the government
to guarantee Australian investments in the territory, but to no availY The
annual federal subsidy to Burns Philp for the territory-Australia run will
be phased out between April and December 1968, and so the MV Bulolo
has already been withdrawnY There was some public discussion about the
role of the army in the territory's future, and the RSL lamented the heavily
stressed warnings in an Administration pamphlet against the perils of a
military takeover after independence. The Administrator, however, refused
to withdraw the booklet. 33 The Administration was also bitterly criticised
by many ex-servicemen for its failure to give financial support to a proposed
war museum. 34 Despite favourable press and much pressure, however, the
Public Service Association's demands for an increase in the pay-scales for
indigenous public servants finally failed, when the public service arbitrator,
L.G. Matthews, refused permission for an appeal against his earlier decision
to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. 35 In what
was the first public opinion poll ever held on the subject, Australians were
asked what they wanted the territory to be. The result was: under Australian
control, thirty-one per cent; a state of Australia, thirty per cent; independent,
twenty-seven per cent; undecided, twelve per cent. When analysed by party
affiliation and age group, the poll produced no significant differences from
the norm, except that the vote for independence was highest, at thirty per
cent, among the 21-29 age group.l6
The Fifteenth Meeting of the House of Assembly
The final meeting of the first House of Assembly was in many ways no more
than a postscript to the previous four years. Some unfinished business was
finally disposed of, while almost every debate was in some sense dominated
by the members' awareness of the imminence of the elections.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts presented six reports, of
which one, the fourteenth, had later to be withdrawn because of the
unavailability of copies for all members of the House. The tenth report
concerned recruitment and training in the administration, and recommended
principally that use be made of outside consultants and organisation and
methods teams, and that a central authority be established to oversee and

September-December 1967


direct localisation within the public service. In accordance with these

recommendations, therefore, the Administrator had already announced that
the comprehensive review of the organisation of the Administration that had
been forecast in the budget would be carried out by two committees: an
internal committee consisting of the two Assistant Administrators and the
Public Service Commissioner, followed by a committee containing one
representative each from the territorial Administration and the
Commonwealth government, together with "an overseas representative, who
has had extensive experience both in organization and in developing
countries" .37 There was, in consequence, little of a controversial nature in the
report to provoke debate, although Downs and Stuntz insisted on the deletion
of certain clauses which, they felt, stressed the need for localisation at the
cost of a certain dilution in personnel standards. The report was then passed
in its amended form, and the general question of administrative reform was
raised again in the form of a resolution requesting the use of further outside
experts in the upcoming public service review. Only Barrett, Holloway, Ron
Neville and Downs spoke on the resolution, together with Henderson for
the Administration, and of these the first three mentioned were members of
the Public Accounts Committee itself, while the first two and Downs had
been the initiators of the whole issue during the budget debate.
The Committee's eleventh report, on departmental expenditure for
1966-7, was accepted without debate. It recommended changes in the form
of the presentation of departmental expenditures in the House, an urgent
review of the works planning structure of the Administration, including the
strengthening of the role of the House of Assembly's Standing Committee on
Public Works, and a tightening up of overtime procedures, particularly in the
Department of Public Health. The twelfth report was chiefly concerned with
works planning, and the financial structure and operations of the Department
of Public Works, and harked back to recommendations made in the
Committee's fourth report, which was concerned with the same subject. The
thirteenth and fifteenth reports of the Committee concerned fairly technical
matters, and were, therefore, tabled and accepted without debate.
Public service reform was also the subject of two other important
measures before the House: a statement of those recommendations of the
Committee on the Public Service (set up by the minister in August, 1965)
which the minister had found acceptable and intended to implement; and a
series of Bills intended to carry out the Committee's previous
recommendation that a single line salary be established for the territory
public service. The report, which was not debated, certainly recommended
sweeping changes in the structure of the public service: the replacement of
the Public Service Commissioner by a Public Service Board consisting of
a chairman and three members, appointed by the minister after consultation
with the Administrator's Council for a term of three years fulltime
employment which would report annually to the Administrator's Council
as well as to the minister; the institution of a convention whereby the
Administrator's Council would, unless it be inexpedient so to do, be
consulted on decisions involving appointments to the first division, the


Edward P. Wolfers

functions and structure of departments, and overall changes in the salaries

and conditions of local officers; the establishment in the office of the
commissioner, and later the board, of a separate and strong unit to promote
and coordinate localisation at departmental level; and changes in entry
educational requirements in some cases, the revision of certain job
classifications, and improvement of English and induction training, as well
as a review of policy relating to acting appointments. The requisite
legislation was promised early in the life of the new House.
The Public Service (Papua and New Guinea) Bill (No. 2) 1967 was
introduced as a result of recommendations contained in the interim report
of the foregoing committee which the minister had accepted in September,
1966. Stuntz, the committee's chairman, expressed his reservations at the
Administration's delay in presenting the requisite bill to the House, and
lamented the haste in which it was, therefore, perforce considered. 38 The
bill sought no change in the level of expatriate public servants' salaries, but
simply provided that salaries for all positions will in future be expressed in
terms of local rates only, instead of the old two-rate (local and overseas)
system. Overseas public servants will, therefore, receive the same basic
salaries as local officers, plus a basic overseas allowance to restore the
officers' actual pay to the old level. During the debate, a surprise amendment
was moved by Voutas that the new salary scale also eliminate discrimination
on the basis of sex. Despite official opposition to the rapid passage of an
amendment with such wide monetary and policy-making implications, the
amendment was passed by twenty-eight votes to twenty-two. The revised
bill, however, still awaits assent. The cost of assent will be equal pay for
both sexes, while the cost of withholding assent may well be the singleline structure itself (which is, in essence, designed to remove at least the
external signs of racial discrimination from the public service wage
structure). When he discovered that, in fact, his amendment did not ensure
equal pay for men and women, but would allow the Administration to set
up a single-line wage structure in which a system of allowances could
preserve the old inequalities in actual pay, Voutas moved an amending bill
to ensure complete equality of pay, but later adjourned it for the new House
to consider more carefully.
The Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1967-8 perhaps brought home to the
members more forcefully than any other measure the finality of this meeting
of the house before the elections. Because the new House could not meet
before June, and so no supplementary appropriations could, as is usual, be
voted during the early part of 1968, the House voted to increase the
Treasurer's advance from $2 to 7 million to cover variations from the
proposed expenditure for 1967-8. Many members were also very much
aware of their failure to provide pensions for those among them who retired
or were defeated, and so there was widespread support, particularly from the
indigenous members, for a resolution requesting the Administrator to "give
favourable consideration to requests from former members of the House who
are defeated at the elections, for loans, to either begin new business ventures
or rehabilitate existing business interests which they have been forced to

September-December 1967


neglect in favour of the interests of their electorates" .39

The final indication of the widening gap between those few members,
most notably John Guise, who have managed to master the intricacies of
legislative procedure, and those who still seek to learn it, was provided by
Guise's insistence that, although he had signed Henderson's report under
pressure, although he had not had time even to read it, much less had he
been consulted in its preparation, he still wanted to table a report of his own
on the Malaysian land resettlement scheme. 40 Against the opinions of his
critics, he was prepared to assert that the territory could and should learn
from overseas experience, as his own minority report so amply
demonstrated. 41 On the other hand, Tei Abal probably spoke for many
members from the less sophisticated areas when he said: "This is our last
meeting. The official members have helped us and we have done good work
here, but we have not achieved very much for our country ... We native
members are not too clear on what is happening here."z And so to the


Edward P. Wolfers

In view uf Lhe laler controversy over the degree to which the Department ot
Territories should and does control the day-to-day administration of Papua
and New Guinea, the very first news story of the year had a certain ironic
touch to it: George H. Warwick Smith, Secretary of the Department of
Territories, was made a Commander of the British Empire.'

The Minister and His Critics

John Gorton's accession to the Australian prime ministership was widely
interpreted as a bad omen for Barnes' political future. Amid the plethora of
advice with which the prime minister was showered, most of the press
"tended to use the Territories portfolio as the starting point for their arguments".2 It was widely assumed, at least until February, that Barnes would
not retain his present portfolio, whether or not he remained in the ministry,
and that the Department of Territories would be reconstructed. Some
journalists, perhaps over-impressed by the Pangu pati's policies in this regard,
even predicted that Papua and New Guinea would in future be administered
by the Department of External Affairs. Such a change, it was felt, would
remove Territories' "inbuilt bias towards being a colonial, 'our' administration". 3
In the end, party-political rather than policy considerations dictated
Barnes' survival, although his department was renamed "External
Territories" (its title until1951), and its functions were allegedly "pared to
the bone" .4 The Northern Territory is now the responsibility of the
Department of the Interior. The new ministerial structure is intended to
emphasise the separate political destinies of Australia's two principal
territorial administrations. 5 Gorton's compromise was not popular with the
press. The editorial writer(s) of the Australian, probably Barnes' severest
critic(s), put it quite forcefully, when he (they) wrote that Barnes "is an
earnest, hard working and thoroughly conscientious minister and it is
distasteful to have to go on picking at him. However, the simple fact of the
matter is that he is not up to the job." 6 Taken together, the retention of
Barnes, and Gorton's failure to offer the territory the single option of
independence as its ultimate political destiny, seemed to demonstrate to the
Australian that the old "ministerial ambiguities" about the territory's future



still remained, although perhaps "the old ambiguities now exist elsewhere" .7
The second Australian Institute of Political Science summer school to
deal with Papua and New Guinea took place in January (the first was in
1958). At the summer school, Barnes was exposed probably more forcefully
than ever to the jostling of the experts. 8 The papers themselves occasioned
relatively little comment, except for H.L. Wootten, QC's demand that the
territory be offered only one choice for its long-term political future independence. Albert Maori Kiki (secretary of the Pangu pati) received wide
publicity for his remark in an otherwise restrained and carefully reasoned
speech that Papuans and New Guineans were forced to lick Australians'
boots. 9 Despite the encouragement of a number of his critics to change his
stance, Barnes did not deviate at all from his belief that "you do not close
off possibilities which in the light of later events may turn out to be wanted
by both countries and an advantage to them both". 10 K.E. Beazley, for the
Federal Opposition, spelled out for the first time the exact nature of the
ALP's commitment to Papua and New Guinea after independence; he
promised at least $50 million a year for thirty years. 11
Barnes' "policy of negation and evasion" was again attacked by the
Australian. Indeed, he was accused of espousing a policy of "risky seventh
statism" 12 in what was described as "one of the most extraordinary, kindly
and probably unconsciously paternalistic" 13 speeches he had given. He had
doubted, it was claimed, that Papua and New Guinea could ever be a separate
country, and insisted, that any demand by the House of Assembly for selfgovernment should, in his view, be confirmed by a popular referendum
before the Australian government should accede to it. Rather more
characteristic perhaps than the minister's critics of the Australian press and
public, neither of which have ever displayed any marked interest in Territory
affairs, the Brisbane Courier-Mail accused Maori Kiki and another
commentator who had criticised race relations in the territory at the seminar
of "having a chip on [their] ... shoulder". On the whole, the editorial said,
Australia has "not a bad record in New Guinea" .14
The Governor-General's opening address to Federal Parliament early in
March reiterated most of the principal themes of Barnes' earlier policies.
Australia intends to develop the territory for self-determination, Lord Casey
said, although he spelled out for the first time in formal terms what Barnes
had hinted at during 1967. The government continued specifically to hold
out the possibility of "a special relationship" between a self-governing Papua
and New Guinea and Australia, but the government now "believes that the
development of Papua and New Guinea as a seventh State of Australia is
fraught with difficulties, and that statehood, as against self-government, is
not likely to be the outcome of such development" 15 - scarcely a repudiation
of Barnes.
Gough Whittam and Kim Beazley for the ALP attacked the
government's tardiness in developing Papua and New Guinea for
independence, and the latter criticised again the inappropriateness of the
Westminster system of responsible government in the territory context. 16 The
strongest and most carefully reasoned attack on Barnes, however, came from


Edward P. Wolfers

a Liberal party backbencher, E.H. StJohn, QC, who urged the government
to commit itself to independence as the only goal for the territory, and
criticised the government's failure to provide more funds for the University
of Papua and New Guinea (see below).!' Barnes added a certain amount of
publicity to the force of StJohn's speech by walking out during it. The
minister did not bother with his critics during his address-in-reply speech.
"What is uppermost in the minds of many Papuans and New Guineans", he
insisted, "is development economic development ... [and] the task of nation
building in Papua and New Guinea is as much an economic problem as a
political problem" }8 The remainder of the speech, as well as his speech at
the opening of ANG house in Port Moresby on 18 April, 19 was concerned
with economic, especially agricultural and financial, problems. At a press
conference on 18 April, Barnes cast some light on his apparent lack of
concern with constitutional and political issues. Independence for Papua and
New Guinea, he estimated, was still twenty to thirty years off.2

The House of Assembly Elections

The second quadrennial House of Assembly election attracted as much
journalistic and academic attention as the first, though rather less interest
from the territory's voting population. Most commentators to date, however,
have confined themselves to sweeping generalisations about the prevalence
or decline of cargo thinking and racial feeling, and to general analyses of
the results. Few writers attempted to analyse the candidates or their
campaigns in any detail, although, generally, it seems likely that up to onequarter of the candidates (especially Europeans, and indigenes outside the
Highlands) distributed electoral leaflets. European candidates tended to
concern themselves with policy-issues rather more than the other candidates,
although relatively well-educated indigenous candidates tended to do
likewise. Indeed, where leaflets were distributed, more indigenous
candidates attempted to explain their policies than did Europeans, who often
just put "Vote 1" next to their photographs. Gimmickry such as polaroid
cameras, tape-recorders, and helicopters, and the dispensing of free shirts,
badges, beer and tobacco remained the preserve of European candidates.
Clearly, the elections were important, although most politicking took place
in languages, places and situations that were largely inaccessible to the
outside observer. Peter Hastings summed up the prevailing attitude of those
observers who were not just looking for "local colour", when he wrote:
In one sense it is difficult to take the New Guinea elections seriously. And
yet they ARE serious and extraordinarily dull. It is why they are serious that
is so hard to pin down.
Something in the way of political consciousness is stirring in the island,
something beyond the interminable parochial talk of bridges and roads and
hospitals. Something that indefinably stretches across the insular isolation
of electoral districts, tribes and languages.



It is certainly there in the elites. It is certainly there in the electorates which

seem fairly determined, if one can be certain of anything in the island, to reject
most white candidates ... 21

The 484 candidates who contested the sixty-nine open and fifteen regional
electorates tended to be younger and relatively better educated than their
predecessors.22 Thirty to forty per cent of them had had some experience in local
government, while forty-six of the fifty-four elected members and one official
member (J.K. McCarthy) of the first House stood for re-election. Two sitting
members, R.T.D. Neville and Tei Abal, were re-elected unopposed for the
Southern Highlands Regional and Wabag Open electorates respectively, while
the new members for the Upper Sepik open and the West Sepik Regional also
had no opponents. Twenty-three European candidates stood for seventeen
Open and thirty-two for fourteen Regional electorates, while, for the first time,
two Asians contested the Kavieng Open electorate in the New Ireland district.
Two part-Asians stood for Namatanai, and a number of mixed-race candidates
stood elsewhere throughout the territory. Nineteen indigenous candidates
nominated for ten Regional electorates, for which the territory intermediate
certificate or its equivalent was required. Surprisingly four indigenes stood
in the Western Highlands Regional, and one in Chimbu, while in such
relatively sophisticated areas as Madang, New Britain and Morobe no
indigenous candidates contested the Regional electorates. Only one "foreign
native" stood for a Regional electorate (a Tolai in the Manus and New Ireland
Regional), although quite a number stood in Open electorates, including at
least four Papuans in the Madang-Morobe area. In five Regional and one
Open (Moresby) electorates, only Europeans stood, while in five electorates
two former elected members stood against each other, and in Moresby one
former elected and one former official member stood. In all, forty-eight
candidates resigned directly from the public service to contest the elections
(including sixteen interpreters, predominantly from the Highlands), although
relatively few of them were members of the so-called "urban elite". Other major
occupational groups among the candidates were (mission) teachers, farmers,
businessmen, etc. Only one woman stood (for Esa' ala). In general, Highlands
electorates attracted the greatest number of contestants; sixteen candidates
stood for each of the Chimbu, Gumine, Sinasina and Goroka Open electorates.
As regards the candidates' party affiliations: Pangu put up about thirty
formally announced candidates, and claimed a total of fifty-two Open
members and sympathisers. Tony Voutas hoped that the party would have
twenty members in the second House of Assembly. 23 The United Christian
Democratic party dropped the "Christian" from its title (and is, therefore,
now the UDP) and announced that it intended "to give second preferences
to genuine mainly indigenous political parties rather than to independents". 24
The UDP's leaders claim to have paid the $50 nomination fees of six
candidates in the Sepik (not all of whom will confirm the fact), and they
were its "endorsed" candidates. In addition, they seemed to have the
sympathy and ordinary membership of at least half of the indigenous
candidates in the Sepik, while the leaders also claimed the (unannounced)


Edward P. Wolfers

support of some candidates in New Britain, and the membership of H.L.R.

Niall, a candidate for the Morobe Regional. The All Peoples' party (APP)
had two public adherents in Papua (Keith Tetley and Gabriel Ehava Karava),
one announced candidate in the Highlands, and at least five adherents in
the Madang District, and another five in the east Sepik. It also claimed,
largely unspecified support in the New Guinea Islands. Seven Papuan candidates campaigned on a common platform for the National Progress
party (Napro), and with common leaflets on which only the names were
different. Napro claimed the sympathy of approximately another twentythree candidates throughout the territory. The Agricultural Reform party had
two major candidates in New Britain, though many other candidates in the
East New Britain district joined the party as a form of electoral insurance.
The Territory Country party was dead before the elections.
Parties probably had a real impact at the popular level only in the East
Sepik, Bougainville and Morobe districts, although the very notion of parties
was an issue in many other areas. Five prominent indigenous businessmen
in the Goroka area signed a document attacking all parties as premature, 25
and few candidates even mentioned their party affiliations, although many
of them derived their policies from their party's platform. The overall
significance of parties can perhaps best be gauged from two phenomena:
in the Milne Bay Regional two Pangu members stood against each other, as
did four UDP members at Maprik, and two APP candidates at Angoram;
and in the Morobe Regional electorate, while Voutas campaigned on an
openly Pangu platform, H.L.R. Niall attempted to demonstrate the
irrelevance of parties, by joining the UDP, asking the APP for help, attacking
Pangu specifically, while teaming up with one of its sympathisers in an Open
electorate and promising to set up a labour party with him after the election,
and circulating several thousand copies of the Goroka pamphlet attacking
all parties. Voutas won. Some candidates were members of up to four
separate parties.
Polling proceeded relatively smoothly under the scrutiny of the United
Nations' visiting mission and despite the embarrassment of two candidates
being arrested, on charges unconnected with the elections but likely, if the
candidates were found guilty, to require subsequent by-elections. Neither
won. A number of complaints about polling procedure were voiced in the
East Sepik, but none required action. The Chief Electoral Officer issued a
number of confident statements noting the voters' increased sophistication
and expecting at least as high a turnout as in 1964. When polling in the towns
ran at only twenty-five per cent, it was explained that the voters' increased
sophistication was a possible explanation -they realised now that they did
not have to vote. The final figure of only about a sixty-three per cent26 turnout
throughout the territory, however, was widely interpreted as signalling many
voters' disappointment that the first House of Assembly had not delivered
the cargo, and the apathy of European voters.
Most voters still cast their ballots on clan or language-group lines,
though these were sometimes given the guise of party or policy groups.
Nonetheless, Papuans won in two New Guinea electorates (Rai Coast and



Huon Gulf), and a third did well at Bogia. The new member for Kikori was
also born outside his electorate, in the Kerema electorate, while one mixedrace candidate and a part-Asian were elected too. Although only about onequarter of the winners had an absolute majority of the votes on the first
count, in only eight electorates was the ultimate winner not the leader on
the primary count.
The new House of Assembly contains twenty-three members of the first
house, including, however, only four Europeans. All but three of the
indigenous incumbents in the Highlands were re-elected, and all of those
candidates of both races who stood again in the New Guinea Islands and
were not opposed by another incumbent. Only one candidate from each of
the Madang and Morobe districts and from both Sepik districts were reelected, and none of the coastal Papuans from west of Port Moresby.
Indigenous candidates were, contrary to many expectations, successful in
four regional electorates, while eight Europeans gained election in Open
electorates, including two, Angoram and Kainantu, that had been represented
by (different) Europeans before. Five of the eleven under-secretaries were
re-elected, which caused some surprise in that candidates in a number of
areas had found it electorally desirable to promise not to accept ministerial
office if elected, and to concentrate on their electoral duties. John Guise is
the only surviving elected member of the old Legislative Council.
The new indigenous members of the House of Assembly are, on average,
probably better educated, and more experienced politically than their
predecessors: 27 only twenty-six of them have no formal education at all,
while nineteen have some post-primary (i.e. post-standard VI) education to
their credit, including two who have completed a year's university, and one
Highlander (from Kompiam-Baiyer) with four years' post-primary
missionary training. All members speak at least one of the three territory
lingue franche, and thirty-one have some local government experience,
including fourteen council presidents, a number of vice-presidents, plus two
council clerks and a supervisor. Four members are workers' association
leaders, and many others have experience in other social and economic
organisations. Thirty-five of the indigenous members, including all ofthose
who were re-elected from the first House, have travelled outside the territory.
Only one of the indigenous members publicly acknowledges no mission
affiliation at all, while the largest known mission group consists of about
twenty-six Roman Catholics.
The European members are, on the whole, probably somewhat more
conservative than their predecessors. Four of them have university degrees,
and the length of their time in the territory varies from one who was born
in Papua and another who was brought up here, down to just under seven
years. Six of them were born outside Australia and her dependencies.
The state of the parties in the second House of Assembly seems unclear,
and their numbers seem to hinge very much on whether party members are
allowed to accept ministerial positions. Various Pangu leaders have
estimated the party's membership in the House at a number of different
figures, up to thirty. Presently, however, only the following members have


Edward P. Wolfers

at any stage publicly identified themselves with Pangu (although some of

these may withdraw, and other members have been identified with the party
by other people): Donatus Mola, Paul Lapun, Siwi Kurondo, Pita Lus,
Michael Tom Somare, Paliau ~.1aloat, James Meanggan1m, Cecil Abel, John
Guise, Tony Voutas, Mangobing Kakun, Michael Kaniniba, Niwia Ebia
Olewale. The party has expressed the hope that it can recruit further
members in the House, and two of the Tolai members, for example, have a
reputation for being even more radical than Pangu, at least on land matters,
as has Oala Oala-Rarua on constitutional issues. TheAll Peoples' party and
the United Democrats have at various times also claimed various members,
although, to date, only J.C. McKinnon and D. Buchanan have publicly
associated themselves with theAPP (although others may do so), while only
Yakob Talis and Beibi Yembanda have publicly proclaimed their membership
of the UDP. Epineri Titimur has announced that he is a member of lhe
Agricultural Reform party; Napro has no visible members in the legislature.
In retrospect, given the success of the first House's most conservative
indigenous members in gaining re-election, and the large number of other
probable conservatives, it seems curious that so much of the press has
interpreted the election as a Pangu victory. 28 Certainly, a number of public
members of Pangu were elected, but its total as well as its percentage
membership in the House is less than in 1967. The ministerial system may,
indeed, ravage Pangu' s numbers still more, although it does seem clear that
Pangu is the only viable party organisation ever to survive an election in
Papua and New Guinea.
International Aid
The Australian government has only recently begun to allow international
aid dispensing organisations into Papua and New Gui.nea. They are still,
therefore, largely assessing needs and tendering advice rather than giving
or lending money, although the situation is gradually changing.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World
Bank), which carried out an extensive survey of the territory's economy in
1964, has sent a number of teams to Papua and New Guinea. So far, it has
allocated $596,000 for a one-year survey of the territory's transport services
and needs, 29 and examined an application for a loan to improve the territory's
posts and telegraphs system. 30 In January, the Bank sent a further team of
five experts to examine the territory's agricultural development, specifically
to assess credit needs in the beef cattle industry, and in the coconut, rubber
and palm oil industries too. 31 In line with the Bank's earlier stress on the
need for expatriate investment to develop the territory, and on the desirability
of encouraging a local cattle industry, the mission seemed to be most
interested in the provision of credit facilities for European beef-breeders.
The World Bank mission was the subject of a minor controversy when its
leader, Dr C.P. McMeekan, denied having said that he was disappointed at
the Administration's failure to implement the Bank's 1964 report and to
apply earlier for a loan from the Bank. 32



The United Nations Children's Fund 33 and the UN Development

Programme34 also approved projects in Papua and New Guinea, and the
director of the development programme visited the territory in April.J 5
UNESCO sent its first science teaching expert to Goroka Teachers' College
in January, 36 and in April it promised aid totalling $1,196,200 to the college
over the next five years in experts, fellowships, equipment, supplies and
services. 37
The United Nations
Apart from its various aid-giving agencies, the UN does not have a good
image in Papua and New Guinea. The Australian government was reportedly
considering withdrawal from the Committee of Twenty-four (on
decolonisation) because of its adverse criticisms of Australia's efforts in the
territory. 38 The first female adviser to an Australian UN delegation, Rose
Kekedo, a Papuan, was also not impressed with the UN, which she found
to be overly concerned with the problem of racial discrimination, 39 although
the President of the Trusteeship Council, Angie Brooks, in turn, described
the territory's indigenous advisers to Australia's UN delegations as "sluggish
and lacking in initiative". 40 Brooks clearly hoped for a more rapid takeover
of the territory's Administration by indigenous leaders. 41
The seventh United Nations visiting mission to New Guinea was,
therefore, received with some apprehension in the territory. Clearly, many
indigenous leaders felt resentment that the UN was trying to push the
territory towards self-determination before they felt themselves to be ready.
In fact, the visiting mission could not have been more favourably composed:
its leader was a New Zealander, J.M. McEwen, secretary of his country's
Department of Island Territories and Maori Affairs, while the other members
were a Frenchman and an American, P. Gaschinard and Dr W. Allen, both
of whose countries also have a vested interest in stability in this part of the
Pacific, and a Liberian, A.F. Caine, whose country is probably one of the
more conservative members of the Afro-Asian bloc at the UN.
The mission spent six weeks in New Guinea during the elections and
visited Papua too at the invitation of the Australian government. At very
few places indeed did indigenous speakers do other than plead for more time
till self-determination and ask for assistance to build more schools, etc. The
mission, in return, tended to stress that it was only looking, and that it was
not trying to hurry New Guinea towards self-determination. Despite several
relatively serious attacks on his honesty and his views, especially in Wewak
and on Karkar Island, Caine remained as conservative as the rest of the
mission in hoping that New Guinea would avoid some of Liberia's early
mistakes as a country. The only real variations from the standard theme
occurred when some cargo cultists near Madang asked the UN to make Yali
their king, and when candidates in the elections tried to use the UN's
meetings for political purposes at a few places. Indeed, the visiting mission
seemed critical only of the dual public service salary structure, and gave a
great deal of praise to the Australian effort in the territory. The mission


Edward P. Wolfers

seemed unanimous in finding no sense of unity yet among most Papuans

and New Guineans. 42 Perhaps, however, the visiting mission may have been
too good to be true, for, as a number of journalists belatedly began to point
out, maybe the mission had been so conservative that its report would be
completely discredited at the UN. 43

The University
As forecast earlier, the University of Papua and New Guinea seems unlikely
now to receive all of the money it requires to expand in accordance with its
earlier plans. Already, it has had to turn away thirty prospective students in
1968, and the government seems intent on sticking to the Currie Commission's projection of 575 students in 1970 as opposed to the 825 the university
claims tt could and should take. Editorials throughout the Australian press
were on the university's side, and criticised the minister's adherence to the
earlier plan as an "extension of bureaucratic bookkeeping into a field where
it simply does not work ... ". 44 Professor Inglis' and Dr Gunther's attacks
on the government's policy were given wide publicity in Australia, although
some of the university's critics in the territory carped at the expense
($28,000) ofthe Vice-Chancellor's new house, 45 and pointed to the need for
greater government expenditure on other types of education too.
The permit system, under which travellers between Australia and the
territory must obtain a travel document from the Department of External
Territories before entering or leaving Papua and New Guinea, received
further notoriety when a Port Moresby magistrate criticised the inefficiency
of a system that allows convicted criminals into the terdtory.46 On the other
hand, a number of other bodies had earlier expressed their grievance at the
system's efficiency in excluding a Russian journalist, Yuri Yasnev, a Pravda
correspondent, from the territory because he was both Russian and a
Communist (while two Polish journalists were already touring the
territory). 47 Yasnev was denied permission to tour the territory with a group
of journalists writing about the elections because there were, allegedly, no
further seats available, while James Anthony, a post-graduate student in
Pacific History at the Australian National University, was refused a permit
unless he signed a declaration promising not to take part in any political
activities while in the Territory. 48 The public disclosure of the conditions
placed upon Anthony so damaged the possibility that his research could be
carried out effectively that Anthony decided, in the end, not to come to the
Other Matters
A report by two officers of the Department of District Administration on a
youth survey of Port Moresby and environs advocated a head tax on all



urban dwellers to limit the drift to the towns, and the improvement of
accommodation and recreational facilities in the area. 49
The Public Service Association failed in its request to be consulted in
the appointment of a new Public Service Arbitrator, 50 and L.G. Matthews
was reappointed. The Associatio~ then petitioned the UN Trusteeship
Council to appoint a commission lD examine the existing public service
salary structure, the commission to consist of an independent chairman and
four other members, of whom two each should be acceptable to the Public
Service Association and the Administration respectively. 51 A tripartite
mission, consisting of the Chairman of the Australian Council of Trade
Unions (ACTU), A.E. Monk, the executive manager of the Employers'
Federation, George Polites, the secretary of the Department of Labour and
National Service and leader of the mission, Dr H. Cook, a former president
of the Chamber of Manufacturers, A.M. Simpson, and the secretary of the
New South Wales Trades and Labour Council, R.B. Marsh, visited the
territory in April (as a similar mission did in 1960) to report to the Minister
for External Territories on wages and labour conditions in the territory. The
only important public comment by a member of the mission to date has been
Monk's remark that the Australian trade union movement was disappointed
with the results so far of its efforts to help establish trade unions in the
terri tory. 52


Edward P. Wolfers

Insofar as Papua and New Guinea has a constitution in the narrow sense of
a single document outlining the institutions of the territory's government,
and their functions, it is the Papua and New Guinea Act. Because the
territory is still an Australian dependency, however, a proper understanding
of its constitution in the broad sense, i.e. of the general principles underlying
the manner and method of its government, requires more than a knowledge
of the actual operation of internal territory politics. It requires such
knowledge, of course, but it requires, too, an understanding of the
assumptions of Australia's territorial policy-makers, as well as an
appreciation of just where, and to what degree, various bodies of the United
Nations play a part in Papua and New Guinea's political development.
The second third of 1968 was, therefore, of rather extraordinary significance in the constitutional development of Papua and New Guinea. Firstly,
the Papua and New Guinea Act itself was amended, and both the manner of
its amendment, and the reactions that the amendments aroused, provided
an interesting commentary upon the assumptions ofCanbe<rra's policy-makers.
Secondly, the seventh United Nations visiting mission's report was released,
and debated, in New York, and an opportunity thereby provided for an
assessment of the degree, and trend, of international interest in New Guinea.
Finally, the first meeting of the second House of Assembly, and preparations
for its second (budget) meeting, provided a useful insight into the changes
that had occurred in, and the actual operation of, one of the most important
formal instruments of political change in Papua and New Guinea.
The Papua and New Guinea Bill1968
The Honourable C.F. Barnes (the present Minister for External Territories)
announced the Australian government's acceptance of the House of
Assembly's revised version of the recommendations contained in the final
report of its own Select Committee on Constitutional Development in
October 1967. The requisite legislation, the Papua and New Guinea Bill
1968, was not, however, introduced into the Australian Parliament until May
1968, after the election (but before the first meeting) of the legislature it was
designed to reform. The minister kept his promise to legislate in accordance

May-August 1968


with the House's recommendations- but added some amendments of his

own. The subsequent outcry at these new amendments, and at the minister's
implementation of the recommended legislation, cast an interesting light
upon (a) the amendments to the Select Committee's report that Frank
Henderson (the senior official member of the House of Assembly) had
secured approval for in June 1967, and (b) the differing sets of assumptions
that underlay the minister's legislation, and his interpretation of it, and what
some of the Sele<>t Committee's members, and other elected members, had
thought that tbey had recommended.
It may b~ r-ecalled that Henderson originally objected to the use of the
terms "minister" and "assistant minister" to describe the proposed successors
to the old under-secretaries. "Ministerial member" and "assistant ministerial
member", he felt, "may more accurately describe the functions and
responsibilities of the position in the territorial context until the people of
the territory specifically decide on further steps towards self-government". 1
Barnes, too, went to some pains to insist in 1968, that the change in title
was "a matter of terminology not of substance" .2 In the light of the criticism
that followed his proposal of further amendments to the Papua and New
Guinea Act, howeyer, and in view of the attacks upon his implementation
of the revised act, it seems clear that the minister's interpretation of what
the House of Assembly really wanted was not identical with that of at least
some of its members. What was a question of terminology in the minister's
eyes revealed a quite significant gap between the assumptions of
officialdom, and those of some of the more radical politicians in the territory.
Barnes has always believed "that political development to the point of
self-government or independence or other status [to which, he alone
consistently makes reference] which the Territory may ultimately assume can
[not] have substance if it is not accompanied by progress towards self
reliance in economic matters ... ". 3 Furthermore, even though the minister's
insistence on the attainment of economic self-reliance before self-government
has weakened slightly to a claim that "substantial progress in this direction
is essential if political advance is to be real and genuine" ,4 Barnes' general
philosophy of political and administrative development does not allow for
undue baste, for he now believes that the "acquisition of experience is not
a process that lends itself to too much acceleration, but an experienced Public
Service and a fund of experience at the political level are essential for
efficient and stable government". 5 In short, even if Papua and New Guinea
is not likely to attain self-government before it is economically self-reliant,
the minister has purely political and administrative reasons for not hurrying
the process of political change along too much. Furthermore, he believes
that most Papuans and New Guineans agree with him, for when they speak
to him they talk about "the need for roads and bridges, not self-government".6
Indeed, in Barnes' view, the Australian government is still developing the
territory ahead of popular demand (and interest): "We could not be pushing
this thing quicker than we are doing to prepare these people for a situation
where they can say they want to take over". 7 The reaction of a number of
Papuan and New Guinean leaders to the minister's actions at this time,


Edward P. Wolfers

however, seemed to reflect a keener awareness on their part of the pushing

than of the speed.
The Papua and New Guinea Bill1968 represented "an important advance
on the side of the executive government distinct from the side of the
legislature", 8 in the minister's view, and so it did on his assumption that "the
final responsibility of administering the territory [should be left with] the
Administrator, acting on behalf of the Australian Government". 9
Nonetheless, the change in the title of part IV of the act, from
"Administration" to "The Executive Government" is of more than purely
symbolic significance.
The bill provided for the appointment of seven ministerial, and up to ten
assistant ministerial, members, through a process of consultation between
a standing nominations committee of five elected members of the House of
Assemhly and the Administrator, until a final list of elected members equal
to the number of ministerial offices was arrived at, and then approved by
the House as a whole. The Minister for External Territories was then
empowered to make the actual appointments to office himself, but "only
on the recommendation of the Administrator or after consultation with
him" .10 In short, Canberra retained control over who got what jobs, and was
also given the power, through the Governor-General, acting on the advice
of the minister, and after a report from the Administrator, to terminate the
individual appointments of all holders of ministerial and assistant ministerial
office, if it were in the public interest (whether policy differences could lead
to dismissals "in the public interest", especially ifthey broke the principles
of cabinet solidarity and secrecy which have been imposed upon the new
Administrator's Executive Council, the minister did not say). The minister
did, however, point out that "[t]hese arrangements for the appointment of
ministerial members and assistant ministerial members are designed on the
one hand to give the House of Assembly a full voice in these appointments
and on the other hand to recognise the essential responsibilities of the
Administrator and the Minister" .11 Final responsibility for the territory's
government, therefore, remains outside its own legislature. Indeed, the
"administrative functions exercised by a ministerial member" (as distinct
from the management and public service aspects of his department's
activities, over which he would have no control), "would be derived from
the Administrator". 12 Within this framework, then, the seven ministerial
members would "assume certain responsibilities in the administration of the
Territory both in day to day administrative activities and in the framing of
policies" .13
The new Administrator's Executive Council (which replaced the former
Administrator's Council) has an elected majority, of seven ministerial
members and another elected member nominated by the Administrator and
appointed by the minister, three officials and the Administrator himself. "In
matters of budget policy and planning, the Council would have the final
responsibility within the Territory for advising the Administrator", 14 and, if
he rejects the Council's advice, he must have his reasons for so doing tabled
in the House of Assembly. Nonetheless, "the proposed arrangements

May-August 1968


recognise the need, while so much of the Territory's revenue is provided

by the Australian Government, for that Government to determine the broad
strategy of the budget". 15
The tendency to view the ministerial members' role within a bureaucratic
framework was further emphasised in Barnes' insistence that the ministerial
members would not so much represent the Administrator's Executive
Council in the House of Assembly, but "would represent the Administration
in relation to those functions assigned to them, for example, regarding
questions and motions in the House". 16 The ministerial members' duties
would later "be set out in detail in arrangements approved by the Minister", 17
and they "may be adapted in the light of experience". 18 The subsequent
provision of ministerial cars (with special "MM" number plates) for four
of the official members of the House of Assembly, and the official
explanation that it had been done because these men "were in effect, official
ministerial members", 19 only stressed the dominance of bureaucratic norms
throughout the new system even more. The role of the new assistant
ministerial members remains as ambiguous as that of their predecessors,
the former under-secretaries: they hold, apparently, "a form of junior
ministerial offic.e designed to allow elected members to work with
departmental heads and to undertake work of a ministerial nature.
Responsibility however would remain with the departmental head." 20 Just
what form the relationship between the ministerial members for agriculture,
education, and trade and industry, and "their" assistant ministerial members
for rural development, technical education and training, and cooperatives,
would take remained unclear.
The proposed five-member Budget Standing Committee, to channel
private members' requests to the Administrator's Executive Council, was
not legally established by the bill, and, although its members were appointed
at the House's first meeting, it does not seem to have done much to date.
If the legislative implementation of the House of Assembly's
recommendations represented a cautious advance towards responsible
government, the minister's additional amendments to the Papua and New
Guinea Act only tended to strengthen Canberra's control over local affairs.
Firstly, the Governor-General was now empowered to withhold assent from
part of an ordinance reserved for his assent (by the Administrator, or by
law). Previously, he had been able to accept or reject an ordinance as a
whole, and this may, on occasion, have obliged the Australian government
to accept an unwelcome amendment rather than imperil the entire ordinance
if the official members tried to have it passed again (but without this
amendment) by the House. The old system had given the territory's
parliament a certain bargaining-power against officialdom. Now, although
the Governor-General must still tell the House why a particular clause has
not been assented to, he can just cut out those accretions-by-amendment to
a bill that the government does not like. Specifically the government used
the Governor-General's new power to threaten to delete an amendment to
the Public Service (Papua and New Guinea) Ordinance (No.2) 1967, unless
the House omitted the amendment itself. The amendment, which Voutas had


Edward P. Wolfers

hurriedly added to the bill, provided that male and female public servants
should, henceforth, receive equal pay. There were a number of technical
inadequacies to Voutas' general scheme (especially insofar as it dealt with
salary scales rat.lter than actual pay}, but the government was able to ensure
the survival of its single-line salary structure for indigenous and expatriate
public servants without risking a second full-scale debate on the general
principles of the bill. The House's refusal to omit the amendment could have
been met with the Governor-General's new partial veto. 21 A second
amendment to the Papua and New Guinea Act to provide "for priority to be
obtained for urgent administration business in the House of Assembly on a
message to the House by the Administrator", 22 further enhanced the
government's control, even over the House of Assembly's notice-paper.
The reaction to the minister's interpretation of the House of Assembly's
wishes, and to his own amendments to the Papua and New GuirteuAct, wa:.
both swift in coming, and generally unfavourable. A group offive members
of the new House, John Guise (chairman of the first House's Select
Committee on Constitutional Development), Tony Voutas (whose
amendment to the Public Service Bill was clearly the minister's immediate
target), Percy Chatterton (also a member of the first House) and Oala OalaRarua and Cecil Abel (both newly elected to the House) issued a joint
statement that they were "disturbed" at the proposed deviations from the
Select Committee's report. The Governor-General's new partial veto, the
failure to spell out more precisely the powers and duties of the ministerial
and assistant ministerial members, and the provision enabling the
Administration to claim priority for its business in the House, were all, they
felt, "a reflection on the dignity and authority of the first House of
Assembly". 23 They wanted the priority provision at least to be exercised only
on the advice of the Administrator's Executive Council. Even the Pacific
Islands Monthly concurred: to "some observers here", it commented, "the
recently enacted amendments to the Papua and New Guinea Act take a
hesitating step forward towards self-government followed by two smart
paces backward". 24
The minister answered his critics (especially those on the ALP side in
Federal parliament, for he never answered the five protesting legislators
directly) in a rather patiently paternalistic statement, in which he declared
it to be the government's ambition "to give as much administrative power
as possible to these ministerial and assistant ministerial members. Our
experience with under-secretaries has been that it is difficult to get people
into a situation to take the full responsibility of administering a department"
- hence the need for flexibility (i.e., the lack of a precise definition of the
ministerial members' powers) in the new House. His explanation of the
significance of the Governor-General's new partial veto was disingenuous
in the extreme. In Barnes' view the new provision "simplifies the situation.
In a sense ... [he somehow imagined] this provision limits the power of
assent of the Governor-General. Instead of withholding assent from the
whole of the Bill, he can withhold his assent from part of the Bill." 25
Barnes' failings on the constitutional issue were compounded, in some

May-August 1968


of his critics' eyes, by his subsequent announcement that the Departments of

Law, the Treasury, District Administration, and Lands, would continue to
be represented in the House by their permanent heads. Ministerial members
would be appointed to the Agriculture, Education, Public Health, Labour,
Public Works, Posts and Telegraphs, and Trade and Industry portfolios, and
eight assistant ministerial members would be made responsible, respectively,
for Forests, Lands, Local Government, Cooperatives, Rural Development,
Treasury, Technical Education and Training, and Information and Extension
Services. Simultaneously, the Administrator (D.O. Hay) announced that four
officers of the Department of District Administration (the District
Commissioners for the Chimbu, Central and Morobe districts, and a DDA
district inspector) would be appointed as official members of the new
legislature, to replace those departmental heads who had now been
supplanted by ministerial members.
John Guise criticised the allocation of portfolios as a denial of any real
positions of responsibility to members of the House, and the Pangu pati and
Oala-Rarua agreed. The new member for the East Sepik Regional electorate,
and a Pangu man, Michael Somare, was probably the most outspoken critic
of the kiaps' (pidgin for "patrol officer") appointment: "They have appointed
too many kiaps. They are not specialists. They only know how to boss
people about. They are there to influence the elected members from their
districts, where they are very big men." Further, Somare wanted "a man of
the people, not a Port Moresby European", to represent the Department of
Lands in the House, as well as a ministerial member for the Department of
District Administration. Oala-Rarua - significantly, in view of his
subsequent appointment as the relevant assistant ministerial member wanted an elected member to represent the Treasury in the House of
The Administrator replied to his critics with the claim that the new official
members had been chosen as individuals, on the basis of their ability and
experience, not as kiaps. 26 The Canberra Times felt that the allocation of
portfolios was not in this territory's best interests, while the kiaps in the
house would "need now to be doubly careful not to invite specific charges
[of attempting to coerce elected members]". 27 Only the South Pacific Post
seemed to find the official explanations of both actions satisfactory, although
it did find it "disappointing" that none of the official members came from
the New Guinea Islands. It felt that the Administration had missed "a chance
to foster a national spirit in the Territory by choosing the official members
on a representative basis". 28 The South Pacific Post did, however, publish
two articles, by Don Barrett (a former MHA) the very titles of which
indicated the vehement conviction of the writer that the first House's
recommendations had been betrayed. 29 The announcement on 29 May that
ordinary members' salaries would rise by $400 to $3,000 per annum, that
assistant ministerial members and the non-ministerial elected member of
the Administrator's Executive Council would receive $3,750, and that the
Speaker and all of the ministerial members would earn $5,000, may have
silenced some of the more aspiring of the Administration's critics on other


Edward P. Wolfers

counts. 30 In addition, all of the ministerial and assistant ministerial members

had earlier been promised Administration-provided housing in Port
Moresby. On 14 June a special Port Moresby allowance to cover the cost of
maintaining two households, and a special travelling allowance while
travelling on duty, over and above the normal electoral travelling allowances
paid to all members, were announced. 31
Barnes returned to the fray through an answer to a question without notice
in the Commonwealth Parliament. The Select Committee itself, he said, had
recommended "that final authority for government should rest with
Australia". Furthermore, several of the departments to which ministerial
members would be appointed were "responsible for a considerable number
of important policy decisions", although, as the Treasury portfolio "is
associated with a department involved in making many policy decisions, it
should remain with theAdministration". 32 Perhaps to reinforce his point that
money gives the power (and the right) to control, the minister refused some
weeks later to commit Australia, as the ALP's spokesman on territory affairs,
K.E. Beazley, had done in January, on the amount of its future aid to Papua
and New Guinea.J3
The minister's general unhappiness with the political aspects of Papua
and New Guinea's development was reflected in his comment, just after the
opening of the new House of Assembly, that any demand for self-government
by the legislature might well require confirmation by a popular referendum. 34
This implied attack on the House of Assembly's legitimacy is still the
minister's own view rather than government policy, and the Australian's
editorial writers quickly pointed to the difficulties it raised:
The dangers of the proposal are those of rigidity. At this stage, and for some
time to come, it is almost certain that the majority - and perhaps a vast
majority at that- of New Guineans will resist any moves towards all but the
most limited forms of self-government.

The notion of independence is anathema to most New Guineans at this

stage because it is equated with Australian desertion. The Government is well
aware of this and in saying that only a clearly expressed majority wish for
self-government, determined by referendum, will be acceptable, the
Government can sidestep any hasty moves for independence on the part of
the parliamentary elites ...
But there is a grave danger in frustrating the elites until such time as grass
roots political sophistication has caught up with the political thinking of New
Guinea's emerging native politicians. New Guinea will in the future be run
by native elites just as it is now being run by white elites. The notion of a
politically sophisticated mass electorate emerging in the near future is plain
nonsense. 35

The absence of any public reaction to his proposal by any Papuan and
New Guinean leaders lent additional credence to the minister's view that
"[p]ressure for early self-government ... was coming mainly from outside",
and especially from sections of the Australian press, although apathy
perhaps, rather than the "resistance" that the minister thought he perceived,

May-August 1968


seemed to be "coming from within". 36

The Speakership
The speakership of the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly is a
disproportionately important office by the normal standards of a
Westminster-style Parliament. It is, in fact, the most powerful executive
office open to the territory's legislators, especially since the minister
delineated his conception of the ministerial members' roles. It is also the
most prestigious office to which Papuans and New Guineans may presently
aspire: in official protocol, it ranks only after the Administrator and Chief
Justice in precedence, and all of the members of the legislature, elected and
official, indigenous and expatriate, must show its incumbent due and public
deference at every sitting of the House.
Under the 1965 ordinance establishing the Department of the House of
Assembly, 37 the Speaker was given much the same powers over the
legislature's staff as his Australian counterpart, and was thereby given rather
greater authority than any other legislative office-bearer in the territory.
Specifically, the Speaker was empowered under this ordinance to report
directly to the Minister for External Territories (and it was assumed that
the minister would customarily act in accordance with the Speaker's reports)
on all matters affecting the appointment, promotion and transfer of officers
of the department. He is also able to recommend the creation and abolition
of offices, without the permission of (but customarily in consultation with)
the Public Service Commissioner; in short, to recommend any changes in
the organisation, and classification, of offices within his department; and
none of the officers affected by his decisions can appeal beyond the Speaker
against his regulations and determinations. Further, the Speaker alone can
determine his officers' periods of recreation leave. The speakership,
therefore, allows its incumbent a greater potential for actual experience in
the day-to-day administration of a department than is presently available
to anyone other than departmental directors within the Administration, and,
unlike them, and unlike the ministerial members, he has no really effective
superiors he must first consult. Moreover, because officialdom, and probably
a majority of the members, regard the House of Assembly as a training
institution, in which experience is gained in the forms and procedures of
government, rather than the exercise of power, the Speaker's office is
important because of its incumbent's role in preserving the decorum of the
House, and in showing the indigenous members how to do things "properly".
In a House of independents, the Speaker's right to decide who shall speak
when, may play an important role in determining the temper, if not the actual
trend, of a debate (for only on a very few occasions, such as the annual
appropriations debates, in which most members know beforehand that they
want to speak, is it possible to prepare a list of speakers, and to adhere to it,
before the debate begins).
The defeat of the former speaker, H.L.R. Niall, the chairman of
committees, J.K. McCarthy, and his successor at the first House's last


Edward P. Wolfers

meeting, Don Barrett, as well as the three other temporary chairmen, John
Stuntz, Dirona Abe and Zure Zurecnuoc, meant that none of the members
of the second House had ever had any experience in the Speaker's chair.
There was, therefore, considerable speculation in the press as to who would
get the job, most of it centred around the four expatriates who had been reelected (Ashton, Chatterton, Neville and Voutas), and Ron Slaughter while
he was leading on the first count, and seemed likely to win, in the central
regional electorate. (He finally lost on preferences to Oala-Rarua.) It was
widely assumed that very few of the indigenous members would be capable
of the job, and that most of those who were would probably prefer to seek
ministerial office- a point that was reinforced by John Guise's publicly
announced indecision whether he would accept nomination for the
speakership, and his definite willingness to become a ministerial member,
1f asked. 38 Gradually, however, the speculative field came to include Guise,
Matthias Toliman, Tei Abal and Paul Lapun, although there seemed to be
some support for Ian Downs' suggestion that an official member who was
close to retirement (W.W. Watkins?) be allowed to fill the position for, say,
the first two years, before handing over to his indigenous deputy whom he
would have trained for the position in the interim. 39
The problem of the speakership was finally resolved at the school for
members, which was held in Port Moresby before the new House met. The
school, as did its predecessor at Sogeri in 1964, provided an occasion for
teaching the new members parliamentary procedure, as well as helping them
to get to know one another, to discuss political matters, and, especially, to
resolve such questions as the speakership in private. The (unofficial) result
of all the speculation was the nomination of Roy Ashton (who was said to
be keener on a ministerial position), N.M. Casey (who did want to be
Speaker), and Percy Chatterton, who withdrew when his fellow member for
a Papuan electorate, John Guise, nominated. Guise won, because, as one
commentator unkindly put it, the "Highlands bloc ... [believed] that he
would be more useful as Speaker than in shaking things up on the benches",
while Pangu supported him in order "to avoid a public showdown over the
ministerial issue". 40 The result also enabled the new Speaker to resolve, at
minimum political cost to himself, the conflict that his ambition and his
commitment to the new ministerial system (as the former Chairman of the
Select Committee on Constitutional Development that had recommended its
establishment) presented with his membership of Pangu, which wanted to
boycott all executive office for the time being. W.W. Watkins was elected
as Guise's deputy, and Angmai Bilas, Percy Chatterton, Oala Oala-Rarua,
Paul Langro and Sinake Giregire became temporary chairmen of committees.
Despite Barnes' rather patronising comment that it was "good to see a
Papuan has the confidence of the House for such high office", 41 Guise's
election to office has already brought about an important change in the
atmosphere of the House. He takes great care to explain changes in
procedure, and the issue of each vote to the members, in pidgin, and has,
both in manner and in his dress within as well as outside the House, reduced
the formality, but none of the dignity, of his office. His acceptance speech

May-August 1968


and his ceremonial official dress have also stressed his desire to transcend
regional and party divisions in the national cause. His formal nomination
and seconding by two Highlands members, and his addition of a tapa cloth
(for Papua), birds of paradise feathers and (symbolically for a radical?) a
kina shell around his neck (to represent the Highlands) have underlined his
desire to use the speakership as "a symbol of Papua and New Guinea striving
for unity and nation building" .42 Even as Speaker, however, Guise has provided ample evidence of his political astuteness. As local member, he has
announced his desire to continue to look after his electorate's interests through
submitting a detailed report of their "needs and aspirations direct to the
Administration through the appropriate channels ... " and to back them up
through distributing copies of these reports throughout his electorate" .43 In
reply to the many questions he has been asked as to whether he remains a Pangu
member, Guise simply reiterates the relevant portions of his acceptance speech:
I shall maintain the impartial and the middle course of this office ... at all times.
No affiliation, no personal opinion, no likes, no dislikes will in any way affect
... the carrying out of my duties .... Every member of the House is a friend
and no one is above the other. The office of Speaker shall not be the subject
of any party pressure from any political party or group or individuals from
within the House, either from elected members or the official members.

The First Meeting of the Second House of Assembly

The new House did not discuss any really important or controversial issues
at its first meeting. The Administration seemed content to let the new
members find their feet first, and to choose the House's office-bearers. Thus,
it is difficult to estimate with any accuracy just how much more radical or
sophisticated (except in purely formal terms, i.e. education, extra-village
experience, etc.) the new House is than its predecessor. The re-election of
only nineteen indigenous and four expatriate members of the first House
has meant that, at least in terms of the members' mastery of parliamentary
procedure, the new House has had to start off very little further ahead of
where its predecessors had begun in 1964. In this light, then, Niwia Ebia
Olewale's complaint towards the end ofthe meeting that he had understood
very little of what had passed45 was an important indication of the likely
frustration of many members with the procedures of Westminster, especially
as the complainant is one of the half-dozen best educated indigenous
members. Tei Abal's question on the second morning as to why he had had
to change sides with Siwi Kurondo when they had nominated Guise as
Speaker, 46 was another sign that ignorance of some of Westminster's
ceremonial and substantively irrelevant trappings may embarrass even the
most conscientious of legislators.
The general tenor of the address-in-reply, and the daily adjournment
debates, as well as of the questions asked, revealed a House that was
probably even more concerned with parochial issues than its predecessor,
possibly because its members now have practical experience ofthe political

Edward P. Wolfers


necessity of keeping the home folks happy. Nonetheless, the internal

structure of the legislature has changed considerably, very broadly in the
way outlined by one elected member:
On one side of the House is the highly organised force of the Administration
with ten official members.
On the other side is the highly organised Pangu, also with ten members.
In between is the vast majority of the House and this majority has organised
itself to make sure neither the Government nor Pangu bulldozes it. 47

One of the first gestures towards leadership of the House, or at least

towards regional group cohesion, was that of Ron Neville (who sat in
Downs' old place, where the "leader of the opposition" would normally be
found, and where, uniquely with the senior official member, the seat's
incumbent need not share his desk with other members) and his six
"constituent" Southern Highlands Open members. Between them, they asked
twenty-two carefully prepared and detailed, if parochial, questions during
the House's first question-time, followed by a speech by Neville
explaining the significance of the gesture. In a sense, the rest of the
meeting was dominated by the questions and demands of members
from the less sophisticated areas, and those which are suffering most from
the Administration's policy of concentrating economic development
where the potential is greatest. The Southern Highlanders' performance,
however, seemed only to arouse a measure of resentment at their
flamboyant demonstration among the other members. Stuart Inder, for
one, later warned Neville in the Pacific Islands Monthly that he was
trying too hard to fill all of the gaps left by the departure of Downs, Stuntz
and Barrett from the House, and tended, instead, to sound "like a shorttempered kiap ... [whose actions] resulted only in him getting some backs

The legislative session was officially opened by the Australian

Governor-General, and, for the first time, Papua and New Guinea's
politicians were told clearly and directly that the territory's "development
... as a seventh State of Australia is fraught with difficulties, and
that statehood, as against self-government, is not likely to be the outcome
of development". 49 Nonetheless, the Australian government continued to
hold out the prospect of a future, undefined "special relationship"
between a self-governing Papua and New Guinea, and Australia. Curiously,
in view of many commentators' expectations, the announcement seemed to
arouse no overt fears of desertion, indeed, very little reaction at all,
perhaps because of the possibility of the "special relationship". Even as
conservative a politician (on constitutional issues) as Tei Abal accepted
what was said without demur, although significantly, he did observe that
had Lord Casey been a man from the United Nations rather than the
Governor-General of Australia he would not necessarily have believed
him. 5
Otherwise, the House's proceedings seemed to be dominated by the very
presence of the Pangu pati, and the reactions it, in turn, aroused.

May-August 1968


Pangu now has ten members in the House: Michael Somare (East Sepik
Regional, and the party's parliamentary leader), Paul Lapun (South
Bougainville Open, and deputy leader), Pita Lus (Maprik Open, and party
whip), Niwia Ebia Olewale (South Fly Open), Mangobing Kakun (Munya
Open), James Meanggarum (Bogia Open), Paliau Maloat (Manus Open),
Tony Voutas (Morobe Regional), Cecil Abel (Milne Bay Regional), and
Michael Kaniniba (Huon Gulf Open), who at one point denied in the House
that he was (yet?) a party member at all. 51 Guise's elevation to the
speakership, and Siwi Kurondo's acceptance of ministerial office seemed
effectively to cut them off from the remainder of the party.
The Pangu members opened firmly, with an attempted demonstration of
unity and coordination, in which Somare, Lapun, Voutas and Abel
successively outlined the party's policies towards the new ministerial
system, local and self-government, home rule, and economic development
respectively. Somare announced, firstly, that no member of the party would
accept ministerial office (although Lapun was a member of the Ministerial
Nominations Committee). The party wanted to avoid any conflict between
party membership and a ministerial member's loyalty to the Administrator's
Executive Council. It sought to become, in effect, the House's "loyal
opposition". Thirdly, Pangu did not want to jeopardise its commitment to
its policies through loss of some of its members' votes to the Administration.
The party, therefore, committed itself to the fostering of a two-party system
in Papua and New Guinea. Somare concluded his outline of party policy
with an attack upon the appointment of so many kiaps to the House, as well
as the alleged concentration of these men's experience in the Highlands. In
Somare's view, the new official members had been appointed purposely "to
herd and shepherd the unsophisticated members ofthis House, thus exerting
a subtle form of direct rule ... [in order to encourage] controversial support
for the Administration ... from less sophisticated members. It would have
been better if other people, with special knowledge in certain fields had been
appointed to the house rather than the kiaps. " 52
The range of responses to Pangu's presence, cohesion and statements
of policy in the House was fairly wide. Several Highlands members
expressed their very real interest in discovering what parties were, and
specifically what Pangu stood for, although several of them added that they
feared the development of parties at this stage. Jim McKinnon, the leader
of the All Peoples' party, later sought to capitalise upon these fears (and
perhaps to take over the elected members' group that was formed during
the meeting), when he announced that Dennis Buchanan and himself, the
party's only announced legislative members, would henceforth call
themselves the "All Peoples' group", as "the majority of the people have
not the slightest idea of politics or party systems, and consequently have
little trust in parties". 53 The All Peoples' group (which one commentator
said had been renamed by some the "One Person's Party") 54 also announced
that its members would accept ministerial positions, if nominated - seven
hours after the list of potential office-holders had been accepted by the
House. At the other end of the political spectrum, Oala Oala-Rarua (a former


Edward P. Wolfers

co-chairman of Pangu, who had left the party after a dispute over his
prediction that independence could come by 1970) attacked Pangu, from
his own standpoint as "a straight out nationalist" for not allowing its
members to gain experience in the ministerial system it had advocated. 55
N.I. Uroe, from a more conservative position than Oala-Rarua, later added
that it was not just Pangu's prerogative, but "the role of all elected members
to act as the Loyal Opposition of this government" .56
Officialdom was clearly disconcerted, if not surprised, at Somare's
vehement attack upon the kiaps. L.W. Johnson, Assistant Administrator
(Services), rose very soon after Somare had spoken to point out that the
Administration had not wanted to appoint official members from within
departments which had ministerial representation in the House, as the
government wanted the ministerial members to have complete, unprumplt:u
responsibility for their departments in the House. The four new nominees
had, therefore, been "entirely on the basis of the personal qualities of the
individual man chosen for the job ... ".57 Curious, then, that these individual
official members (i.e., they are not representatives of their department) have
"District Commissioner" or "District Inspector" printed in brackets after
their names in Hansard each time they speak, in exactly the same position
as other members' constituencies or official titles are recorded. H.P. Seale
(District Commissioner (DC) at Lae, whose real role is probably that of
counterweight to Voutas among the seven Morobe Open members) then
explained that he had spent only eight of his thirty-four years in the Territory
in the Highlands, 58 while S.M. Foley later calculated that between the four
of them, they had spent only twenty-five of their one hundred territory years
in that area. Anyway, he insisted, he was not ashamed of being a kiap or a
government man. The kiaps' role in the House was "not an attempt to stand
between the member and the Government", but "both inside and outside the
House, to tell the people, what the Government is doing, and why it is doing
it". If Somare had meant by "simple" that the Highlanders were
unintelligent, then he should look again at the complexity of their traditional
culture, and agricultural system, and - an obvious appeal to Highlands
chauvinism - at the way their districts had been developed since contact
"in a manner unparalleled in this country". 59 Clearly, the official members
knew from experience (Foley, as DC for Chimbu, and then Ellis' successor
in the Western Highlands; Seale as former DC for the Eastern Highlands;
and Littler as District Inspector at Mount Hagen) just what makes the
Highlands tick.
A little later in the meeting, Neville (himself a former kiap, and from
an area where most of the members repeatedly ask for more, and more
regular, patrols) asked T.W. Ellis, Director of District Administration, a
question which enabled the latter to speak in detail and at length on the need
for more patrol officers to be recruited, and for those who are trained to be
retained. 60
The most important reaction to Pangu's presence and activities in the
House, however, came from about fifty of the uncommitted (i.e. non-Pangu,
non-official) members of the House who began to meet together as a group

May-August 1968


towards the end of the meeting. The group, variously labelled a "'power'
group" 61 or just an elected or independent members' group by the press, bore
a close resemblance to the elected members' group that emerged early in
the life of the first House. Although the group lacks any announced formal
organisation, its leaders are alleged to be expatriates, especially Casey and
Watts. 62 The reasons various members gave for their adherence to the group
varied widely: in some cases, simple resentment at the coherence and lucid
certainty of several Pangu members may have been the cause; in other cases,
it was a desire to frustrate, and put Pangu in its place (as evidenced in those
divisions where the official members supported a Pangu motion on its merits,
against the resolute opposition of nearly every other member); at least one
conservative expatriate supported the group because he feared that a few of
the other members would "join anyone who looks like becoming the strength
... "and he wanted to show that it was not Pangu. 63 In short, the group was
designed to give the vast majority of members a sense of belonging, as well
as to make sure that Pangu had an effective and organised opposition in the
House, apart from the Administration (on some issues).
To date, the elected members' group has displayed "almost party-like
coherence" 64 in the House, despite the absence of any real common interest
(except perhaps a desire to belong, and a fear ofPangu) among its members.
As early as its third meeting, however, an argument allegedly occurred, and
one European member is reported to have walked out in a huff. 65 The group's
apparent leadership by expatriates, its lack of a declared platform or even a
firm policy, and its informal methods of meeting and organisation, have
already given rise to widespread speculation as to its durability. The general
verdict of the press seems to be that the group will either go the way of the
caucus Guise once led (from 1964 until mid-1966), or eventually become,
as some of its members seem to hope, a party-like organisation in its own
The rest of the first meeting tended to centre around two themes: the
experience, and lessons, of the last election; and the need to tidy up the
unfinished business of the first House (including a, perhaps unplanned,
reassertion of official control over the legislature).
Most speeches were concerned with relatively parochial matters
although some acknowledgement was also made of the country's brittle
unity, as displayed in the Papuans-versus-New Guineans' brawling in Port
Moresby which coincided with the meeting. In many cases, parochialism was
but the result of a member's analysis of why he had won, or a rival,
especially an incumbent, had lost. The members' experience with the
realities of electoral success, and loss, ensured widespread support for
Ashton's move to set up a select committee to investigate the possibility of
setting up a superannuation scheme for members. Somare's motion to set up
a commission of inquiry into the electoral system failed, however, initially
because of the mover's specification of what aspects of the system should be
investigated, and his advocacy of specific changes. Even when the original
wording of the motion, which almost presupposed the results of the
investigation, was changed to a more general form, which received official


Edward P. Wolfers

support, it was defeated. In large part, the debate simply provided the first
occasion for the uncommitted members' group to put Pangu down, although
it was also probably just not rational to expect the members to support a
move to change the system which had so recently allowed them to gain
election to the House. Voutas' motion for a select committee to examine
legislative procedures had to be amended too, for the same reasons as
Somare's motion, in order to gain official support. Although it was then
adjourned until the next meeting, it seemed likely to succeed, just because
it seemed less threatening, and very relevant, to most of the members.
Several bills, e.g. the National Fitness, and Gaming (Playing Cards)
Bills, were passed without debate, for they only tidied up some technical
shortcomings in their predecessors. Nonetheless, a lot of tidying up from
the first House still remains to be done- thirty-three of its ordinances had
still not come into force by June (plus part of one already in force, two about
which there were technical doubts, and two to which assent had been
refused) - an interesting set of indications of the care and urgency with
which officialdom prepares and considers legislation. 66 The Administration's
carelessness was further displayed in the way in which one bill was moved
and passed, without copies having been distributed to the members,67 and
one official member promised to answer a question on another bill after it
was passed. 68 Finally, the session provided an occasion for the (re-)assertion
of the government's power- one bill was refused assent/9 and another was
returned by the Governor-General for amendment. 70 In the latter case,
Voutas was at least promised that a committee would be established to
consider the principle of equal pay for equal work by men and women,
although his request that he be included on the committee was not
subsequently granted.
Other debates which aroused controversy concerned an announced
shortfall of $4 million in the Territory's internal revenue in 1967-8; the
question of an alleged decline in the discipline of the police force, especially
in the Sepik; and the desirability of sending a parliamentary mission abroad
to investigate the use to which long-term overseas volunteers were put
elsewhere in the Pacific (the motion was defeated because of the mission's
likely cost, rather than on the desirability of having volunteers). Legislation
was also passed to set up a four-man (including two indigenes, the
Administration promised) public service board; and legislation enabling the
negotiation of a $US 7,000,000 loan from the World Bank to improve the
Territory's telecommunications systems was quickly passed. The
Administration's Industrial Relations Bill 1968 was also passed, despite
some members' objection that the requirement that the parties concerned
report a threatened strike or lockout to the Labour Department could lead
to prosecutions in those cases where the threat was not perceived as being
real until too late. J.J. Garrett's amendment to require the report only if a
strike or lockout actually took place was defeated by thirty-one votes to fiftyfive. Throughout the meeting, the newly-elected ministerial and assistant
ministerial members still freely criticised, and even voted against, the

May-August 1968


The new ministerial members are: Angmai Bilas (Trade and Industry);
O.I. Ashton (Public Works); Matthias Toliman (Education); Sinake Giregire
(Posts and Telegraphs); Tei Abal (Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries); Tore
Lokoloko (Health); Toua Kapena (Labour). The assistant ministerial
members are: Andagari Wabiria (Lands, Surveys and Mines); Joseph Lue
(Technical Education and Training); Kaibelt Diria (Local Government);
Lepani Watson (Cooperatives); Meek Singiliong (Rural Development); Oala
Oala-Rarua (Treasury); Paul Langro (Information and Extension Services);
Siwi Kurondo (Forests). Tom Leahy was nominated by the Administrator
as the non-ministerial, elected member of his Executive Council. Toua
Kapena, Paul Langro and Kaibelt Diria resigned from the Ministerial
Nominations Committee after Lapun, Neville and they themselves agreed
that they be nominated for office.
The Administrator seemed content with the appointments, despite the lack
of knowledge of English in seven cases, and the putative illiteracy of three,
although he was thought to have been unhappy with the inclusion of an
expatriate in the list of nominees. 71 Although the Administrator publicly
denied that there had been any major points of disagreement between the
Ministerial Nominations Committee and himself, he was reported as
regarding the ministerial positions as being mainly for training purposes,
and therefore not designed for expatriates. He was content to go slowly at
first, and claimed that their selection had not been over-ridingly based on
the need for geographical representation, but that their capacity (not literacy)
and age had been taken into account too. 72 The Administration tabled a code
of conduct for the new office-holders in the House immediately they had
been appointed, and the first "cabinet" meeting was held on 17 June.
There was some surprise among the press that Oala-Rarua had not made
full ministerial rank, and that Lepani Watson (alone of the four former undersecretaries who sought re-appointment) had not been "promoted" either;
indeed, he was now the assistant ministerial member for only a section of
the department for which he had once been the under-secretary. 73 In its usual
charming and tactful way, the South Pacific Post welcomed the new
ministerial members with a front-page comment from a Melbourne
journalist, who lamented the inability of some of them to read of the
activities of what the author amusingly called "the great advanced races".
"Boys", he concluded, choosing his words carefully, "if you want to keep
your illusions (and perhaps ours, too) you'd better stay illiterate". 74
The production by the Department of Information and Extension Services
of a roneoed weekly summary of the House's activities, This Week in the
House of Assembly, unfortunately only in English, and the Treasurer's
promise of a special budget seminar for members at the next meeting,
provided further evidence of the government's desire for the second House
to "work" internally, and "come across" at the popular level. Early in August,
the ministerial and assistant ministerial members also spent two days
practising the handling of government business in the House of Assembly
in preparation for the House's second meeting.


Edward P. Wolfers

The Second Meeting of the Second House of Assembly

The annual budget meeting of the House is always something of a
"talk-fest" .1 The very format of the debate on the annual appropriation
bill invites maximum participation from the full range of legislators in
that its provisions concern all of their electorates directly, and the
debate itself is, traditionally, relatively free-flowing (i.e., the members are
allowed to speak on almost any aspect of government policy they choose,
and at any level, from the purely parochial to that concerned solely with
matters of principle). The provision of a simplified summary of the
budget (replete with pictures of money-bags, drawn to scale) in Pidgin,
made participation easier for many members, as did the one-day
adjournment between the budget's presentation in the House and the debate,
when the official members "explained" the budget's provisions to the
members. The debate was even further stretched by the introduction of an
elementary form of ministerial responsibility that involved all but one of
the ministerial and assistant ministerial members in reporting formally to
the House on their respective departments' activities over the preceding year.
The Speakers' list- a device that only really works for the budget debatewas full: in all, only one assistant ministerial member, the four official
members who are kiaps, and five each of the expatriate and indigenous
elected members (and, of course, the Speaker) failed to take part in
the debate. The budget meeting as a whole was, in fact, a record: it
lasted through a total of thirteen sitting days plus the "day off' mentioned
Total budgetary expenditure for 1968-9 is expected to be
$152,860,000, a rise of 14.5 per cent over the 1967-8 figure. The Australian
grant is $87 million, itself an increase of 12.1 per cent over the previous
year, while the Commonwealth government will contribute a further
$295,000 to meet the cost of pensions for officers of the two pre-war
administrations, and spend another $23 million (a drop of $21 million
from 1967-8) directly in the Territory on behalf of Commonwealth
departments (e.g. the army). Administration expenditure in 1968-9
(with the 1967-8 figures included for comparison) will take the following


September-December 1968
1968-92 1967-8
per cent
of total
Commodity producing
Economic overheads'
Social services'
General administration,
law and order'

Grand total (including other

public works, misc.
and transfer items)'

per cent
of total













The budget itself was, in the Treasurer's (A.P.J. Newman) words, just
"more of the same thing as last year". 8 It was, however, perhaps a rather
more significant document in the long-term in that it represented the first
instalment ofthe Administration's five year economic development plan for
the Territory which was introduced later in the meeting. Indeed, the budget's
overall emphasis accorded closely with the plan: "to expend an increasing
proportion of our resources on the economic sector [basically on economic
overheads rather than in the commodity producing sector], with a decreasing
proportion on the social services and other sectors of the budget" .9 Similarly,
the budget's revenue-raising provisions accorded with the plan's, in that they
sought to increase internal receipts as much as practicable, and to attract
increasing Commonwealth grants, within an "overall trend ... towards
increasing internal and decreasing grant proportions of the total" .10 Thus
forty-three per cent of the Territory's receipts will be raised from internal
sources in 1968-9, while fifty-seven per cent represent the grant's percentage
contribution to revenue (as against figures of forty-two per cent and fiftyeight per cent respectively in 1967-8).
On the administrative front, the Treasurer promised that the
recruitment of public servants from overseas would henceforth be permitted
"only ... in those categories of employment for which there are insufficient
trained local officers" . 11 In practice, this would mean the cessation of
overseas recruitment of base-grade clerks (although replacements for
existing positions might still be sought overseas), and the recruitment of
training officers for all departments that still lacked them. In addition, a
special section would be established within the Public Service
Commissioner's Department to speed up the localisation of the Administration
Otherwise, the budget provided increases of 9.8 per cent and 8.9 per cent
respectively in the allocations for the Departments of Public Health and District
Administration, much of which will be absorbed in increased salaries


Edward P. Wolfers

and allowances, while the education grant rose by a modest $1,479,000. The
departments of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries, and Lands, Surveys and
Mines seemed to do best, with a rise of 20.8 per cent in the former's
allocation, mainly for salaries, and livestock subsidies, etc., and of 16.7 per
cent in the latter's, mainly for land purchases. As the Administration grows,
of course, so less and less becomes available for purely developmental
purposes each year, and more- $11,875,000 this year (a rise of 12.2 per
cent) is absorbed by general maintenance costs. The works programme
accordingly rose by only 5.8 per cent to $23.8 million, although this figure
does not include a further $6.1 million to be spent on capital works during
the year by the Electricity and Housing Commissions, the Ports and
Harbours Board, the University of Papua and New Guinea and the University
of Technology. Grants to these "Other Institutions" as they are called (i.e.,
the five institutions mentioned above plus the Development Bank) rose, in
all, by 36.1 per cent for 1968-9, without taking into account a special
promise by the Commonwealth government "to consider increasing the grant
to the Administration [by an unspecified amount], if the need of the
[Development] Bank for funds seems likely to exceed its resources and the
Government considers it necessary to assist the Administration to make an
additional contribution towards the Bank's capital"Y
Revenue-raising procedures differed only marginally from those that
pertained through 1967-8. The Administration believes that "development
is not just a matter for the Government", 13 and that the tax burden on private
and company incomes should, therefore, remain substantially lower than
in Australia. Nonetheless, the Territory's income tax was raised slightly by
the budget, the increases ranging from 1.1 per cent at the lower income levels
to 12.5 per cent at the top (average: 7.42 per cent). Overall, the tax rise will
yield a further $1 million during the financial year, offset as it is by
additional concessional deductions for superannuation_and life assurance
payments, and by a rise in the concessional deduction for a taxpayer's
children's educational expenses. The Territory's loan target for 1968-9 was
raised by $2 million to $10 million (as against the actual figure of $8.4
million achieved in 1967-8).
The budget debate tended to focus on parochial matters rather than
principles. Most of the members seemed, at least implicitly, to agree with
Neville, who opened the debate, that "the passage of this bill (which we
believe was largely prepared in Canberra, presumably by people who are not
conversant with the requirements of this Territory) is a fait accompli, and
that we are not really in any position whatsoever to make changes" . 14
Nevertheless, of course, a long series of minor, usually parochially-inspired
changes, were proposed. Voutas pressed on with Neville's allegation of
Canberra control by suggesting that the original budget approved by the
Administrator's Executive Council had been significantly changed at the last
minute by George Warwick Smith, Secretary ofthe Department of External
Territories. 15 Smith himself did not reply to Voutas until after the budget
had been passed, when he denied the suggestion, 16 while Ellis testified
immediately on his behalf that both the ministerial and assistant ministerial

September-December 1968


members "have had a large hand, since they took up duty, in the compilation
of the budget" .17 Several of the ministerial and assistant ministerial members,
however, commented themselves on just how great a hand they felt they had
had. Their attitudes ranged from an answer to another member's question
by the Ministerial Member for Public Works (0.1. Ashton) that he had "had
no part in the Works Programme", 18 to an entertaining plea by Siwi Kurondo
that his Department of Forests be allocated more money. 19 Paul Langro was
nQt alone among the ministerial office-holders in pressing the demands of
his electorate against the present budget, 20 while Lepani Watson (Assistant
Ministerial Member for Cooperatives) made known his views on "his"
budget at the beginning of his speech:
Before I deal with the budget on behalf of my Department, I would like to
thank the Australian taxpayers for their contribution. My thanks come on
behalf of the Territory as a whole. My electors have not told me to express
their thanks because they do not seem to have received anything. 21
Most of the budget debate consisted of what the Pacific Islands Monthly
called "the usual run of 'I want speeches'", 22 climaxing in Koriam Urekit's
request for five fish freezers, a road, patrol and agricultural officers, a doctor,
a high school and a land demarcation committee for his electorate.23 On a
more general level, Neville was grateful for the Australian grant, but
concerned that the public service structure in the Territory might be
"somewhat too elaborate for us to sustain" .24 His only misgivings concerned
the public service's alleged inefficiency, and the effects of increasing
taxation on overseas investment. Michael Somare, who led for the Pangu
pati, congratulated the Treasurer for what he had managed to do within "the
limitations imposed by the Australian Government". He was, however,
critical of those limitations. In Somare's view, a true picture of Australian
spending in Papua and New Guinea could be obtained only by adding the
grant, direct Commonwealth departmental expenditure, and money spent
on "commercial activities" (e.g. the Australian Broadcasting Commission
and Trans-Australia Airlines) together. Then, total spending for 1968-9 could
be seen to have risen only slightly from the 1967-8 figure, by $1,400,000
to $119 million, and not by $10 million (the rise in the grant). Somare then
queried just why the Australian government is "levelling off its expenditure
in the Territory and not increasing it". "This Territory", he believed, "can
absorb a much larger grant - even double the present grant - without too
much pressure or wastage ofresources". 25 As the Pacific Islands Monthly's
local correspondent concluded: the Treasurer must have "listened happily
while Ron Neville and ... Michael Somare made, from opposite points of
view, criticisms which neatly cancelled each other out". 26
Other economic matters to come before the House at this meeting were
the five-year economic development programme, 27 which was tabled for
discussion at the following meeting of the House (see below), the
development capital guarantee declaration, which had been passed by the
first House of Assembly and was re-passed now without debate, and a
motion for a select committee to investigate "methods of increasing


Edward P. Wolfers

participation by indigenes in economic development through increased

share-holdings in Territory companies ... ". 28 Due to the costs involved in
setting up yet another House committee, the motion was finally amended
to become a request for an Administration investigation of the same problem,
but still involving a report back to the House. Meanggarum's request seemed
to gain in relevance after its passage, when criticisms were voiced in some
quarters of the apparent bias towards expatriate investment under the fiveyear plan, 29 and when for the first time, a Territory firm advertised a share
flotation, with a seventy-five per cent local holding, in Pidgin. Unfortunately,
only about three per cent of the total number of shares, however, seem to
be owned by indigenes. 30
The Public Service Arbitrator's decision of May 1967 in what was known
as "the local officers' pay case" did not end the Administration's difficulties
over its September 1964 decision to lower the rates of pay for indigenous
public servants to accord with the Territory's putative "capacity to pay".
Rather, it ushered in a new phase in which many local officers attempted to
press their claims politically rather than through arbitration. Percy
Chatterton's (MHA Moresby) Public Service Salaries Commission of
Inquiry Bill1968, which he prepared with the help and support of the Public
Service Association, 31 was but one of several manifestations of this change
in tactics. The aim of the bill was simple: in the absence of an established
system of appeals from arbitration, and in view of the Arbitrator's refusal
in November 1967 to refer his decision for review by a three-man tribunal,
Chatterton sought the appointment of a commission of inquiry into the rates
of pay for indigenous public servants. The bill proposed that the commission
report to the Minister for External Territories, who could accept or reject
its report. As the bill left the Territory's normal arbitration procedures
otherwise intact, it did not, in Chatterton's view, conflict at all with Lussick's
bill (see below).
The government chose to regard Chatterton's bill "as a direct attack on
the arbitration system ... : A small sector of the Territory's work force which
in the past has used arbitration extensively has now mounted a highlyorganised attack on the whole arbitration system ... because in one case the
Arbitrator has not given them all they have asked for." 32 A number of the
elected members, particularly the indigenes among rhem, were clearly
unhappy with the confrontation over the bill - generally because they
sympathised with the local officers' claims for a higher set of pay scales,
or at least did not want to be publicly aligned against them for political
reasons. As the Ministerial Member for Labour (Toua Kapena) put it: "In
opposing the bill I want to make it very clear that my opposition is in no
way directed towards a judgment or opinion on the adequacy or inadequacy
of local officers' salaries". 33 This sort of position enabled many members
to oppose Chatterton and Pangu without alienating the local officers among
their constituents. Oala Oala-Rarua (the Assistant Ministerial Member for
the Treasury) was, however, nicely caught: as an ex-public servant he could
not oppose a bill which could help to improve conditions for local public
servants, while "because of ... [his] background"- including his ministerial

September-December 1968


position? - he could not support it. Instead, he accused the Public Service
Association of lying to local officers that the arbitration case would
automatically lead to rises in pay, a claim which the Association vigorously
denied, and he blamed the Administration for failing to consult local opinion
before altering the public service's salary structure in the first place. 34 In
the end, both Toua Kapena and Oala-Rarua abstained from voting on the
measure by walking from the chamber when a division was called, together
with three other Assistant Ministerial Members, Meek Singiliong, Lepani
Watson and Paul Langro, all of whom either supported the bill privately, or
just did not wish to be constrained into opposing it for the sake of preserving
the solidarity of the ministry. Although the Administration still won the vote
against the bill, by fifty-three votes to twenty-five, the abstention of five
members of the ministry presented a serious constitutional problem for the
government in that the ministry's collective responsibility to the House had
been openly breached. The whole matter was, therefore, referred to Canberra
for advice, although no action was ever publicly taken against any of the
five abstainers. 35 Curiously, however, in view of the publicity that surrounded
their action on this occasion, very little comment was ever made, at least
publicly, about an. earlier, more blatant breach of the ministry's solidarity
when three of the ministerial members, Ashton, Oala-Rarua and Paul
Langro, together with T.J. Leahy, a non-ministerial member of the
Administrator's Executive Council, had openly voted against the
government without reproof, albeit on a procedural aspect of a
comparatively minor, and unanimously approved, Lands Bill. 36 The
substantive issues raised by Chatterton's bill did not rest with its defeat
either, for shortly thereafter W.A. Lussick (MHA Manus and New Ireland
Regional) introduced the Public Service Arbitration Commission Bill 1968
which sought to establish a regular system of appeals from arbitration within
the public service rather than to canvass the merits of a particular decision.
The South Pacific.Post thought that Lussick's bill might well receive the
Administration's support at the next meeting of the House as a compromise
between the need for an orderly arbitration system and the political
desirability of reviewing the decision in the local officers' caseY
The debate on the Land Titles Commission (Jurisdiction and Appeals)
Bill1968 led to a rather similar confrontation to that which had taken place
on Chatterton's bill. Indeed, some members seemed to construe the two bills
in rather similar terms, despite the Administration's insistence that they were
not at all comparable. The bill proposed four important changes: (a) an
increase in the number of commissioners who would hear applications for
the restoration of land titles lost during the war, and also in land disputes
involving indigenes and non-indigenes, from one to three -land disputes
between indigenes would continue to be heard by a single commissioner; (b) a
widening of the present grounds of appeal to the Supreme Court to include
matters of fact as well as points oflaw; (c) the Supreme Court's powers to
adjourn, accept or reject appeals, and to return cases to the Commission were
clarified; (d) the power to appoint deputy land titles commissioners was
vested in the Administrator-in-Council. The debate on the bill became rather


Edward P. Wolfers

bitter. On the one hand, Chatterton construed it as an attempt to change "the

rules of the ... game ... during a particular match". 38 In his view, it did not
"merely enlarge ... the grounds of appeal to the advantage of appellants"
generaily, as the Administration claimed, 39 but was specifically intended to
enable the Administration to introduce new evidence into its pending appeal
against the Commission's decision in "the Newtown case" (in which a
relatively large, and well-developed area of Port Moresby had been returned
by the Commission to its original indigenous owners). Chatterton and Voutas
did not argue against the principles of the bill, but against application of
the amended legislation appeals provisions to cases in which legal action
had already been recommenced. Chatterton's unease, however, was not
confined to the bill itself. Why, he asked, had members not been provided
with a Pidgin translation of the bill's explanatory notes, as was usually the
case? Further, he commented, he was concerned to hear that an amendment
he had circulated to members only, on the previous day, had been commented
on that morning by the Administrator. "This is a lesson to me", he concluded,
"never again will I circulate an amendment before it comes up". 40 The bill
finally passed the House quite easily, but only after a division on a
procedural matter that split the Pangu pati six to three.
Other important matters that came before the House included a proposal
to establish a select committee to report on "all aspects of the position and
future of permanent overseas officers of the public service, including the
desirability and practicability of inducting some or all of them into the
Commonwealth public service so that they could continue to work in the
Territory Public Service on some form of secondment" ,41 which was
approved; a ministerial statement advising that the Education Department
was seriously considering the creation of a national system of education
which would include mission schools; and proposals, which the House
approved, to establish two more select committees - O!le to report "on all
aspects of parliamentary procedures ... whether within the Chamber or
outside it, so that the elected members will be able to have a greater
understanding of the work of the House and to take a greater part in it", 42
and one to investigate the need for a new and permanent House of Assembly
building. Three new deputy chairmen of committees were appointed to
replace those raised to the ministry: John Poe, Julius Chan and Traimya
Kambipi. The permanent staff of the House also achieved some prominence
when Ron Neville attacked the standard of interpretation provided for nonparty members in the House as unfair. Neville's criticism of the interpreters
was supported by Paulus Arek (MHA Ijivitari) who then went on to point
out that some of the European elected members tended in his view to
"dominate ... [and] suppress the wishes of we native elected members". 43
Clearly, some of the elected members' group were resentful not only of
Pangu's organisation in the House, but at the behaviour of their expatriate
leaders. Paul Lapun (MHA South Bougainville) denied that any of the
interpreters were actually members of Pangu, and attributed the good
translations Pangu received to the way its members spoke in the House and
to their preparation of speeches. 44 The matter closed with a stern reprimand

September-December 1968


for Neville by the Speaker for making his charges through other than the
proper channels. 45 A final incident provided a valuable insight into the
problems Pangu faces in the House when Pita Lus (MHA Maprik) succeeded
in having his bill to change motor traffic signs from English words to
symbols approved by the House, against the opposition of the official
members. Koitaga Mano (MHA Kandep-Tambul) seemed to capture the
ambivalence many members feel towards Pangu when he spoke approvingly
of Lus' bill and of Somare's knowledge of the Administration: "I like this
bill of Mr Pita Lus", he concluded "but because some of the speeches from
Pangu members have made me ashamed, I cannot support it" .46

The Australian government has always regarded the fostering of a sense of

nationhood among Papuans and New Guineans as a prime policy-objective,
and as a prerequisite for self-determination. Put another way, the absence
of a sense of nationhood in the Territory has often been employed to explain
why Australia is reluctant to push the pace of constitutional development
more rapidly than i.t does. Australia's viewpoint in this regard can probably
best be summarised in Barnes' quotation from Professor Derham: "At the
present time, to speak of self-government is unreal. There is no self to govern
or to be governed."'7
Unfortunately, however, the government has generally conceptualised the
nation-building process as a simple and gradual expansion ofthe indigenes'
group-identities from the village, perhaps through a council area, to the
nation. Although the Administration and some settler groups have sometimes
been accused of short-sightedness in fostering (or exploiting) a sense of
regionalism among the Highlands members in the House of Assembly, there
has never been any explicit recognition by the Administration of the
possibility that various regionalist identities could crystallise out on the way
from village-oriented parochialism to nationalism. These regionalisms
would represent some advance from tradition, but could well prove quite
dysfunctional to the growth of nationalism. Thus, the events and publicity
surrounding the Bougainville and New Guinea islands' secession movements
during the latter months of 1968 are important, if not because of their present
support and power, then almost certainly as portents of the future, and as a
new and previously unconsidered set of challenges to Administration policy.
In recent years, considerable resentment at the Australian government
has been building up in Bougainville, partly at the general rate of
development in the area, and, perhaps most forcefully, over Conzinc Rio
Tinto's copper exploration and potential mining activities in southern
Bougainville. Even before CRA's arrival, however, many Bougainville
Islanders had become quite conscious of (a) the difference of their skincolour from that of most other Papuans and New Guineans, and (b) its
similarity to that of the people of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate
(BSIP). Together, the local people's resentments at Australian policy as well
as their emerging sense of identity as Bougainville people, explain the


Edward P. Wolfers

issuing in September of a set of demands about the island's future by a group

of twenty-five Bougainvilleans, comprising the island's two open electorate
members, several university students (who are members of the "Solomon
Islands Society" at the University of Papua and New Guinea) and other urban
workers in Port Moresby. Their sense of frustration at the political status
quo was clear, but their ultimate objective - whether to remain in the
Territory, perhaps in some special relationship with the centre, to establish
an independent country in Bougainville, or to join the BSIP - was not
specified. They simply wanted a popular referendum in Bougainville by
1970 to decide the issue, and asked their members of the House of Assembly
to legislate for the move in Parliament.48
Most press comment on the move expressed little surprise, except at
its timing, which one newspaper attributed to the presence of two BSIP
legislators m Port Moresby at the time 49 - a claim which one of the
document's signatories subsequently denied. The generalised frustrations
of the Bougainville people were aired in a debate at the University of Papua
and New Guinea, at which it was denied that the island's new-found source
of wealth, its copper deposits, had stimulated the move. 5 Reactions to the
move varied from one commentator's statement that it had no discernible
support in the BSIP at least,S 1 to the South Pacific Post's concern that a
referendum with three alternatives to choose from would be hard to hold,
as a simple "yes-or-no" vote would not suffice. 52 Many people clearly feared
that any concessions to the Bougainville demand would encourage other
groups to try the same tactic or at least to threaten secession unless their
areas were more rapidly developed. Both the Teop-Tinputz local government
council and a majority of the delegates to the Bougainville district combined
councils' conference, however, opposed any move to secede from the
Territory. 51 It became increasingly clear, in fact, that some of the original
signatories of the referendum request were more concern.ed to express their
frustration at the status quo, perhaps just wanted to be consulted about the
future, than with secessionism as such. Paul Lapun, for example, saw no
real conflict in moving a bill in the House of Assembly for a single name,
"Niugini", for the Territory, while simultaneously supporting the referendum
demand for his constituents, although the ambiguity of his position was too
much for James Meanggarum (MHA Bogia), who "seceded" from Pangu
because of its ambivalence in the matter. 54 Later on, Paul Lapun and
Donatus Mola began to outline a proposal that Bougainville be given
statehood within the Territory as a way out of the dilemma. 55 Bougainville
Islanders held meetings in Rabaul and Port Moresby (at the home of Joseph
Lue, the only one of their members who had not been present at the first
meeting) to discuss their future, and a group of thirteen university students
promised to explain the issue to the people at home during the vacation. 56
Towards the end of the year, what the South Pacific Post took to be disunity
among the secessionists was, in fact, an emerging consensus: they were
frustrated with the present status quo, and, with few exceptions, coming to
rest upon a compromise that statehood or some special status for the island,
possibly within the Territory, was probably the answer. 57

September-December 1968


The next secessionist movement to emerge was better-organised and

probably more widely supported than its Bougainville predecessor. The
Melanesian Independence Front (MIF) was formed as a political party in
Rabaul in mid-October. It proposed that all four of the New Guinea islands
Districts (Manus, New Ireland, New Britain and Bougainville) should secede
together, to form a single country, "Melanesia", with Rabaul as the national
capital. The party's chairman is Vin ToBaining, a former co-chairman of
the Pangu pati.
The MIF was clearly quite well-organised, and was generally taken very
seriously by the press as well as the Administration. After some rumours of
"a modified Rhodesia style organisation - with a 'black front'" ,58 and
considerable speculation as to its European backers, as well as a certain
amount of secrecy among its leaders about the party's policies and
membership, two of its founders finally stepped forward to explain its
policies, S.G. Simpson, a Rabaul businessman, and Melchior Tomot, the
party's joint secretary. So seriously was the MIF taken that on the very day
that its formation was announced, the Administrator's Executive Council
issued a strong plea for national unity if the Territory were to develop. 59 The
local press condemned "copra federations or even copra republics" 60 in the
islands, while sections of the Australian press urged the Commonwealth
government to condemn secessionism firmly and soon. 61 Finally, in midNovember, Barnes appeared to recognise the significance ofthe secessionist
moves with a statement in which he reaffirmed Australia's commitment to
the fostering of a sense of unity in the Territory, and a declaration that the
indigenous people's cooperation "is a condition of the heavy Australian
backing" for the Territory's development programmes. 62
The party has expanded quickly, although its activities to date have been
confined largely to the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain. By the end ofthe
year, it had drawn up its constitution, set up at least five branches in the
Rabaul area, and had possibly 1,000 members, including another former
Pangu official, Thomas ToBunbun, as one of its branch presidents. Although
the party still lacks any public adherents in the House, indeed some of the
Tolai members expressed surprise at its formation, several of them seem
ambivalent: they are publicly committed to a policy of national unity, but
the ambivalence of at least one of their number was rather finely captured
in his statement that the local people should not be blamed for the growth
of secessionist sentiment in the islands. It is, he feels, a natural consequence
of the Administration's neglect of the Tolai and Bougainville areas. 63
Other reactions to these moves have ranged from a public condemnation
by three Anglican bishops, and a vote against supporting the secessionists
by the Kavieng Club in Lae, to a pessimistic acceptance of fragmentation
after independence by the New Guinea Highlands Bulletin. "The proper
course", the Bulletin's editor commented, "would be for Australia to remain
until real unification by generations of inter-marriage is complete.
Otherwise, a decentralised form of government would seem to be the only
short-term hope." 64
Two new political parties were formed in late November to oppose the


Edward P. Wolfers

MIF. Both were led by failed candidates at the 1968 elections, the United
Islands Progress Society, at Kavieng, by a Chinese commercial artist, Perry
Kwan, and the United Niugini party, among villagers in the Paparatava area
near Rabaul, by a Tolai school teacher, Stanis Boramilat ToLiman. Both of
them are dedicated to the encouragement of a sense of national unity in the
Territory, and have small, highly localised memberships. They bear a close
resemblance to the "dwarf parties"65 with national aspirations, but localised,
ethnically-based support, that can be found in many parts of Africa and
India. 66
At least three of the six parties formed during 1967 continue to function
-the United Democratic party, the National Progress party (Napro) and
Pangu, while the MIF is reported to have emerged from among some
elements of the now-defunct Agricultural Reform party. 67 Late in September,
Pangu announced a new list uf uu:mbers of its interim central executive:
Keni Pythias, Cromwell Burau, Barry Holloway, Gerai Asiba, John
Yocklunn, J. Lee and Epel Tito, four of whom were unsuccessful candidates
at the 1968 general elections, while J.K. Nombri, Gavera Rea (also a failed
candidate) and Jacob Sabo constitute the membership of the new Bung of
co-chairmen. 68 Napro held its annual general meeting in November, and its
members re-elected one another to the executive: Bill Dihm (chairman), 0.
Dickson and Goodwill Tabua (deputy chairmen), Ephraim Karara (general
secretary), Sevese Morea (treasurer), Leo Saulep, and Mr and Mrs John
Jack. 69 In October, Pangu became involved in a minor controversy over an
allegation by Oala Oala-Rarua that one of its co-chairmen, Gavera Rea (who
had founded the Central District Waterside Workers' Association in July)
and Albert Maori Kiki, the party's secretary, were using trade unionism as
a "cover up ... to increase [Pangu's] mass support". Kiki and Rea thereupon
challenged Oala-Rarua, president of the Port Moresby Workers' Association,
to lodge an objection when the new Central District Building Workers'
Union, of which they are executives, sought official registration. There was
no public response from Oala-Rarua. 70

The Third Meeting of the Second House of Assembly

Probably the most important measure to come before the House during its
third meeting, at least in terms of its long-term implications for the
Territory's future, was the five-year economic development plan. It had
originally been adjourned to allow members time to examine it carefully,
but comparatively little public discussion took place on its provisions before
the House debate, which still contained several of the standard speeches of
concern with the document, accompanied by apologies that "unfortunately
I do not know what is written in this ... book dealing with the plan because
I do not read ... English"/ 1 or, evidently, Pidgin (for a Pidgin summary was
provided). The only important public criticisms of the plan had come from
the president of the Planters' Association of Papua, who feared the plan
would create "artificial prosperity ... for at least 25 years", 72 and from the
Public Service Association, which feared that a speech by the Administrator

September-December 1968


on the five-year plan, in which he advocated that wages should not be

allowed to rise above their present levels without a matching increase in
productivity, was an attempt to turn the Territory's Parliament into a "rubber
stamp" for the Administration. David Hay, the Public Service Association's
president, J.G. Smith felt, seemed to be trying "to pressure members ofthe
House of Assembly by telling [them] that if they listen to the people in their
electorates this will ruin the five-year development plan and cast doubts on
the economic future of the country". The plan seemed fundamentally
defective, he added, in its failure to take account of the people's wishes and
probable wage and price increases. 73 The Administrator, surprised by the
furore his speech had aroused, particularly in the Australian press, 74
explained a little later that his speech did not foreshadow wage-freezing
legislation, but had been meant to emphasise the need for greater
productivity. 75 When the House met in November, the Administration clearly
felt that many members were still uncertain as to the full meaning and
importance of the plan, and so the House was adjourned for a day (as for
the budget) so that the economic adviser and other Administration officials
could "explain" the plan to members.
It is impossible to outline the plan's provisions here, although its overall
nature can perhaps be clarified. It is not an economic development plan in
the narrow sense, but a complete projection of all Administration spending
(including social services, etc.) over the next five years, including the 19689 financial year. Overall, it envisages that the Administration will spend
about $1,000 million "in harmony with the objectives proposed by the 1963
World Bank Mission", increasing over the period of the plan from $155.7
million in 1968-9 to $235 million in 1972-3. "The basic aim is to develop
the Territory for self-determination and to ensure that when this stage has
been reached the Territory will, to the greatest extent feasible, be able to
stand on its own feet economically." 76
The plan's principal priorities are for the development of the tree crops
(other than coffee), timber, cattle and manufacturing industries. According
to F.C. Henderson (Assistant Administrator Economic Affairs) -but with
too little emphasis on the first part according to some of his critics - the
plan is designed so as to "call for greatly increased indigenous participation
at all levels of the economy and at the same time it relies upon a continuing
flow of expatriate capital, 'know-how', and manpower". 77 The only major
item in the Territory's future that was not covered by the five-year plan was
the Bougainville copper project, the future of which was still uncertain.
Opinion in the House of Assembly, as in the press, was generally
favourable to the plan, although R. Neville and J.J. Garrett were disturbed
lest the Commonwealth's pledge "to assist in ... the achievement of the
programme if the House of Assembly indicates it is prepared progressively
to increase the Territory's financial self-reliance by raising the level of
Territory revenue and loan receipts as much as practicable over the period
of the programme" 78 be construed as a pledge to raise taxes during the next
few years. They feared the effect that such a pledge, and the actions it
implied, would have on expatriate investment. As is usual on such occasions,


Edward P. Wolfers

several members pleaded for such special local causes as the Madang-Mount
Hagen road, which was not mentioned in the plan, as the Administration
had not yet received the report of the United Nations Development
Programme's transport survey team. The plan's profoundest critics were
familiar companions - Percy Chatterton and several members of Pangu,
many of whose arguments bore a close resemblance to those employed by
academic critics of the 1965 World Bank report.
Chatterton argued that rapid economic development would require a
considerable amount of overseas investment. He preferred a slower rate of
development with increased indigenous participation. He deemed it less
likely then that Papua and New Guinea would become what he termed a
"banana republic" after independence, manipulated by overseas interests.
Specifically, Chatterton wanted companies that give indigenes positions of
genuine responsibility to receive a special tax concession, and "something
like a Black New Guinea Policy" in those aspects of economic development
where Papuans and New Guineans can already, or will soon be able to, go
it alone. By way of example, he suggested that the establishment of village
trade-stores be confined to indigenous entrepreneurs. 79
A.C. Voutas, who opened for the Pangu pati, followed Chatterton's line
of reasoning, emphasising that the plan tended to follow the Australian
Liberal-Country party's "philosophy of free enterprise capitalism" much too
closely. He wanted increased indigenous participation in business too. By
1974-5, he said, internal revenue was expected to exceed the Australian
grant, and the House might well decide to control the budget itself (i.e., to
undertake full internal self-government for the Territory), only to find that
economic power was not in the local people's hands at all. 80 Michael Somare,
Cecil Abel and Pita Lus followed Voutas' line, while Ebia Olewale (also a
Pangu member) confined himself principally to his own electorate's
problems. The final vote to take note of the plan was _agreed to by sixtyeight votes to twelve, in which division Ebia Olewale and Paliau Maloat
sided with the government against the rest of Pangu (which was now down
to nine acknowledged members after James Meanggarum's resignation).
The most dramatic debate of the meeting, in purely political terms, was
that on W.A. Lussick's Public Service Arbitration Commission Bill 1968.
Lussick's bill arose out of discussions surrounding Chatterton's bill at the
previous meeting, when many members expressed a desire for a system of
appeals from public service arbitration cases to be established in the
Territory without attacking the present arbitration system, as the
Administration felt that Chatterton's bill did. The new bill, therefore,
provided for a panel of three people (to replace the present single arbitrator),
who were to be appointed by the Chief Justice, to hear major public service
claims, and for an appeals system against decisions by a single arbitrator.
In November, just before the House met, the Administrator, apparently
acting on orders from Canberra, asked Lussick to defer his bill until the
government had had time to appoint, and then receive a report from, a group
of experts who would investigate the effectiveness of the present Public
Service Arbitration Ordinance. 81 Lussick, however, refused to commit

September-December 1968


himself until he had consulted the other members of the independent

members' group, 82 while the South Pacific Post criticised the Department
of External Territories for attempting to delay the measure at the last moment
before the House met. 83 The independent members' group refused to adjourn
the bill, and Lussick concurred in its decision. 84 In the end, therefore, the
House met to discuss the bill under what the South Pacific Post described
as "an unhealthy air of confrontation", for which neither the Administration
nor the elected members, but the Minister for External Territories, should
take the blame. 85
Lussick was clearly annoyed at the government's tactics over a bill which
he had intended should assist the Administration. His bill would, he felt,
preserve the Territory's arbitration system intact, and still fulfil the members'
duty to the public servants in their electorates. He was, therefore,
embarrassed by the government's present opposition to the bill, 86 and
rejected the notion, attributed to Hay, that bills as important as this one
should be moved by the government. 87 In the end, however, the drama faded
with the bill's passage without a division being called, although, later, the
Public Service Association, fearing a veto, was moved to appeal to the
Governor-General. to bring the bill into effect as soon as possible. 88 The
government also went ahead with its plans, and subsequently announced
the appointment of two experts (E.A.C. Chambers, the Commonwealth
Public Service Arbitrator and Professor H.A. Turner of Cambridge
University) to investigate the Territory's public service arbitration
procedures and to report on them in time for legislation to be prepared for
the next meeting of the House. The Public Service Association, which had
backed the Lussick bill, condemned the terms of reference for the TurnerChambers committee as "too vague" .89
The longest debate ofthe meeting was on Brere Awol's (MHA West Sepik
Coastal, and an MBE since January) motion declaring "that national unity
is essential to the progress of Papua and New Guinea as a modern state with
enough resources and population to sustain a developing economy", and
pledging the members to work for unity among their constituents. 90 The
motion was clearly prompted by the talk of secession in the New Guinea
islands, but, except for James Meanggarum's personal "secession" from
Pangu, the debate was remarkable only for the impassioned pleas for unity
by the members from the landlocked and still comparatively underdeveloped
Highlands and the equivocations- that it was not the people's fault, but the
Administration's- of some New Guinea islands members, who felt their
areas were neglected, and others (e.g. Ebia Olewale) who felt that the Tolais'
comparative economic success had given rise to a feeling of superiority on
their part, and consequent support for their secession from the rest of the
Territory. 91 After this debate, P.G. Johnson (MHAAngoram) moved that the
House establish a select committee to seek the people's views, and then to
report back, on a single name, a national anthem and a symbol for Papua
and New Guinea. 92 The bill will be debated further at the next meeting of
the House.
An earlier bill to give Papua and New Guinea a single name, "Niugini",


Edward P. Wolfers

had, however, been defeated - by ten votes to seventy - at least partly

because some members seemed to find Paul Lapun, a spokesman for the
Bougainville secessionists, somewhat unconvincing as its mover. The
Administration was not opposed to calling the Territory "Niugini", but was
unable to support the bill which it felt to be unconstitutional on the ground
(which Pangu denied) that it would require an amendment to the Papua and
New Guinea Act to change the Territory's name. The official members,
therefore, suggested the bill be replaced by a resolution requesting the
Australian government to change the Territory's name, but Pangu refused
the compromise, and was defeated by seventy votes to ten. 93
A recent upsurge in the number of refugees crossing the border, and the
approach of the 1969 act of ascertainment, have increased Papuan and New
Guinean concern with West Irian generally, and with the refugees in
particular. A Pangu-sponsored motion to express the House's "sympathy
with the plight of the West Irianese refugees in the Territory and [urging]
the Administration to treat them with every consideration", therefore,
seemed assured of almost unanimous support in the House until the
resolution's mover, Michael Somare, accused the Administration of keeping
the refugees in "concentration camps", an accusation which many members
(by fifty-six votes to twenty-four) found repugnant. 94
Other important matters to come before the House included a bill for the
establishment of a separate local government section within the Department
of District Administration under the Commissioner for Local Government
so that, as the bill's mover put it, "experienced local government officers
... [could] hold permanent positions in the section, thus enabling them to
devote their services entirely to consolidating the work of councils" .95 The
bill's mover, Mangobing Kakun (MHA Munya) had earlier withdrawn his
bill for a separate local government department, as he now considered it to
be premature. The Supreme Court (Appeals) Bill1968,_which provided for
the establishment of a full court of appeal of at least three judges, was also
passed. The Select Committee on the role of permanent overseas public
servants asked that its terms of reference be enlarged so as to cover contract
officers, while Somare's Electoral Commission, so firmly rejected at the
first meeting of the House, was now approved. Finally, J.J. Garrett
engineered the passage of a motion recommending that the existing
allowances and subsidies for the overseas education of all expatriate children
be raised to the new levels awarded to public servants' children earlier in
the year, by also advocating the extension of these subsidies to cover
indigenous children being educated abroad too.
Probably the most notable political development of the November
meeting, however, was the general behaviour and cohesion of the
approximately fifty-seven-strong independent members' group. The Pacific
Islands Monthly already called it a "party without a platform", and felt that
most of its members seemed to regard it as but a matter of time until it
found a platform and became a party. 96 The South Pacific Post's political
reporter, Malcolm Beilby, agreed, and attributed much of the stimulus for
such a move to the government's "clumsy handling" of Lussick's bill.

September-December 1968


Lussick, the group's present apparent leader, insofar as it has a single leader,
was quoted as thinking party organisation for the group to be about a year
off. Pangu, Beilby felt, had emerged from the session "milder, [and]
matured", trying to cast off its loser's image, although worried that some
more of its members (especially Paliau Mal oat) might resign from the party. 97
By the end of the meeting, some of the fascination of membership in a
new Parliament had worn off for at least a few indigenous members. Yauwe
Wauwe (MHA Chuave), for example, said he would never again ask
questions in the House because they never led to anything (but subsequently
asked several), while Kaibelt Diria (Assistant Ministerial Member for Local
Government) expressed his frustration at the government's failure to solve
his electorate's problems, and his own difficulties in explaining why to his
constituents. 98 Finally, James Meanggarum made a careful and sustained
criticism of most members' general demeanour in the House. He urged
greater moderation in the attitudes that the independent and Pangu members
showed towards one another. 99


Robert Waddell

Fourth Meeting of the Second House of Assembly (3-14 March 1969)

Debates in the House of Assembly may be divided into two categories: those
that deal with ideas, attitudes and principles and those that are concerned
with practicalities.
High in the first category were the debates of 4 March 1969 on motions
put forward by W.A. Lussick (Manus and New Ireland) and Ebia Olewale
(South Fly). Lussick's motion rejected "as an unwarranted insult to its
members, the Administration and the people of this Territory, the resolution
passed by the United Nations General Assembly calling for elections under
United Nations supervision ... ". Lussick said the implication was that the
1968 elections to the House of Assembly were not properly conducted. This
was clearly contrary to the visiting mission's report which was adopted by
the UN Trusteeship Council on 19 June 1968 and part of which reads" ...
is pleased to note that the elections of the Second House of Assembly were
well organised to ensure maximum possible participation, that they were
conducted on a basis of universal, adult franchise and a. common roll".'
Lussick's motion was supported by several members most of whom
stressed the point that they did not wish the United Nations, as Sabumei
Kofikai (Goroka) put it, "to force us into hasty self-government". 2 Nathaniel
I. Uroe, representing Rigo-Abau said that the mandate given him by ninety
per cent of his constituents was that he was not to push for immediate
independence: "when we are ready we will tell the Australian Government
we want to be independent". 3
The first rumbles of an impending storm over another issue came when
Michael Somare (East Sepik) of the Pangu pati said: "The forthcoming
plebiscite in West Irian - which is next door to us - is being held
under United Nations direction and I feel that we should tell the United
Nations to make sure that the West Irianese people are given the right of
free choice". 4
Later on the same day a long and complicated motion 5 was put forward
by Ebia Olewale (South Fly) a member of the Pangu pati. He also deplored
the General Assembly's resolution with its insinuations about the 1968 Papua
and New Guinea elections; he then drew attention to a resolution passed by
the House of Assembly on 2 June 1964 which stated that the elected



representatives of the people of Papua and New Guinea wished to "be

allowed to decide when the time is ripe for self-government ... and the
people's firm conviction that the road to self-government can best be
travelled with one guide - and that guide the Administering Authority".
Olewale also referred to the lack of a genuine plebiscite in West Irian. He
asserted that the Afro-Asian group were against white colonialism and "not
against their own colonialism". Somare (East Sepik) agreed that he did not
want other people to set target dates for self-government but he thought that
it was essential that the Australian government should do so. 6
Oscar Tammur (Kokopo) opposed that motion on the grounds that the
United Nations Organisation was responsible for many of the improvements
in Papua New Guinea. He did not wish to antagonise the United Nations.
Three or four other members supported this view and deprecated attempts
to "rubbish" the United Nations. 7
In all some twenty-three members spoke, nineteen Papuans and New
Guineans and four Europeans. The overwhelming majority supported the
motion but a fair number of those who spoke emphasised that they were in
favour of the setting of target dates, whether near or distant, for selfgovernment. They were anxious not to let it be thought that they were not
interested in planned political progress.
It was noticeable that, as always, the representatives from the Highlands
were the most cautious in their approach to the question of self-government.
They are eager to ensure the continued survival of the Australian goose which
lays the golden eggs. They also emphasise that they represent a goodly slice
of the population and that their views should certainly be taken into account.
Other important points were raised including:
Localisation of the Public Service: Pena Ou of Mount Hagen said "We must
give responsible jobs to our young people so that they can learn to run their
Public Service. The money the Australian Government is sending here
should not be going into the pockets of overseas people"; 8
Political Education: Paul Lapun, South Bougainville, said "The authorities
should be educating the people to work and educating them about political
independence. Tell us about different systems of government. Stop
condemning the people, saying they have no knowledge or resources"; 9
National Unity: This theme ran through many speeches and was perhaps
most succinctly put by Kaibelt Diria (Wahgi- Assistant Ministerial Member
for Local Government) in these words:
Pita Lus (Maprik) wants self-government immediately; Paul Lapun (S.
Bougainville) wants self-government for his own little island. If this happens
we are going to revert to the old ways where we have self-government in each
little tiny community as in the old days. We have been brought together by
Australia to form a nation ... the white man came and we no longer had selfgovernment but if we follow what these young blokes have to say then we
will end up as a whole batch of little independent islands of population each
with its own self-government.'

A great and heated debate was promised for the introduction of the Public


Robert Waddell

Services Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, 1969. It will be recalled that a

bill on the same theme had been introduced by Lussick in the November
1968 meeting of the House and had been passed by members. The bill still
awaited the Governor-General's signature.
Meanwhile the Minister for External Territories appointed Professor H.A.
Turner of Cambridge University and E.A.C. Chambers, a Commonwealth
Public Service Arbitrator, to "examine and advise on the efficacy of the
operation of the Public Service Arbitration Ordinance 1952-1965". 11 The
minister, Barnes, said the enquiry would be informal with no public
hearings; however, the experts would see a number of appropriate people
including representatives of several employee and employer organisations
in Port Moresby, the Highlands and the islands.
The bill was introduced on II March I969 by L.W. Johnson, Assistant
Administrator (Services). 12 Johnson was caretul m his introduction to give
credit to Chatterton and Lussick who had introduced bills on this topic in
the August and November (1968) meetings of the House. "Mr Lussick's
bill", he said, "in the November House was a valuable forerunner for this
particular bill". The debate which followed Johnson's outline of the proposed
arbitration procedure had all the spontaneity of a well-rehearsed professional
wrestling bout. Ebia Olewale was ready with an amendment 13 and Lussick
was allowed to move several well-drafted amendments as a consolation for
not having his own bill proceeded withY With slight alterations all Lussick's
amendments were agreed to. Voutas of the Pangu pati was not so fortunate.
He objected to the Administrator being given power to reject the names
submitted either by the Public Service Board or Public Service Association
for membership of the proposed tribunal and to require alternatives. 15 The
official members firmly denied that the Administrator had any intention of
"stacking" the tribunal. 16 Pita Lus (Maprik), a Pangu member, supported
Voutas but was accused by Andagari Wabiria (Assistant Ministerial Member
for Lands) of being one of"these men from Pangu [who] are really buttering
us up with sweet talk" . 17 Three elected members then confessed they were
"really confused" and the amendment was negatived.
In brief the bill as it finally emerged after amendments provided for a
tribunal in place of a single arbitrator. The tribunal was to consist of a
chairman appointed by the Governor-General and two other people to be
nominated by the Administrator, one from a list submitted by the Public
Service Board and one from a list submitted by public service organisations
jointly. In addition, in accordance with Lussick's suggestion, there should
be four "assistant members" -two each from lists submitted by the Public
Service Board and the public service organisations respectively. These
assistant members would have "deliberative but no voting power". It was
understood, though not specified, that they would be Papuans or New
In the event of a claim the chairman of the tribunal will require the two
parties to try to negotiate a settlement. If a party refuses to consult, the
chairman may call a compulsory conference. If this ends in deadlock the
tribunal takes over. The tribunal itself may decide whether it wishes the

January-April 1969


dispute to be heard before the full tribunal or the chairman only (flanked
by the assistant members in a deliberative, non-voting capacity). Where
"issues of general public importance are involved" the tribunal may "request
the Minister to refer the claim or any aspect of or matter arising out of the
proceedings to a Board of Inquiry", consisting of a chairman and not less
than three other members, appointed by the minister. The board does not
determine wages but investigates, collects data and reports. There is no
provision for appeal. As Henderson said, "Appeals in arbitration exist only
in Australia and they are for a specific reason, namely coordination between
awards of arbitration in different sectors. The bill follows the report (TurnerChambers) in taking the view that arbitration after attempted conciliation
is in itself an appeal." 18
A measure which aroused controversy was the Evidence by Affidavit Bill
1968. discussion on which was resumed from 29 November 1968. 19 On the
day of the debate John Griffin, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of
Papua New Guinea, wrote a letter to the South Pacific Post setting out his
objections to the bill. He said that it might be sensible to allow evidence to
be given by affidavit rather than in person in civil cases- at least if the power
were limited to Supreme Court judges and stipendiary magistrates. But in
criminal cases "where the liberty of the subject is involved it should not be
possible for a court to take evidence into account unless it is given to the
court by the witness personally" _20 A subsequent editorial branded the
measure as "Trial by Correspondence'". 21
Griffin's views were supported in the House by Chatterton and Voutas
who were able to get one amendment accepted - namely that the power to
accept evidence by affidavit be restricted to "the Supreme Court, a judge
or a District Court". 22 Otherwise the bill was passed intact by seventy-three
votes to ten.
Education was the subject of a great number of statements both in and
out of the House during this period. On 4 March, Matthias Toliman
(Ministerial Member for Education) referred to a statement made by Barnes
on 7 February, in which the latter announced the appointment of a committee
of three to study and make recommendations on the relationship between
mission and Administration education. The members were Dr C.E. Beeby,
a former Director of Education in New Zealand, and Gabriel Gris, a lecturer
at the Dental College, Port Moresby. The chairman was W. Weeden of the
Department of Education and Science, Canberra. The terms of reference
included such things as the salaries of mission teachers, and the possibility
of having "a single teaching service to employ all teachers, mission and
Administration". 23
On 10 March Toliman said that it would cost about $2 million per
annum over the period of the five-year plan to raise mission teachers' salaries
to the level currently paid to local education officers of the same
qualifications. He added that forty- five per cent of the Territory's secondary
and sixty-six per cent of its primary school children attended mission
schools. 24 In an earlier statement he had said there were 240,000 students
enrolled in the Territory's schools, of which according to a statement made


Robert Waddell

by Barnes in January, only 12,300 were in secondary schools in 1967. 25 It

was hoped to raise this figure to 24,000 in 1973 under the five-year
development programme.
In a speech in the House on 12 March T.J. Leahy (Markham) spoke
of the "disparity between the educated elite and the average villager"; he felt
the first priority was to "get the rural areas going" and that it might be
advisable to spend less on primary and tertiary education. 26 On 13 March
Dennis Buchanan (Eastern Highlands) proposed "that increased grants-in-aid
be paid to missions to enable them to pay their teachers salaries comparable
with those paid by the Administration and that provision should be made for
this in the 1969-1970 Budget"Y Although modified by Chatterton to read
"salaries at a significantly increased level" the motion was lost by thirtyfive votes to forty-four. Many elected members spoke feelingly of the good
work done by the missions. "We all know'', said Yauwe Wauwe (Chauve)
"that the missions were in some areas long before the Administration came
and we are grateful for the long service that they have given. I believe it is
time we compensated the missions." 28 Most of those who supported the
Administration referred to the $2 million and asked other members where
they supposed this was going to come from. Were they prepared to reduce
"the allocation for roads in the Highlands by the required amount?" asked
Warren Dutton. 29 The other argument was that the proper time to discuss
the matter was not now but after Weeden's committee had reported. One or
two spoke of the unified education system which might emerge and either
approved or strongly disliked the idea of the Administration's being able to
direct the activities of mission schools and teachers.
In a statement issued at the end of ApriP 0 the Roman Catholic bishops of
Papua and New Guinea said "In practice we will not rest or remain silent
on this matter until justice has been done to our mission teachers; until they
have been given their due: parity of salaries". The bishops also commented
on the pace of political progress:
It seems that the Federal Government is reluctant to hand over much real
authority to the officers on the spot, in New Guinea. The big decisions about
New Guinea are apparently still made outside New Guinea .... It is equally
regrettable that within New Guinea there is very little decentralisation of
decision making .... Opportunities for training local people in the democratic
processes are being lost. 31

One might comment that by all accounts it is not just the big decisions
that are made in Canberra.
"Localisation" of the public service is a very serious issue to which little
thought appears to have been given or perhaps much thought and little
action. One reason for inaction is, of course, that in 1966 there were only
14,500 Papuans and New Guineans with any secondary education. 32
However, Paulus Arek at a press conference in Canberra said Australia was
not doing enough about localisation. "A lot of Australian wives are in typing
positions and a lot of storemen's jobs are being done by Australians. These
jobs could be filled by Papuans and New Guineans." 33 Arek also criticised



the ministerial member system: "The present system of having politicians

as Under-Ministers is wasteful because they could lose their jobs in
elections". He said it would be much better if Papuan and New Guinean
public servants could understudy senior departmental officers. 34
The Administration's political education programme was attacked by
Somare in the House 35 and by Don Barrett in the South Pacific Post. 36 Barrett
said that such political education as the Administration gave was generally
very one-sided. Why were they so hostile to political parties? Why were
they afraid of giving both sides of a question and asking the people to make
up their own minds? He compared the Territory's policy unfavourably with
that of the Solomon Islands. After quoting Barnes' statement that the present
constitutional structure imposed on the Territory by Australia was modelled
on Westminster - "Why not? It has been found that it works well in other
parts of the world" 37 - Barrett said he preferred the BSIP's government's
approach. He then quoted the fO'l!l!owingpassage from a BSIP pamphlet: "In
the Westminster way of government we do not really meet the needs of the
Solomon Islands: what is good for Britain in this way is notS1 good for the
Solomon Islands". LW. Johnson, Assistant Administrator (Services)
defended the Administration's record. 38 He said that the political education
programme mounted before the 1968 elections and the present one were the
first planned ones. The Administration radio stations gave news of current
events and the activities of the House of Assembly and so on. The
Administration was "not trying to sell political education or political science
to people who were not interested". Pamphlets had, however, been
distributed throughout the country in 1967 on subjects like local and central
government, majority rule. rule of law, electing representatives, national
government and political parties.
C.E. Barnes, Minister for External Territories, visited Papua New Guinea
in April. His speeches were mainly on the theme of economic development
and the present dependence of the Territory on Australia for finance. At
Goroka at the opening of the $3 million base hospital he reminded the
audience that $2 million of the $3 million had "come from the pocket of
the Australian taxpayer". 39 He also complained of the difficulty of getting
land for development projects. "When I come to Goroka I am told it is
practically impossible for the Administration to obtain land for town
development. I am told this in Rabaul, in Madang, in Lae, in Mount Hagen
and in Port Moresby. If people who own land demand unreasonably high
prices they are demanding this from the people as a whole." As an example
of the benefits of development he pointed to the Bougainville copper project
which would require a total investment of $300 million and which would
provide "directly or indirectly 2,500 new jobs and support 10,000 people". 40
On 10 April Barnes held a press conference in Port Moresby at which he
made reference to the constitutional future of the Territory. Part of the
dialogue went as follows:
Questioner: "That suggests Sir that you don't anticipate the need for any
constitutional changes during the life of the present House?"


Robert Waddell
Barnes: "Well in major regard- I am expressing a personal view- I don't.
But I feel that [the] House of Assembly may have other views, but I think I
have always opposed too rapid progress in these things. I believe we have
made a tremendous step forward in the last constitutional changes. Why not
let it settle down for a term or two until they really know where they are
heading, really know what they want?"

Later the questioner returned to an earlier point:

Questioner: "But when you refer to a 'term or two', you mean terms as the
life of a House."
Barnes: "For the life of the House, for the life of two Houses. I don't see the
... I admit I haven't heard a good argument why this should be changed."41
This statement caused a furore in the press and among the more vociferous
politicians. References were made to "seven-year standstills" and "sevenyear freezes". Barnes was attacked by the South Pacific Post, the Australian
and in particular the Sydney Morning Herald which demanded that "Barnes
Must Go". The Speaker ofthe House of Assembly, John Guise, speaking as
a private member, said that the hundreds of students at high school and
university, let alone the politicians, would scarcely accept a ten-year freeze
in constitutional developmentY Pangu pati's secretary Maori Kiki said
Barnes was an ill-informed person who was incapable of doing his job.
"Self-government must come in 1972."43 Barnes later denied that he had
imposed a constitutional freeze, 44 but by this time the damage was done.
Barnes was also adversely criticised for his attitude to the forthcoming
"act of free choice" in Irian Barat. There is no doubt that this issue has
caused a good deal of concern to the Papuans and New Guineans. The main
complaints are about the handling of refugees and Australia's failure to
demand a more democratic method of testing West Iri~::tnese opinion about
the musjawarah or consultation process proposed by the Indonesian
government. The argument that one cannot expect a "one-man one-vote"
procedure in a "stone-age" country falls quite flat in this Territory where
two general elections on precisely these lines have been held in the past five
years. The Papuans and New Guineans appreciate that the Indonesians have
not the money or the expertise of the Australians but they feel that at least
the inhabitants of the coastal towns should be allowed a vote each. It is, of
course, abundantly clear that Australia does not wish to be saddled with any
responsibility for West Irian. As Dr Sudjarwo, the Indonesian Deputy
Foreign Minister said when asked whether Indonesia would allow an
independent state to be set up in West Irian: "That is not in our concept of
thinking ... I know that such a State would have no support from
Governments abroad; no support from the Australian Government for
example". 45
The major news on the economic front concerned Bougainville copper.
In February Rio Tinto Zinc Corporation Ltd announced in London that a
letter of intent had been signed by which it was agreed that the company
would supply Japanese smelters with 950,000 tons of copper in concentrate



over fifteen years. The planned capacity of the mine was 125,000 tons of
copper in concentrate a year, which was about twenty-five per cent more
than the entire Australian output. 46 Later it was announced that the output
might be as much as 160,000 tons. 47
In February Barnes said that the company had agreed that the
Administration would receive 1.25 per cent of gross revenue as a royalty.
The Administration would also have an option to take up twenty per cent
of the equity of the new company. Furthermore after an initial low-tax
"holiday" the company would pay fifty per cent of its taxable income to
the Administration. This could amount to $10 million or more a year. 48 The
tribal landowners would receive five per cent of the royalties paid to the
Administration. This could amount to $600,000 a year.
It is clear that the Administration is determined to let CRAgo ahead with
the project as expeditiously as possible. Trouble, however, has arisen over
the choice of a site for the new mining town which will be required to support
CRA's activities.
The Administration has chosen a site which takes in the highly productive
1,000 acre Arawa plantation owned by F.R. McKillop as well as some 3,200
acres of New Guinean-owned land. McKillop intends to fight the resumption
of his land. He and the Planters' Association of New Guinea allege that other,
undeveloped, land was available and had actually been chosen by CRA but
that the Administration was afraid of taking over a site entirely owned by
New Guineans even if it was undeveloped. 49 Once the Administration had
demonstrated its impartiality by taking over land belonging to an expatriate
it could then the more easily take over New Guinean-owned land later when
required. The Administrator, however, maintained that of the various sites
considered the Arawa one was chosen because it would involve the least
disruption to the least number of people. He emphasised that fair and just
compensation would be paid. 50
Meanwhile the encouragement of indigenous business enterprises
continues. Some think the Papua New Guinea Development Bank is much
too conservative in its policy. The bank's record may be judged by the
following figures, taken from its Annual Report for 1968:
Classification of appr&vals during the year according to the race
of the applicants shows the following:



Multi-racial partnerships etc & mixed

-race applicants










Robert Waddell

The Report adds that "commercial applications from indigenes were

mainly for the purchase of trucks and the financing of small retail stores".
We should perhaps comment that $1,249,970 was accounted for by the
taking up of a fifty per cent shareholding in New Britain Palm Oil
Development Ltd. 51 This item presumably comes into the "multi-racial
partnership" category.
There is undoubtedly a shortage of indigenous management skills and
the House was pleased to hear Toua Kapena's announcement of an
"Indigenous Training Scheme" to encourage greater participation by the
private sector in the training of the indigenous labour forceY The main
points were: (1) assistance with part of the costs of apprenticeship such as
accommodation and tools; (2) proportionate reimbursement of tuition-fees,
board and lodging etc. for students attending full-time courses; (3) subsidies
for those attending approved short-term or "sandwich" courses; (4) subsidies
for other types of training including courses overseas. It was thought that
the cost of the scheme in the financial year 1969170 would be in the region


Robert Waddell

At the time of writing it looks as if the Bougainvi11e story is going to have
a satisfactory, it not entirely happy, ending. But this happy issue out of all
our afflictions reflects no great credit on the Administration which seems
to have been following rather than guiding the course of events.
The Administration has not had an easy time; it has been under fire
from both New Guinean and expatriate landowners. The New Guineans have
been fighting for either a better price or no sale at all; while the planters
have been contesting the right of the Administration to resume the
flourishing Arawa plantation which was owned by an Australian,
F.R. McKillop.
On 3 May Tony Newman, acting Assistant Administrator (Economic
Affairs), used the Administration's Radio Bougainville to reprimand Paul
Lapun (MHA Bougainville South) for whipping up anti-Administration
feeling "to suit his personal interest". Newman said that Joseph Lue, the
Regional member for Bougainville, and Assistant Ministerial Member for
Technical Education, had reported that almost 100 per cent of the Siwai
people (who live on the other side of the island from Arawa) and the local
government council approved the actions of the Administration. 1
A few days later it was announced that the Administration was arranging
for ten carefully selected Bougainville leaders to visit projects mthe Eastern
and Western Highlands, the object presumably being to open their eyes to
the benefits of economic development.
Meanwhile there was a fresh outburst of survey-peg removing- this time
at Guava not far from the actual site of the copper mine. Lapun, who had
previously been the target of the Administration's attack, was now asked to
use his influence to soothe the villagers and make the true state of affairs
clear to them. 2 This was not a task which he found congenial.
Later a high-powered delegation consisting of five ministerial and
assistant ministerial members was sent to Bougainville to discuss the copper
project with villagers. On this occasion Lue declared that it would be much
better if village leaders, rather than officers of the district administration,
accompanied the survey teams: they could "do much better jobs than kiaps". 3
On 23 June Tony Newman, as the Treasurer, gave the


Robert Waddell

Administration's reasons for choosing the Arawa site and announced that
the Administration had reached "a stage where the lands which the
Administration has proposed for the town site, that is Arawa Plantation and
the 660 acres adjacent to Arawa Plantation, is available to the Administration
on a sale basis, and not on a compulsory acquisition basis" .4
Tony Voutas (Morobe ), 5 a member of the Pangu pati, said he found it very
difficult to believe that the Arawa landowners had already agreed to hand
over their land. This doubt was implicit in the speeches of other members
who all talked as if the land problem was still to be solved. Subsequent
events proved that the doubters were right.
Roy Ashton (East and West New Britain- Ministerial Member for Public
Works) put the orthodox view with great force and clarity. He looked forward
to the day when the House of Assembly would be full of "strong m~n",
Papuans and New Guineans, who had "a national conscience", and would
not "worry about a minority". He warned members that if the international
finance houses "see you arguing and squabbling about a bit of ground for a
company, they might well fail to lend the company the money - $200
million". 6
On 2 July McKillop was reported to have agreed to sell Arawa plantation.
On 26 July Newman told New Guineans in Bougainville that the
Administration would not allow a few people to obstruct the development
of the whole of Papua New Guinea. He also told Rorovana villagers that
the Administration would grant Conzinc Rio Tin to a lease of 600 acres of
their land on 1 August for a construction camp and storage shed. Extra police
would be sent to prevent obstruction when the survey markers were put in. 7
On the day itself about twenty-five Rorovanan women succeeded in
removing the first marker. Having won this symbolic victory in the presence
of several dozen police and a helicopter they retired, apparently in good
On the same day the Administrator, D.O. Hay, was reported as rejecting
Lapun's suggestion that negotiations over the land should be reopened.
Joseph Lue warned that "this attitude of sell your land or else" was not
palatable to the Bougainvilleans. He added that he had made this clear at
the monthly meeting of the ministerial and assistant ministerial members
with the Administrator. 8
The turning point in the Bougainville Copper saga was 5 August. On that
day police used tear-gas and batons to shift sixty-five Rorovanan people who
were trying to prevent bulldozers clearing their land. 9
A few days later it was announced that the Napidakoe Association had
been formed with Paul Lapun as president, Raphael Bele as treasurer and
Barry Middlemiss, an Arawa plantation overseer, as secretary. The
Association, which claimed a membership of 4,734 from seventy-two
villages in the Kieta sub-district, aimed to handle all future law negotiations
with CRA on behalf of the villagers. 10
The Administration now seemed to start back-pedalling vigorously.
Tripartite conferences were held between villagers, senior Administration
officials and the CRA area manager. Flying in to attend the opening of the

May-August 1969


South Pacific Games, C.E. Barnes, Minister for External Territories, was
able to discuss Bougainville with Hay. Later Hay himself flew to
Bougainville to assess the situation and he held discussions with various
leading local citizens.
By this time a writ had been filed in the Supreme Court claiming the New
Guinea mining ordinances were invalid and void. The claim was taken
seriously by the Administrator who instructed the District Commissioner
in Bougainville to tell CRA to suspend operations until the legal position
was made clear.
On 20 August the sale of Arawa plantation was completed. The owners
were reported to be receiving something like $900 an acre, a sum which
immediately threw into stark relief the $100 an acre being offered to the
New Guinean owners ofthe neighbouring land.U Although a fair part of the
$900 consisted of compensation for improvements and loss of profits from
future harvests, the general public mostly chose to see the transaction as an
instance of Europeans getting better terms than New Guineans, and it
became obvious that organisations like theN apidakoe Association were not
likely to let the matter rest.
In this case Canberra saw the point very quickly. Very shortly after details
of the Arawa plantation's sale had been made public Barnes announced that
he and Prime Minister Gorton were prepared to negotiate a settlement. "We
indicated", he said, "that if the native landholders were prepared to negotiate
a settlement, similar procedures and principles would apply to the question
of compensation or payment to the native landholders as had applied in the
negotiations for the purchase of the Arawa plantation". 12

Albert Maori Kiki: An Alleged Breach of Privilege

On I May the New Guinea Times-Courier reported that Albert Maori
Kiki had told a student meeting at Sydney University that the
Australian government was deliberately encouraging a group called the
"Independent Members Group" which held a majority of seats in the House
of Assembly.
Kiki, who was on a fund-raising tour for the Pangu pati, was asked after
the meeting about party finances in the Territory. In his reply he said that
businessmen and planters had offered the Independent Members Group
$60,000 on condition that they accepted a specified political platform. The
Independent Members Group, said Kiki (though this was not reported in
the local papers) had refused both the platform and the money. On 2 May
Oala Oala-Rarua, current chairman of the Independent Members Group, said
he knew nothing about the $60,000.B
On 3 May Kiki appeared on the television programme "Four Corners"
in Sydney. During the course of an interview with Ian Downs, a former
member of the House of Assembly, Kiki said:
Pangu would like to see at this stage immediate is all right
for Barnes to say that New Guinea will get independence in twenty to thirty years


Robert Waddell

time. He is safe, because his views will be protected. He will be supported

by his stooges in Parliament- that is elected New Guineans made to accept
the ministerial portfolios with money, status, and cars and all sorts of things.
One and 'a half months later on 16 June J.J. Garrett (Madang) told tl1e
House about the "Four Corners" programme. No word was said about breach
of privilege, although someone suggested K.iki should be sued for slander.
Garrett's main concern was the possible effect on the Australian tax-payer
who was keeping the Territory afloat. 14
On 17 June a member asked, without prior notice and without reference
to K.iki, that a committee of privileges be set up. It was to have five members
whom he then named.
Immediately afterwards, another member drew the House's attention to
articles in the local papers and the Australian relating to statements alleged
to have been made by K.iki at Sydney University and on the "Four Corners"
programme. The member asked that the matter be referred to the newly
constituted Committee of Privileges. By a strange coincidence the
composition of the committee was such that it would have been hard put to
consider the Kiki case impartially. Every member of it was an interested
party. 1' There were two members of the Independent Members Group (the
chairman Warren Dutton, and Brere Awol), two ministerial members (Tore
Lokoloko and Sinake Giregire) and one member of the Pangu pati (Paul
Lapun). On 20 June the South Pacific Post said in an editorial:
The Secretary of the Pangu Party Mr. Albert Maori Kiki was intemperate and
extremist in interviews he gave during his recent visit to Australia. Members
are right in describing his statements as 'damaging and incorrect'. The editor
however advised the House to 'let the matter rest' in accordance with the
example of the Speaker John Guise who refused to bring the [now defunct]
local racist magazine 'Black & White' to book for its continued 'attempts to
bring this House into disrepute'.

On 26 August the Post-Courier (which now incorporates the South Pacific

Post and the New Guinea Times-Courier) published the Committee of
Privileges report in full. The report began by giving a brief history of
Parliamentary privilege in Westminster and elsewhere; it then made the point
that Section 15 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Ordinance
limited the powers of the House of Assembly to deal with contempt and that
contempt of the House could probably only be dealt with by a district court.
The committee found that the "stooges" allegation and the "$60,000"
allegation made by K.iki in Sydney and published in Papua and New Guinea
by the South Pacific Post, the New Guinea Times-Courier and the PostCourier and the ABC did in fact constitute serious breaches of the privileges
of the House of Assembly. The committee, however, said that it would be
beneath the House's dignity to initiate proceedings against K.iki; the House
should be "prepared to accept an apology" from him. A later paragraph
threw more light on the committee's reluctance to suggest further action
against Kiki: "As the Ordinance now stands a District Court has no
jurisdiction to try a person under Section 15 of the Parliamentary Powers

May-August 1969


and Privileges Ordinance for anything he has said or done outside the
Territory even if that person knows that what he says or does will be
republished in Papua and New Guinea".
Although Kiki had escaped, the committee could have suggested pursuing
the local newspapers, the republishers of Kiki's statements, but it refrained
from doing so. It merely said that the House should be prepared to accept
an apology from them.
Kiki understandably remained silent. The press were not so discreet. The
Post-Courier instructed its lawyers to send a statement to the Clerk of the
House in which it denied having committed contempt. The statement went
on to say that if the House thought otherwise it should allow the matter to
be taken to court.
This riposte of the Post-Courier was mentioned by Dutton when
introducing his report on 29 August. He said the statement by the
newspaper's lawyers was "irrelevant and verging on the impertinent. It
suggests that the South Pacific Post Pty. Ltd., is a body capable of
determining what is a contempt of the House."
The report was adopted by fifty-eight votes to twelve. During the debate
W.W. Watkins, S.ecretary for Law, and the only member with legal
qualifications, advised members to exercise caution. He reiterated that the
House and the courts had no jurisdiction over Kiki's extra-territorial remarks
and he further suggested that no action be taken against the ABC and the
newspapers, whose defence could be that they were "performing the
functions of publishing news for the public". 16
The House was not to be deprived of a victim. Oala Oala-Rarua moved
that the Post-Courier's reporters be banned from the House for the rest of
the current meeting. The motion was passed fifty-five votes to eleven. It was
perhaps significant that Watkins was not present when the House divided.
A number of people, including Tony Voutas and Dr J.T. Gunther, a former
Assistant Administrator and currently Vice-Chancellor of the University,
attacked the press ban. Dr Gunther said that the House had been unable to
deal with the real culprit Albert Maori Kiki. "Like a mad dog the House,
with official support, bit whoever or whatever it could." 17
The Gazelle Peninsula Multi-racial Local Government Council
In February 1969 a proclamation was issued by the Administrator-in-Council
announcing the extension of the Gazelle local government council's area
to cover several new villages and land which was occupied by Europeans
and Chinese. The main effect of the proclamation was to make the council
a "multi-racial" one- that is to say one which contained both New Guinean
and non-New Guinean taxpayers. This meant that non-New Guineans were
eligible for election to the council but it did not mean that there had to be
non-New Guineans on the council: this was entirely a matter for the
electorate which was overwhelmingly New Guinean.
Oscar Tammur (Kokopo, New Britain) who had been elected to the
House of Assembly partly on a promise that certain groups ofTolais would


Robert Waddell

not be included in any new local government council area, decided to lend
his organisational powers to the district villagers.
On 15 May the old local government council held its last meeting. In the
presence of Tammur the meeting, chaired by the vice-president - though
the president was also there - decided to reverse its earlier decision to
become "multi-racial" .18 The Administrator chose to disregard this resolution
"in view of evidence of haste and pressure" and decided that the election
should proceed as planned. 19 David Hay in person told the council that the
proclamation was now the law, "and even I haven't the power to cancel it". 20
On 16 May Tammur led a march of 5,000 or more Tolais through Rabaul
in protest. Tammur had various reasons for opposing the formation of the
new council. At the time of the Rabaul march he was reported as saying
that land was a major issue among the Tolais. The Administration, he alleged,
had bought up practically all arable land in New Britain. "When we attain
independence the indigenous people will 4ave no more sources of income
by which to obtain money to run their own country." Tammur's other main
objection was that the people had had the new arrangements thrust on them
without prior consultation.
The elections took place during the period 20 May to 12 June. Tammur
had said beforehand that his followers would boycott the elections. The
results showed that his instructions had probably been carried out. Of 33,688
voters on the roll only 6,720 people voted. The new council contained an
overwhelming majority of Tolais, there being only one Chinese and three
Europeans in a total council membership of thirty-eight.
After the elections Tom Ellis (Director of District Administration)
defended the official record. 21 He said that as early as 28 May 1967 it had
been resolved that members of the council should explain to their
constituents the proposal for the council to be reconstituted to include all
residents and for the council to consult by letter all non-indigenous residents.
So much for the allegation that the people had not been consulted.
Furthermore, said Ellis, in June 1968 Tammur had consulted the
Administrator and had agreed that the drawing of Raluana and other noncouncil villages into the council area would be a good thing and would
promote Tolai unity. With the election of the new council the uproar died
down for the moment but it was interesting to note that one of the first
resolutions passed by the council - on the motion of councillor George
Edwards, one of the three Europeans- was to drop the word "multi-racial"
from its title on the grounds that it "confused" a lot of villagers. The motion
was passed unanimously. 22

Administrative Reorganisation
A major administrative reorganisation was announced on 7 July. 23 The
Department of District Administration was to cease to exist as a separate
entity and was to become part of the department was to be Tom Ellis. The
new secretary of the enlarged Department of the Administrator was to be
Tom Ellis. The previous secretary of the Administrator's Department, David

May-August 1969


Fen bury, was designated head of a new Department of Social Development

and Home Affairs. The reorganisation came in for adverse criticism by the
press and by various prominent citizens.
The point upon which most adverse criticism centred was the failure of
Canberra to realise the importance oflocal government. The Post-Courier,
Don Barrett, and John Guise (Speaker of the House of Assembly), all agreed
that a separate department of local government should have been created.
Instead of doing this Canberra had decided to make it part of the division
of district administration within the Administrator's Department. "I feel it
most undesirable", said Guise in an address to the 1969 Local Government
Council Association on 8 August "that Local Government Councils which
are statutory bodies ... should be controlled by the Executive arm of the
Administration, the Government of this country ... they are supposed to be
independent statutory bodies" .24
It was also generally agreed that the placing of local government under
Tom Ellis represented a setback for Fenbury personally, and for his liberal
ideas about the role of local government councils as a training ground for
future national self-government. "No one would doubt Ellis's ability and
vast experience in. the field of district administration ... but few would
suggest that he is other than an outspoken opponent of a separate department
of local government". Fen bury, who had been associated with the local
government council movement ever since its beginnings in 1951 in the days
of Paul Hasluck, and who was a natural choice as head of a new department
of local government, was now to have no more to do with the councils:
instead he was to be fobbed off with what Barrett referred to as a "bits and
pieces" department with responsibility for such diverse activities as the
archives, the bureau of statistics, the electoral office, stores and supplies,
the government printing office and hostel management and catering. 25
The main effect of these changes, said an editorial in the Sydney Morning
Herald would be that "Canberra officials - notoriously out of touch with
development in the Territory and responsible for the major blunders of recent
years -will now have the means of reaching directly down to the most minor
details of field administration" .26
Constitutional Development

K.E. Beazley (ALP) accused the Administration of following a policy of

divide-and-rule. "They exploit the grievances of the highlanders to hold at
bay the requests of what might be called the coastal intellectuals." 27 A less
hostile critic might point out that the Highlanders and the coastal
intellectuals have very different material interests and operate on different
levels of sophistication. The Administration could well say that its task was
to strike a fair balance between the two groups.
There is no doubting the political conservatism of the Highlanders. Pena
Ou, chairman of the Western Highlands district advisory council, was
reported as asking for a referendum on self-government. "The people in the
Western Highlands District do not want self-government" he said. The other


Robert Waddell

councillors present who represented nine local government councils- agreed

to write to their MHAs asking them to press for a referendum. 28
These sentiments were echoed in the House of Assembly during the
debate on the setting up of a Select Committee on Constitutional
Development. Ninkama Bomai, member for Gumine in the Chimbu district,
said "If you people really want to ruin the Territory you can introduce selfgovernment, but we people in the Highlands do not want it in our area. I
feel the select committee should inquire into our thoughts on these
matters." 29
In the event the committee was duly set up, but its chairman, Paulus Arek,
made it clear that its duty was not "to try to achieve self-government or
independence" but rather to "find out the thoughts of all people in the
country". Nevertheless it was announced soon after that an overseas adviser
on constitutional development would be appointed to assist the committee.
It can therefore be assumed the Administration is in favour of some measure
of constitutional advance.
Further evidence of the unevenness of development was provided by Dr
Ralph Bulmer, Professor of Social Anthropology in the University of Papua
New Guinea. In his inaugural lecture he said that regional differences could
be one of the greatest threats to the viability of Papua New Guinea as an
independent nation. The university was helping to perpetuate discrepancies.
Thus Manus had one in 800 of its inhabitants at the university while the
corresponding figure for the combined Madang and Morobe districts was
one in 14,000.~0
Localisation of the Public Service
Gerald Unkles announced in July that he would set up a localisation section
within the recently constituted Public Service Board pf which he is the
chairman. The new section head was to be Dr David Chenoweth, principal
of the Administrative College, a man who was not only very familiar with
the local scene but who had made extensive studies of development
administration in West Africa and elsewhere. Appropriately in the
circumstances a New Guinean, W. Lawrence, a gifted undergraduate at the
local university and already the holder of a diploma in public administration,
was given one of the senior positions in the section. The subject of
localisation will be thrown into sharp relief over the next five years when
an estimated additional 1,450 overseas officers will be recruited into the
Territory's public service at professional and sub-professional gradesY The
service will expand rapidly but it is doubtful if many Papua New Guineans
will be able to look forward to promotion. It is much more likely that the
opportunities for Papua New Guineans will be mainly in the lower grades.
All this may lead to a growing demand both for a relaxation of academic
prerequisites and for a recognition of the political fact- unpalatable to the
efficient bureaucrat - that it may be better in the long run to have a large
number of under-qualified but experienced New Guinean public servants
than a select few possessing Australian-type academic qualifications.

May-August 1969


Evidence (Land Titles) Bill1969

The main intention of the Evidence (Land Titles) Bill 1969 which passed
through all its stages in June was to give the Administration a secure title
to the land it had acquired over the years. 32 Some members suspected the
Administration's motives and adversely criticised their proposal methods.
Tony Voutas of the Pangu pati prophesied that many of the decisions would
be upset after the Territory became independent. The majority of members,
however, appreciated that the Administration was merely trying to make a
future independent government's task easier. The Administration also sought
to encourage local and expatriate enterprise by giving entrepreneurs security
of tenure in the leases which had been granted them.
The long debate on the second reading resulted in the Administration's
making several concessions, of which two may be singled out for mention.
Firstly, it was agreed that the new legislation would not be retroactive in
that it would not apply to cases currently pending appeal to the Supreme
Court. Secondly, a further amendment moved by W.A. Lussick had the effect
of allowing hearsay evidence to be used on both sides "without loading the
scales against customary claimants to the extent that the Bill presently

does".' 3


Robert Waddell

Gazelle Peninsula
The Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain seems destined to occupy the centre
of the political stage in the territory for some time to come. After the
elections to the new "multi-racial" council had been held there was a
temporary lull in political activity but trouble broke out again at the
beginning of September. On 1 September a thousand Tolais attended a
protest meeting in Rabaul while a small band of their compatriots led by
Damien ToKereku, Daniel Rumet and Melchior Tomot - all prominent
members of the recently formed "Mataungan Association" - took the keys
of the local government council offices from the attendants, told the council
workers to go home and then locked up the premises. They were later
charged with obstructing the work of the council.
On 3 September four members of the House of Assembly from New
Britain, Oscar Tammur, Matthias Toliman, Epineri Titimur and Roy Ashton,
flew to Rabaul to hold a conference with the Mataungan Association's
leaders. Outside the building 4,000 or more Tolais gath~red in support of
the association. The Assistant Administrator, L.W. Johnson, said the
Mataungan Association was ready to use violence to achieve its ends; he
suggested that the House set up a committee to investigate the problems of
the Gazelle Peninsula. 1 In an editorial published on 8 September the PostCourier welcomed the suggestion but warned that care must be taken over
the membership of the committee: "Obviously the Mataungan Association
would not accept an enquiry by Europeans. They should not be asked to do
so. For the same reason the Tolais, whose interests are at stake, should not
expect representation. The Commission must be completely independent."
In the event the three-man commission of enquiry consisted of an
Australian and two Tolais. The chairman, P.D. Connolly, was president of
the Law Council of Australia and the Queensland Bar Association but had
no specialist knowledge of Tolai customs. Of the two Tolais appointed one
was a bishop of the United Church in Rabaul, Simon Gaius, and the other
was a teacher, Aisea Taviai. The bishop had been a member of the New
Britain district advisory council which in May 1967 discussed the question
of a multi-racial council and passed a motion requesting the Administration
to take certain steps with the aim of having the Gazelle and Bainings

September-December 1969


councils converted. "The Acting District Commissioner passed the District

Advisory Council's motion on to the President of the Gazelle Council by
letter and requested the Gazelle Council to carry out a plebiscite among the
non-indigenous section of the community. It was as a direct result of this
letter that the Gazelle Council discussed the idea of a multi-racial council." 2
Aisea Taviai had been out of the Territory for a year, studying at the EastWest Centre in Hawaii, and could therefore be expected to bring an open
mind to the proceedings. The Administration also appointed Dr T.S. Epstein
as an adviser to the commissioner. Epstein had lived among the Tolais and
was the author of a book and several monographs on various aspects ofTolai
social and economic activities. Damien ToKereku, Chairman of the
Mataungan Association, said that the Association was "very pleased with
the Commission representation".
At this point a word should be said about the origins and aims of the
Mataungan Association. It would appear that this body was formed during
the first fortnight of May 1969 just before the elections to the new "multiracial" council. Its first official publication took the form of a number of
resolutions, written in English, which were handed to the District
Commissioner of East New Britain, Harry West, on 16 May 1969 by Oscar
Tammur, MHA for Kokopo. 1 The document opens as follows:
RESOLUTIONS conveying the convictions and feeling of five thousand
indigenous men and women who met at the Vunamami Community Centre
on Sunday, 4th May, 1969, at 2 p.m. and on the 11th May, 1969 at I p.m.
This group of ten thousand [sic] indigenous men and women representing
the people of seventy villages in the Gazelle Peninsula has been formed to
demand the revocation of the recent proclamation that changed the Gazelle
Peninsula Local Government Council into a Multi-Racial Council.
The main emphasis of the document is on self-help and self-rule. The
author of the piece, Melchior Tomot, secretary of the Mataungan Association,
acknowledges the need for expatriate assistance but demands that this be
given for the promotion of indigenous and not expatriate ends.
It soon becomes plain that the Association's members have two major
concerns: land and the fear of political and economic domination by
expatriates (which in the Rabaul context means Chinese as well as Australians).
On the question of land the Association has this to say:
But the members demand as their right the immediate settlement of the many
land cases that are still awaiting court hearing- and decision. The members
demand the immediate payment of compensation for all lands that were
alienated without proper negotiation with the original native owners and
without their approval. The amount of money for the compensation is to be
calculated on the improved capital value of the land. The people don't so much
need and want the government[ 's] or the expatriate's money as to have their
land and their rights returned to them.'
Concern about land leads to concern about expatriate domination in
general. Thus:


Robert Waddell
Members of the group are very much concerned to know that the Administration
has bought up practically all arable land in New Britain as well as all timber
forests. Their concern is aggravated by the additional fear that the Administration
besides taking up all our land, will so allow private companies to exploit all our
economic resources that when we attain Independence the indigenous people will
have no more sources of income where to obtain money to run their country. We
can clearly see that we indigenous [sic] will not run our own country but the white
men will, since they will always have superior economy. Money is power. Even
if we indigenes manage to govern our country we will govern it when it will have
been fully exploited and deprived of its economic resources.'

In a statement to the Commission of Enquiry Tomot had this to say: "The

Mataungan Association is pro-European and Asiatics, but it's anti-European
and Asiatic bullies, bullies which are put over the natives". 6
While denying that the Mataungans were racist Tomot wrote: "We submit
that the ultimate cause of any civil wars will rest with those white expatriates
like Donald Dunbar-Reid who believe that the native is good only for plantation
work and who carry on their ruthless exploitation ofthe country's economic
resources". 7 It is significant that Dunbar-Reid was in fact one of the three
Europeans elected to the new council, of which he later became vice-president.
As to the strength of the Mataungan Association's following, estimates
ranged widely from five to thirteen thousand. Paul Lapun (MHA South
Bougainville) who visited the Gazelle at the time of the troubles reckoned
that "the majority of the people are followers of the Mataungan
Association". 8 A number of other members of the House of Assembly,
however, were at pains to explain that the troubles were caused by only a
small group of people, some of whom according to J. McKinnon (Middle
Ramu) were "irresponsible, radical Europeans and Chinese". 9 Inevitably a
share of the blame was apportioned to the Pangu pati. _
The commission's report was published on 10 November and was the
subject of a prolonged debate in the House of Assembly. The debate was
disappointing in that speakers spent most of their time criticising the
composition of the commission and trying to decide who to blame for
stirring up troubles; intent on analysing the smoke they forgot to examine
the nature of the fire that lay at its heart The commission itself made three
main recommendations. It suggested that immediate action be taken on the
land problem. It recommended "the acquisition of alienated land adjacent
to the most critical concentrations of population to supplement existing
subsistence farming land". It also drew attention to the large number of
unresolved appeals to the Supreme Court of Papua and New Guinea and
suggested that extra legal personnel be appointed to clear the backlog.
On the other two burning issues the commission had nothing startling to
say. There was to be no referendum, such as had been demanded by
Mataungan supporters, and no fresh elections.
While asking for acceptance of the commission's report Assistant
Administrator L. W. Johnson was at pains to make clear that "the
Administration does not have a closed mind to the idea of a referendum",

September-December 1969


though such a referendum "would have to be by secret ballot". Johnson then

said that these views "have been supported by a lady who I am sure has the
respect of Lapun and Somare (both members of the Pangu pati) who
mentioned her in their speeches, that is Dr Epstein" .10 This was an intriguing
allusion to the fact that Dr Epstein, who had been originally appointed as
adviser to the commission, but had later parted company with her colleagues,
was said to have wished to publish a "minority" report, which presumably
would have run counter to the orthodox line followed by Connolly. 11 In
mentioning Scarlett Epstein and suggesting not only that a referendum was
a possibility but that a meeting should be held with the very Mataungan
leaders whom the commission had so roundly condemned, 12 Johnson seemed
to imply that the report, except on the question of land, was out of touch
with political realities. 13
One of the most interesting features of the Mataungan affair was the
comment on it by Stipendiary Magistrate P.J. Quinlivan in the case of the
Gazelle Peninsula local government council against Tomot, Rumet and
ToKereku to which reference has already been made. In his judgement
Quinlivan said" ... it is my considered opinion that the multi-racial council
election of early 1969 should have been cancelled and that there should have
been no official opening of the multi-racial council in July for the Mataungan
Association to demonstrate at" . 14 Tomot and some of his Mataungan
associates had addressed the old council on 15 May at the invitation of its
members but after much discussion had left "firmly convinced that they had
lost and that unless their monster march next day could fire the
Administrator into reversing the Tolai Council's phoenix act, the multi-racial
council would come in ... ". 15 In these circumstances Tomot went through
with the march unaware that the council had in fact rescinded its earlier
decision to go "multi-racial". Quinlivan believed that the Administrator
would have paid heed to the old council's resolution but for the fact that it
would have looked like capitulation to a show of force by the Mataungans
in their march through Rabaul on 16 May. Quinlivan's explanation of the
Administration's decision to go through with the election may not convince
everyone but he certainly makes it clear that he believes that the old council's
final resolution was not made under duress. It was he says, "an
overwhelming reversal, which since the Councillors had sent Tomot and his
friends away, was obviously a free decision". 16 Quinlivan's view certainly
conflicts with that of Connolly who suggests that the decision of the council
on 15 May was the result of severe pressure from Tammur, Titimur and
Tomot. 17
During the last three weeks of November and the first week of December
talks were held between the various interested parties and efforts were made
to reach some compromise. Since an immediate referendum was out of the
question and since the Administration recognised the new council as
lawfully elected it was clear that any compromise would have meant a
backing down on the part of the Mataungan Association -which was most
unlikely. The talks were thus doomed to failure. Meanwhile tension built up
as the new council started to issue summonses against tax-defaulters, some


Robert Waddell

of whom had already paid their "tax" to the Mataungan Association which
they regarded as the "true" council.
On 1 December the Association refused to meet representatives of the
Gazelle local government council on "neutral grounds" in New Ireland. On
7 December, a Sunday, violence broke out as bands of Mataungan men
sought out and attacked various supporters of the new council. Two
prominent Tolai pro-council leaders, Vin ToBaining and Napitalai Toliron
ended up in hospital.
At this point Tom Ellis, secretary of the Department of the
Administrator, was reported as having taken over "the control of
Government forces in the area" .18 Many arrests were made and among
prominent Mataungans later jailed were Tomot, Matlaun, Lotu and Rumet.
Oscar Tammur faced a charge of non-payment of tax but his case was
Bougainville - The Copper Project
In the second week of September it was announced that Conzinc Rio Tinto
of Australia had made a new offer to the Rorovanan owners of land required
for the copper mining project. The offer was accepted and the lease was
eventually signed on 1 December. The owners were to get $7,000 a year,
plus $30,000 lump sum for damages to the land plus $7,000 worth in shares
in Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd at the issue price. 19 Although this particular
problem had now been solved the very generosity of the settlement was
certain to generate more difficulties in the Arawa area where a much lower
price per acre was being currently offered to New Guinean landowners.
Napidakoe Navitu
Much of the credit for the obtaining of such good terms for the Rorovanans
must go to Napidakoe Navitu, an organisation formed originally to assist
villagers in their negotiations with CRA and the Administration over terms
for the leasing of land. 20 On 2 October details were released of the
association's constitution. Napidakoe's prime aim was the encouragement
of unity among the people of Bougainville and the advancement of their
economic and social welfare. On the broader front the association intended
to put up candidates for the 1972 elections to the House of Assembly and
would press for "early domestic internal self-government for the Territory".
The president, Paul Lapun, was also a member of the Pangu pati and there
was some speculation as to whether Napidakoe and Pangu might eventually
With the Select Committee on Constitutional Development pursuing its
enquiries under the chairmanship of Paulus Arek, there was a good deal of
comment on constitutional matters. One point on which there was a

September-December 1969


considerable measure of agreement was that power needed to be devolved

from Canberra to Port Moresby.
Ebia Olewale (MHA South Fly) said in Sydney apropos Rabaul and
Bougainville, that the people of the territory were not against the police or
the Administration but rather against the Canberra government. "They
realise that the police and the Administration were only doing what Canberra
wants them to do." 21
In his inaugurallecture22 as Professor of Political Studies at the University
of Papua New Guinea, Professor C.D. Rowley said "The Niugini Public
Service is effectively though not formally an extension of fhe
Commonwealth Public Service, dominated by Australian values and
methods. The real executive is located in Australia, not Niugini." In
suggesting that a number of matters continue to be left to the decision of a
Papua New Guinea legislature and executive Professor Rowley asserted that
there would be two main advantages: not only would the decisions probably
be more realistic but they would meet with a greater degree of support simply
because they were seen to be made by an institution located within the
On 19 October four members of the Pangu pati and one independent
member of the House of Assembly, Percy Chatterton (Moresby), issued a
press statement on constitutional reform. 2' Their main recommendations
were that the Administrator be replaced by a high commissioner responsible
to the Department of External Affairs; that an overseas section of the
Commonwealth Public Service be set up from which officers would be
seconded to the Territory to do jobs which would not yet be done by
members of the Papua New Guinea public service; and that full executive
authority be given to the House of Assembly.
Towards the end of September it became an open secret that the Assistant
Ministerial Member for Information and Extension Services, Joe Paul
Langro, was about to resign mainly because of dissatisfaction with the
ministerial member system. The Administration went some way towards
meeting some of his complaints when they announced on 18 November that
"a ministerial member will exercise responsibility in respect of the functions
of his office jointly with the departmental head .... They may approve
requisitions for services, stores and supplies up to a limit of $20,000 ...
collectively, ministerial members will exercise greater financial authority
in relation to public works through the Administrator's Executive Council". 24
Some disquieting statistics were released by Toliman, Ministerial Member
for Education. It appears that in 1969 only thirty-five per cent of those
children who completed standard II were able to enter form I the following
year, compared with eighty-four per cent in 1965. Furthermore the spread
of secondary education in the Territory was very uneven. In 1968, for
example, fifty-six per cent of children in East Sepik who sat for primary
final examinations were selected to go on to high school compared with only


Robert Waddell

twenty-seven per cent in Manus and West New Britain. There was a similar
inequality between urban and rural areas. Toliman seemed to be suggesting
these tendencies were politically undesirable and that entry into high school
should be by a territory-wide quota rather than by strict competition.
Proposals for improving the standard of education came from the
Advisory Committee on Education whose report was tabled in the House
on 11 November. 25 Its main recommendations were that there should be a
unified education system and a single employment authority for all teachers
and that teachers in approved mission schools should be paid the same
salaries as their Administration counterparts. Shortage of teachers and high
turnover of staff was thought to be the main reason for poor results in schools
-in which only thirty-two out of every one hundred entrants reach standard
VI - and it was hoped that higher salaries and better conditions might
improve matters.
Another remedy for lowering the turnover rate was to employ more Papua
New Guinean teachers and it was encouraging in this context to note that
the first twenty-seven Papua New Guinean secondary school teachers
graduated from Goroka Teachers' College on 27 November.
On the tertiary educational front a major clash occurred between the
Papuan Medical College and the University of Papua New Guinea on the
one hand and the Administrator and the Department of External Territories
on the other. According to Dr J.T. Gunther,26 the university's Vice-Chancellor,
the Administration had up to a very late stage been pressing the university
to give a degree course in medicine; why then should the minister suddenly
decide not to make the medical college a Faculty of Medicine at the
university? The medical college students, who at present get a diploma, not
a degree, at the end of their course, were highly incensed and sent a
deputation to Canberra in an attempt to have the decision rescinded. By the
end of the year there were signs that Canberra might after all relent.


Robert Waddell

Visit of Gough Whitlam

The visit of the Leader of the Opposition, Gough Whitlam QC, to the
Territory was undoubtedly the most significant event on the wider political
stage in Papua New Guinea during the period under review.
Whitlam's acts and words aroused strong reactions. Among the hostile
critics was a reader of the Post-Courier who took him to task for paying
too much attention to the "cries of the radicals, who go south and bask in
the limelight for a few weeks" -a clear reference to men like Albert Maori
Kiki of the Pangu pati, and John Kaputin of the Mataungan Association.
Another accused him of being detached from reality. "To suggest that Papua
New Guinea will be ready for independence by 1976 is like saying that the
moon will be ready for mass population in the same year." To these expatriate
critics were added the voice of the Papua New Guinean local government
councillors in the Western Highlands. According to one of the pressmen
accompanying Whitlam, "The councillors said they would reject any form
of home rule or independence. This was because they equated it with the
withdrawal of Australian participation in the Territory." 1 This idea that selfgovernment means the withdrawal of both Australian personnel and funds
is fairly widespread and the more radical politicians have a hard time
explaining that it is not a correct forecast of what is to come. Tony Voutas,
MHA for Morobe, and a leading member of the Pangu pati, said that
Whitlam "had given assurance that aid to a self-governing Papua New
Guinea would continue at a substantial level under an Australian Labor
Government". The leader of the Pangu pati, Michael So mare, accused
Administration officials of schooling "the people to think that selfgovernment and independence means the exodus of Australians". "Such
talk", he said, "has been used a great deal by many Administration officers
particularly to poison the Highlanders". 2
Whitlam's most controversial speech was made on 7 January at
Matupit Oval at Rabaul at a meeting of the supporters of the Mataungan
Association. 3 It must be remembered that at the time that Whitlam spoke the
Association was probably the persona least grata with the Administration in
the whole of the Territory: its leader, Oscar Tammur, had been slated by the
Connolly Commission and its other well known spokesman, John Kaputin,


Robert Waddell

was anathema not only to the Administration but also to the expatriate
business community and - it must be said - to many fellow Tolais of the
Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain; it was also the case that twenty-four
members oftheAssociation were serving jail sentences of up to six months
on charges of having struck members ofthe Gazelle Peninsula (multi-racial)
In his speech to an audience of more than 11,000 Whitlam promised his
listeners that if there was a change of government in Australia at the next
general election Labor would "let New Guineans govern themselves",
"appoint a New Guinean as Administrator of New Guinea" and "appoint
some New Guineans as District Commissioners". Whitlam labelled the land
arrangements in the Gazelle Peninsula as "old-fashioned" and "unfair" and
promised that in future New Guineans would be able to make their own laws
about matters of this kind. He warned Mataungans against violence. "We
do ask you particularly to be orderly and well behaved, not to make
disturbance or let people hit each other or bash each other." "You can only
make good laws in Parliament in the House of Assembly. You can't make
good laws by violence."
In a statement made in Port Moresby on 11 January, Whitlam said "I
deliberately avoided any expression of opinion whatsoever on the issues of
the multi racial council, taxes or jailings". The Post-Courier, however,
reported him as saying to the Mataungan members "I support you. I wish
you well in your fight ... ". He was also reported as telling a deputation from
the Gazelle Peninsula (multi-racial) Council he hoped the Administration
would reconsider and abolish their council. 4 On 9 January Whitlam added
fuel to the fire by visiting three leaders of the Mataungan Association who
were serving prison sentences for assault: these were Damien ToKereku,
president; Daniel Rumet, vice-president and Melchior Tomot.
On his return to Canberra, Whitlam asserted that the recent resignations
of the Police Commissioner, Ray Whitrod, and the Assistant Administrator
for Services, L.W. Johnson, 5 were the results of disagreements within the
Administration. In making this assertion Whitlam was merely giving public
expression to a widely held private suspicion that Whitrod had clashed with
the Secretary of the Department of the Administrator, Tom Ellis, over the
handling of the Rabaul incidents. Johnson also clearly did not see eye to
eye with the Administration over the handling of the Mataungan Association.
In addition it was widely supposed that neither man took kindly to
continuous interference from Canberra. 6

Select Committee on Constitutional Development

In February members of the Select Committee on Constitutional
Development went to Canberra to discuss matters with politicians and senior
members of the Department of External Territories. Paulus Arek, the
committee's chairman, said "We will find out from the Department of
Territories what powers they would be prepared to delegate to Port
Moresby". 7 Although such an approach no doubt displayed a firm grasp of



real-politik it seemed strange to some that the committee should have to

find out what Canberra was prepared to concede before they discovered what
the people of Papua New Guinea wanted. A former member of the House
of Assembly, Ian Downs, alleged that the committee's members had been
told that the Gorton government would not underwrite the fragmentation
of the country by offering a blank cheque to all and sundry seeking an
independent status. The Canberra cheque was clearly endorsed "For one
nation only". On 14 April at a meeting at Magarida in the Central District
Arek echoed these sentiments when he said that "Both Papua and New
Guinea could get individual independence; but we do not want that at all". 8
This was also in line with the administrator's speech over Radio
Bougainville on 20 February 1969 when he was said to have asked the people
whether they thought the Australian government would like to pay for
separate parliaments, development banks, armies and universities for every
group, if the territory were to split up into different countries. 9
As the Select Committee went on its way it became increasingly clear
that the people whom it visited were ill prepared to discuss the complex
questions posed to them. Less than 800 copies of the questionnaire were
available and these were duplicated a week before the committee set out on
its travels. Since the postal services have to battle against great odds to get
the mails through to remote and indeed not-so-remote places it is not
surprising that in many instances the committee arrived to find the
administration officer, the chairman of the local government council and
other opinion formers totally unprepared for the occasion. It also became
clear that very few people had any background knowledge of federal and
unitary, presidential and parliamentary systems of government; neither were
they competent to judge the rival merits of unicameral and bicameral
legislatures. It might, however, be argued that the committee's main function
was educational; that its purpose was to impart rather than gain information.
As Arek said in the House of Assembly "I come from a district where a lot
of people do not have the slightest knowledge of what constitutional changes
are or what a ministerial member is .... I feel it is all up to each of us as
elected members to go to them with this information, to discuss these matters
with them and then present their wishes to the House" .10 A factor which lent
an air of unreality to the committee's tour of the territory was the growing
suspicion that the Australian government was going to announce its plans
for the implementation of self-government well before the committee was
due to present its report in early 1971. It also seemed likely that the date
for self-government would be well in advance of that desired by the majority
of those Papua New Guineans whose opinions were sought by the
Political Parties and Pressure Groups
During this period the Mataungan Association of New Britain and the
Napidakoe Navitu of Bougainville continued to hit the headlines. A writer in
New Guinea 11 suggested that Bougainville secession was by no means dead


Robert Waddell

and deplored the fact that the conduct of a referendum was beyond the means
of the Navitu. In March, however, the secretary of Napidakoe Navitu, Barry
Middlemiss, announced that 16,000 voting slips had been distributed in
Bougainville and that the 11,000 which had been completed and returned
showed "overwhelming support for the complete break with Papua and New
Guinea". 12
New political parties that appeared or threatened to appear were the
Independent Members' party - or whatever its name may turn out to be and "Compass". The formation of the first-named had been on the agenda
for many months but nothing concrete had been achieved; however in
January in Singapore Tore Lokoloko and Sinake Giregire, both ministerial
members, announced that the party would be launched within three monthsY
Lokoloko said it would be modelled on the Australian Country party and
would represent the rural interest. It would include among its members
cultivators, planters and businessmen of all nationalities. In spite of
Lokoloko's confident words no such party did in fact emerge over the
succeeding four months.
"Compass" - standing for "combined political associations" - was the
brain-child of John Watts, MHA for the Western Highlands. 14 Its basic policy
was to work steadily towards the establishment of Westminster democracy
in the territory. In keeping with the supposed conservatism of the
Highlanders, "Compass" was in no hurry to attain self-government and
preferred to leave decisions in the hands of the Administrator aided by his
Executive Council and under the guidance of Canberra. It also proposed that
no decision about independence should be made without the prior approval
of the Highlanders whose wishes should be ascertained by means of a
The Pangu pati made history by bringing out in April the first number of
what was hoped to be a regular monthly newspaper. PaiJgu Pati Nius is an
eight-page publication. Its aims are stated to be:
To provide news on important events in government, industrial relations and
business in Niugini.
To inform the public on the aims and policies of the Pangu Pati. To give an
independent view of political events in Niugini.
To serve as a means of political education.

The party hoped to circulate the paper to villages, local government

councils and other community organisations and to offer to people at the
village level a viewpoint different from that presented by the
Administration's radio stations and newspapers which were often the only
sources of information available.
For a paper which was published by an "extremist" political party 15 the
tone of the leading articles was very sober unless one rates as "extremist"
any mention of the rapid approach of self-government.



The "Weeden Report" on Education

The report of the Advisory Committee on Education in Papua New Guinea,
known as the "Weeden Report" after the name of its chairman, W.J. Weeden,
was made public towards the end of 1969. On 16 February 1970 the Minister
for External Territories, C.E. Barnes, announced that the Australian
government had accepted all its main recommendations and that these would
take effect on 1 July 1970. This meant that the territory would have a unified
education system. higher standards of teaching and scholarship and eventual
near-parity in salaries between mission and government teachers in member
In the proposed system non-government schools could choose to
participate either as members, associate members or "affiliated" bodies.
Members would receive the full grant-in-aid but would not be free to control
the appointment and dismissal of their teachers.
Associate member schools could reserve up to a quarter of their teaching
positions for persons "within a specified category" but their teachers would
be paid "at two-thirds of the rate appropriate for local teachers with the same
qualifications in Administrative schools". 16 Affiliated schools could have
"complete control over the appointment and dismissal of their teachers" but
would "receive a Government grant-in-aid equivalent to one-third of the
salaries their certified teachers would earn if they were in member schools" .17
Although the authors of the Weeden Report and the Director of Education
were at pains to deny it, it seemed likely that many mission schools would
eventually lose their individuality under the new scheme.
Brian Harrison, a lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea, pointed
out that the "individuality" of a mission school did not depend on the amount
of formal religious instruction given but upon the personality and religious
commitment of the staff. If the school could not afford to lose part of the
grant-in-aid it would be unable to control staffing and this would inevitably
lead to loss of "individuality" . 18 A more serious probable result of the
implementation of the recommendations of the Weeden Report will be the
withering away of less efficient schools in backward rural areas and a
blooming of schools in wealthier areas. This is because a school cannot
become a full or associate member unless all its teachers are persons who
have "satisfied the conditions for registration as a teacher and whose name
is inscribed on the register of teachers". Schools whose staffs are not up to
this standard are given two to three years to get their teachers certificated
and registered but it seems quite clear that a small but significant percentage
will not make the grade. They will then get a small subsidy or none at all
and will be forced out of business. One community which fully grasped the
significance of the report was the Roman Catholic church in Bougainville.
The church has had until recently a near-monopoly of education in
Bougainville and also a considerable degree of autonomy within the general
structure of the church in Papua New Guinea. The Roman Catholic mission
in Bougainville stated that the report meant that the Administration would
have complete control of their schools. 19 The hostility of the church in


Robert Waddell

Bougainville towards the report will undoubtedly add fuel to the flame of
secessionism in that island.

Status of Papuan Medical College

On 23 February 1970 the Minister for External Territories, C.E. Barnes,
announced that the Papuan Medical College would after all become a Faculty
of Medicine at the University of Papua New Guinea. Barnes has been under
considerable pressure for some time to change his original decision. The
pressure came from the students at the college who threatened strike action
and from the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor ofthe university, Dr J.T.
Gunther, a former Director of Public Health in the Territory. Barnes made
it clear that he had reversed his decision on condition that a certain measure
of control could be exercised by the Department of Public Health to ensure
both that expenditure was not excessive and that the curriculum was
"appropriate to the Papua New Guinea situation". 20
Status of Administrative College
On 2 February the Administrative College was renamed the Public Service
Training Centre. Gerald Unkles, chairman of the Public Service Board, said
that this was because the institution existed solely for the training of public
servants. Many of the staff and students, however, felt that the change meant
a loss in status. Under the former principal, David Chenoweth, the college
had acquired the status of a tertiary institution in which some of the senior
students were not only being taught bureaucratic and magisterial skills but
were being given some insight into the political difficulties of what has been
termed "development administration". Just after Chenoweth had been
shunted off to the Localisation Section of the Public S.ervice Board there
was a small demonstration by the students against conditions in the college.
The next day a dozen students were sacked. They were reinstated a day later
but from that moment on an edict went forth that the word "student" should
be replaced by "public servant under instruction". Many people deplored
the demise of the "liberal" tradition at the college but were not surprised
that the Administration should see fit to deflate somewhat an institution
which had numbered the begetters of the Pangu pati among its earlier staff
and students. 21
Two events of interest on the labour front were the revitalising of the Port
Moresby Workers' Association and the setting up of a board of inquiry into
rural wages. At an election held on 11 February, Albert Maori Kiki,
secretary of the Pangu pati, became interim chairman of the Port Moresby
Workers' Association. Other Pangu men elected to the interim committee
included an expatriate electrician, Uwe Lilje, who is also secretary of the
Pangu pati branch in the University of Papua New Guinea. The Pangu pati



now controlled three of the four main unions in the district, namely the Port
Moresby Workers' Association, the Building and Construction Industry
Workers' Union, and the Waterside Workers' Union; the fourth was the Staff
Association of the University of Papua New Guinea.
The setting up of a board of inquiry into rural wages was partly the result
of Whitlam's arguments with Gorton over the wages paid on plantations.
Whitlam asserted that the workers were paid $5 a month while Barnes
countered by saying that with other benefits such as food and lodging the
real wage could be assessed at about $20 a month. Subsequently it was
conceded by William McMahon on 5 May 1970 in the House of
Representatives in Canberra that wages in other Pacific territories were
substantially higher than current wages (however calculated) in Papua New
Guinea. 22
After an initial protest over its composition- it contained no workers'
representative- the board went about its work and will eventually produce
a report and recommendations.
Immigration Policy
The University of Papua New Guinea figured prominently in a controversy
over the granting of permits to two Indian academics, Mahommad Idris and
Dr I.H. Khan. The former, who was already a member of the staff, having
already obtained a new three-year contract with the university, then applied
for a renewal of his residency permit. There followed such an undue delay
that the Staff Association took up Idris' case and was told that the matter
had been referred to the Minister for External Territories. When eventually
Idris did get his permit it was not for the full period of his contract.
At about the same time serious trouble arose over the appointment of
Dr I.J. Khan to a post as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political
Studies at the university. When selected for the post Dr Khan applied for a
residency permit on 17 December 1969 in good time to take up his
appointment on 1 February 1970. By mid-March 1970 Khan had received
no permit or any word from the Department of External Territories, nor
had Barnes given any explanation to the university. Under great pressure
from the university's Council and Staff Association, not to mention the
territory's Administrator, and the Australian Labor Party, Barnes said that
the Australian government had an obligation to see those appointed to
the staff of the University of Papua New Guinea were not "people who
promoted views and attitudes antagonistic to the peoples ofthe Territory".
Barnes was also reported as saying that he had a duty to see that Papua
New Guinea avoided the sort of racial problems now arising in other
countries. 23
In answer to this the Staff Association pointed out the absurdity of the
notion that two Indian academics would upset the "racial balance" in Papua
New Guinea. On 17 March the House of Assembly unanimously passed a
motion asking the Australian government to give the Administrator's
Executive Council more say in deciding immigration policy. 24


Robert Waddell

Urban Local Government

The proposal to establish local government councils in Port Moresby, Lae,
Rabaui and Madang, by i July 1970 was made in August 1969. 25 Two months
later citizens' consultative committees were set up to decide upon boundaries
for both wards and councils, number of representatives and their terms of
office, and "any other matters which the Committee feels warrants special
consideration prior to the proclamation of the Council". "The main functions
of the councils are the provision of garbage and sanitation services, parks
and gardens, and the administration of cemeteries. Later on the council, if
it wishes and it if is competent, can take over other matters such as road
maintenance which the administration handles." 26
The consultative committees were to submit their reports by 19 December
1969 so that the councils could be established by July 1970. By the end of
April 1970 the reports were still not completed and there was every prospect
that the councils would not be in existence until January 1971 at the earliest.
The main obstruction was the Port Moresby Consultative Committee
which insisted on examining and questioning the whole structure of local
government. Port Moresby differs from the other three towns in that large
areas within the proposed boundaries were communally owned land held
by Papuans. There is also a growing immigrant and squatter problem which
has largely been ignored by the Administration. The committee's contention
was that a system of rating could not be applied equally to all land in the
area. It further proposed that problems such as the regulation of housing,
law and order and the provision of basic services, particularly to the
immigrant settlements, should be within the province of the proposed
council. For these purposes, the committee argued, the proposed local
government structure was clearly inadequate. The committee's stand was
backed by various local church and community organisations as well as by
Port Moresby's MHA, the Reverend Percy Chatterton. By the end of April
it looked as if the Administration would postpone the setting up of town
councils until 1971 and would also probably allow for a "hut-tax" in place
of a system of land rating. On the most important issue, however - the
powers of the councils - the Administration seemed likely to stand firm.
The chairman of the committee estimates that the population of Port
Moresby will be in the region of 250,000 by 1990; it is a safe bet that the
great majority of this population will be non-European; one can only hope
that they will not by that time be ill-housed, ill-serviced, unemployed urban

The Public Service

The prospect of a quickening of the pace of localisation has disturbed many
public servants. The chairman of the Territory's Public Service Association
pointed out that the rate of resignation from the Service was alarmingly high
or a little over twice as high as anticipated by the Commonwealth Actuary.
Resignations were attributed to lack of confidence and the absence of official



provision for future employment. On the other hand the majority of officers
could not afford to resign and were likely to try to hold onto their jobs for
as long as they could: this, the president argued, could impede localisation
because there would "be no inducement for many overseas officers to put
themselves out of a job by training a local replacement".
Gerald Unkles, chairman of the Public Service Board, came under fire
for his handling of an important piece of "localisation". A vacancy arose
for the post of assistant secretary in the Department of Social Development
and Home Affairs. Out of the various applicants R.R. Bryant, then Chief
Electoral Officer, was selected. This move enabled Simon Kaumi, a Papua
New Guinean and at that time Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, to be
promoted one step to take Bryant's position. Eleven appeals were lodged
against Bryant's promotion and the Promotion Appeals Committee
unanimously agreed that there were three officers better qualified than
Bryant to fill the vacancy. But the Public Service Board eventually confirmed
both Bryant's and Kaumi's promotions.
In a statement the council of the Public Service Association said that it
had no objection to Kaumi's promotion- in fact it felt he should have been
promoted a year before: what it did object to was the "inadequate and
dilatory way in which the Public Service is being localised".
Unkles deplored the fact that the Association had chosen to attack him
personallyY This implied that his two Papua New Guinean colleagues took
no part in making the corporate decisions of the Board - which was quite
untrue. In any case the appeals committee did not make "recommendations";
it made reports. It was not for the committee to determine appeals, that was
the task of the Public Service Board, the statutory authority appointed to
manage the Public Service.
In the context of localisation one may note that sixty-one Public Service
cadets are undergoing tertiary education in the Territory: thirty at the
university, mostly taking Arts degrees, and thirty-one at the Institute of
Technology at Lae, studying mechanical and civil engineering, architecture,
surveying and business studies and accountancy. 28


Robert Waddell

A New Administrator
The announcement on Tuesday, 5 May, that Warwick Smith, Secretary of
the Department of External Territories, was to be transferred to the
Department of the Interior and that he would be replaced by David Hay,
the current Administrator, and that Hay's place would be taken by the former
Assistant Administrator, L.W. Johnson, was received with widespread
satisfaction in the Territory. During Hay's incumbency the political climate
had changed with unbelievable rapidity and there was a general feeling that
the new situation required new men with new approaches; particularly was
this so in respect to the problems of the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain
which seemed incapable of solution except by someone who was not
committed to the course upon which the Administration had already
embarked; Johnson was such a man. In spite of all official denials it had
been widely supposed that he and the Commissioner of Police, Ray Whitrod,
had resigned over the handling of the Rabaul situation and Johnson could
certainly not deny that he had as good as repudiated the findings of the
Connolly Commission in a debate on the matter in the House of Assembly. 1
Johnson's assumption of the post of Administrator did not usher in the
millennium but it marked a radical change in style. The formality of the Hay
era was gone; it seemed unlikely that the Territory would see any more selfdesigned uniforms. With the informality of dress went an easier and more
relaxed approach to people and problems. The previous Administration had
frequently been too rigid in its handling of delicate situations: it had allowed
itself to be committed in advance to a particular line of action and then been
unable to change course when necessary. It had also ignored the advice of
people on the spot, as in the case of the holding of elections for the new
multi-racial council which became the centre of all the controversy in the
Gazelle: it is said that the majority of the field staff was against proceeding
with the elections but this advice was overridden by staff officers in Port
As a former Director of Education in the Territory, the new Administrator
was also expected to advance the cause of education and in particular to
adopt a less hostile and suspicious attitude to tertiary institutions such
as the university and the Administrative College than seemed to inform

May-August 1970


the previous regime. In his first interview as Administrator-designate 2

Johnson said that he proposed to appoint Papua New Guinean district
commissioners as soon as he could and this statement clearly implied that
the process of localisation of the public service was going to be speeded
up. If the inference was correct one could look forward to greater support
for the Administrative College and for the progressive ideas of its newlyrestored Principal, David Chenoweth, who seemed to be one of the few
people in the Territory to grasp the difference between "administration" and
"development administration".
Above all Johnson seemed to be ready to take the role of Trustee seriously
by placing as much responsibility for decision-making upon the Papua New
Guineans, where it rightly belonged. He placed the major responsibility for
solving the Gazelle Peninsula's problems upon the Tolais themselves 3 and
it certainly looked as if this policy might succeed. Again, in his first official
speech as Administrator on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Local
Government Association, Johnson outlined a plan for setting up area
authorities which would constitute a second tier between local government
councils and Port Moresby. 4 These new authorities would take over many
of the functions of the district advisory councils, which at present were
chaired by district commissioners and contained only appointed members.
Such a move, if approved by the House of Assembly, would lead to a further
increase in the area of Papua New Guinean decision-making.
Johnson's final asset was that he was a good "House of Commons man."
He had been a member of the second House of Assembly and had too much
experience of the institution to treat it with anything but the respect to which
it was entitled. He knew how basically well-intentioned and moderate the
"radicals" were and he would presumably attempt to harness their energies
to productive ends.
There were still, of course, a few reactionaries around in high places
("still two to go" said a distinguished retired public servant after the reshuffle) but it appeared that a way may have been found of diminishing their
influence. Under the new "open diplomacy" policy it seemed that the public
was going to be allowed to have details of impending controversial
legislation before it reached the House of Assembly. In this way a good deal
of informed discussion could take place in advance so that defects could be
put right and objectionable sections removed before the bill hit the floor of
the House. The Public Order Bill was a good example of this new technique.
So was the Administrator's general policy of inviting suggestions and
constructive criticism from the public on any topic.

The Gazelle Peninsula

On Thursday, 7 May, some prominent Tolais formed a group which they
called "Warmaram" - a word meaning "mediate" - whose object was to try
to heal the splits among the Tolai people which had arisen because of the
antagonism between the new multi-raciallocal government council and the
Mataungan Association. 5 The chairman of Warmaram was Sam Piniau, the


Robert Waddell

manager of Radio Bougainville; the vice-chairman, Robin Kumaina,

formerly a prominent member of Mataungan and currently deputy registrar
of the Savings and Loans Society in Lae; Paulius Matane of the Public
Service Board was appointed secretary. Among the other members of the
committee were two doctors and two priests. Piniau made it clear from the
outset that those of the committee who were public servants had been given
leave of absence from their normal duties in order to carry out these
mediatory functions; he also said that the group would ask for financial
assistance from the Administration. The whole project was expected to last
about three months. The formation ofWarmaram, fully reported in the PostCourier and in Australian papers, caused very little comment.
Towards the end of May a public servant handed New Guinea News
Service a copy of a letter alleged to have been written by the Director of
Information and Extension Services, L.R. Newby, to the manager of Radio
Rabaul. In the letter Newby said that Warmaram, not being a political party,
was to be allowed as much time on the air as it wanted; the same facilities
were not to be extended to Mataungan as it was "a group with political
ambitions". The most damaging part of the letter, however, was the following
paragraph: " ... it was mentioned during a conference [between Newby, one
of his senior officers, and the Administration] on 8 May that Warmaram
could be regarded as a scheme devised by Robin Kumaina to improve his
position if he should wish to stand for the next House of Assembly election
in 1972. The Administrator [D.O. Hay] said this was a risk to be taken. He
said a major concern of the Warmaram Group was to reduce and destroy
Kaputin's standing". 6
Although at the time it looked as ifWarmaram and its laudable intentions
had received a death blow, the wrath of the House of Assembly in an ensuing
debate was directed largely at the public servant who "leaked" the letter and
John Ryan who published it. Outside the House people were surprised, not
that the Administration played politics but that it did so with such lack of
finesse. In the long run it was the Administration which was damaged by
this incident and not Warmaram: the latter was seen as a body of men of
good and sincere intentions whom the Administration had tried to
manipulate for its own dubious purposes. Significantly Warmaram continued
to receive support from other Tolais, notably from university students among
whom Rabbie Namaliu - one of the first graduates - was prominent. It
should be noted that none of these students was noted for his admiration of
colonial rule. The Students' Representative Council of the university also
passed a resolution on Monday 8 June strongly supporting Warmaram. The
president of the Students' Representative Council, Maurice Thompson, a
New Hebridean, said that the Council was in favour of any move to
encourage unity in the Territory.
Towards the end of June the first rumours of an impending
confrontation between Mataungan and the Administration over land near
Keravat in the Gazelle Peninsula began to be heard. In September 1969 the
Administration had bought three plantations from Coconut Products Ltd for
over $150,000. The intention was to add these 9,500 acres to other

May-August 1970


government-owned forestry land to make about 14,000 acres in all which

would be made available for distribution to Papua New Guineans in blocks
of about twenty acres.
By the middle of July the Land Board was considering some 800
applications for the first 300 blocks. By this time, however, the leaders of
the Mataungan Association had encouraged its members to take over empty
blocks and "squat" on them. The Association's claim was that two of the
estates, Japlik and Vunapaladig, belonged to a Tolai named Tirupia and could
not therefore be bought and sold and parcelled out by the Administration.
On 17 July talks were held in Rabaul between the Administration and
Mantaungans but achieved no constructive result. The Association refused
to order its members off the Vunapaladig Estate. On Monday, 20 July, the
East New Britain District Commissioner, H.W. West, and John Kaputin faced
each other. West had some 500 policemen with him and Kaputin some 3,000
Mataungans lurking in the forests behind him. Part of the dialogue between
the two men went as follows:
West: Kaputin, I am telling you the Administration has clear title to this land
and should anyone dispute that, they have got recourse to the courts of law.
If you dispute ttiis there is no reason why you cannot take the matter and
contest it in the courts.

Kaputin: Yes, we will contest it by marching on to that road and you can
kill off as many as you want to. We will come here to resist and let the
Australian people know what you are doing to us.
West: The Australian people already know what we are doing in respect to
this land here. We are making available land to the Tolai people to help them
solve their land problems.

Kaputin: You are not giving the land to the Tolai people. What you want is
what you have theorised in your political ideology and you are shooting off,
killing off thousands in Vietnam because you won't support that and you are
doing the same thing right here. 7

In the end, after reports that Canberra had given the Administration
permission to use troops of the Pacific Islands Regiment if necessary and
after a group of prominent churchmen and politicians had implored the
government not to use force, 8 the problems were solved for the time being
when the police quietly evicted several hundred squatters. No force was
required. The employment of large numbers of police aroused the usual
adverse criticism but further ammunition was quite unnecessarily provided
for the critics when C.E. Barnes, Minister for External Territories, said that
it was the Administrator's Executive Council which had asked for police
reinforcements. This assertion was roundly repudiated by three members
of the Administrator's Executive Council and subsequently by Prime
Minister Gorton himself.9
As soon as Johnson arrived in the Territory to take over from Hay he
announced that, as foreshadowed in Gorton's policy statement of 6 July,


Robert Waddell

powers were going to be devolved to the districts. "We do not see why there
should be uniform development" he said in an evident reference to the
Gazelle Peninsula where some of the Tolai leaders, including Kaputin, had
been demanding a measure of self-government. 10 He warned, however, that
there could be no question of giving increased responsibility to the Tolais
in their present divided state. It was up to them to sort out their differences
and decide exactly what sort of council they wanted. This, it should be noted,
was the first time that any Administration official had suggested that the
status of the present multi-racial council might be negotiable; the previous
Administrator had always adopted a "What I have written, I have written"
Johnson visited Rabaul on 5 August and had talks with members of the
multi-racial council, Tolai "big men" and even some members of the
Mataungan Association. The Association's chairman, Damien ToKereku,
had said that there was no point in meeting Johnson, "just another
Administration official implementing the Australian Prime Minister's
policies"; 11 however, the vice-president, Daniel Rumet, did meet Johnson
and apparently was prepared to discuss the situation "with all parties" on
certain conditions. It was not, however, certain ifRumet was really speaking
for the entire Mataungan executive. Meanwhile another major land problem
was solved when village leaders, brought together by Johnson, came to an
agreement as to how plantation land bought by the Administration should
be divided and used. 12
By the end of August the multi-racial Gazelle local government council
was in dire financial straits. It had over $40,000 owing to it in taxes for the
1969-1970 financial year and as much again for the current year and was
quite unable to meet many of its commitments. In particular the allowance
for primary education in East New Britain was likely to be cut from $40,000
to $1 ,000- a reduction which would entail the closing down of some primary
schools. 13 The council had started to prosecute tax defaulters and in midAugust Oscar Tammur, MHA for Kokopo, and ToKereku, respectively
patron and chairman of Mataungan, had received summonses. Although a
decisive confrontation looked imminent it was thought the Association was
likely to put off the evil day yet again by challenging the validity of the
Gazelle council in the courts, a move which was certain to embarrass certain
senior members of the Administration who had wondered all along if the
council had been properly constituted. As for the council itself, any doubts
it may have had earlier about its own legal standing appeared now to have
vanished; under its new and vigorous president, Hosea ToWartovo, it was
clearly in no mood to truckle to the Mataungan Association.

The Fourth Waigani Seminar

Anyone who was unaware of the change in political climate and of the
strength and articulateness of political and economic nationalism in the
Territory had no excuse for continuing to be ignorant after the Waigani
seminar had run its course at the University of Papua New Guinea. This

May-August 1970


seminar which lasted from 9-15 May was labelled "The Politics of
Melanesia" 14 and could well have been a dull and highly academic affair.
In fact it was no such thing. The speakers had been brilliantly chosen by
Professor Rowley, Head of the Department of Political Studies, to include
representatives of the Mataungan Association, the Napidakoe Navitu and
millenarian movements as well as student leaders, members of the Pangu
pati and Trade Union organisers. To these practical politicians was added a
lively collection of professional economists, political scientists,
anthropologists and public servants. With unbelievable obtuseness the
Administration discouraged public servants from attending the seminar and
in one or two cases actively forbade them to do so. The one or two Papua
New Guinean public servants who were allowed to deliver papers had
obviously had their scripts censored to the point of inanity by Canberra and
their patent unease contrasted strongly with the apparent freedom of
expression accorded to delegates from neighbouring colonies. The seminar
ended with a paper delivered by George Warwick Smith, the departing
Secretary of the Department of External Territories. The lifeless content and
delivery of the paper itself and the low-keyed and soporific filibuster which
followed in the ens!ling question-and-answer session dramatically illustrated
the great gap between the lively potential of this country and the prosaic
but no doubt well-intentioned approach of Canberra and Konedobu.
The fourth Waigani Seminar did a number of important things: it revealed
the extent of Papua New Guinean disenchantment with the Administration
and the strength of anti-white feeling; it brought out into the open the aims
and motivations of the various radical political movements; it made many
of the audience (which sometimes numbered over 400) realise that
nationalism was nothing new or alarming but a phenomenon with which all
colonial powers have had to come to terms; above all it gave Papua New
Guineans confidence in their ability to cope with the problems of selfgovernment and independence. The Territory in some ways is a small place
where the influence of a small number of educated people is
disproportionately great; before the Waigani Seminar took place one doubts
whether many of this elite group had thought that self-government was
anything more than a rousing Whitlamite slogan. Now for the first time
responsible, sober- and often Melanesian -people were telling them that
self-government was not only feasible but should be acquired without
unnecessary delay. As far as the politically-minded Papua New Guineans
were concerned the last psychological barrier was down and it was no longer
possible for anyone to argue that Papua New Guineans were not ready to
make their own decisions.

Constitutional Development
What with the controversy raised by Whitlam's visit, and the speculation
aroused by Gorton's impending tour in July, constitutional development was
a much discussed theme in the Territory's political circles. To this discussion
was brought the expertise of the speakers at the Waigani Seminar and the


Robert Waddell

subsequent seminar on constitutional development sponsored by the Council

for New Guinea Affairs.
On the subject of a federal versus a unitary constitution most
non-Papua New Guinean opinion seemed to be opposed to federalism. Thus
Hay on the eve of his departure said: "My experience has convinced me this
country is going to need strong central Government. Within that framework
there is ample room for the exercise of more authority by councils or groups
of councils in the districts." 15 Likewise Warwick Smith, then still Secretary
of the Department of External Territories, noted that the Papua and New
Guinea Act "as it stands seems to point towards development along two
lines, firstly a parliamentary system, secondly a unitary system". !kenna
Nwokolo, a Lecturer in Law at the local university, drew from the depths
of his Biafran backround to warn against the dangers of federalism; he gave
four reasons for reJecting a federal solution: that it would rouse "dormant
primordial attachments"; that it would be too expensive; that it would
"deprive the people of the territory of whatever experience they have
gathered in the art of government"; that it would "give fodder to secessionist
movements" .16
In favour of federalism was the Democratic Labor party (DLP) in
Australia which in a hopelessly confused article in the August issue of Focus
wrote "Surely a federal system of largely autonomous States is the antidote
against an African-type tragedy". The DLP seemed to think that the case of
the federation of Nigeria proved its point.
Rumours about the imminence of self-government were quickly dispelled
by the Prime Minister, John Gorton, when he gave his keynote speech in
Port Moresby on 6 July. 17 Gorton made several important points. He was
strongly anti-secessionist ("we would like to see [the Territory] advance as
a unit towards nationhood"); he was a gradualist ("I do not speak of selfgovernment in 1972 or in any calendar year that you ma,y care to mention,
because you are on a road towards self-government"); and he pledged
financial support for Papua New Guinea after self-government and
independence with the proviso that the Territory would eventually be
expected to "look after itself'.
Gorton also announced that ministerial and assistant ministerial
members would be given increased responsibility. Details of these changes
were given in a statement by the minister, C.E. Barnes on 6 July. 18 On certain
specified matters ministerial office holders would have power to make final
decisions, and legislation in these areas would not be blocked by the
Conmronwealth. There would also be a devolution of decision-making from
Canberra to Port Moresby, either to the ministerial members or to the
Administrator's Executive Council. Among the subjects affected would be
"education- primary, secondary, technical, but not tertiary- public health,
tourism, cooperatives, business advisory services, workers' compensation,
industrial training, posts and telegraphs, Territory revenue including
taxation, price control, coastal shipping, civil defence, corrective
institutions, registration of customary land, land use, leasing of land and
town planning and urban development". On the other hand the Australian

May-August 1970


government will continue to be fully responsible for "the judiciary, law and
order, internal security, ex .ernal affairs, international trade relations, defence
and some matters which Commonwealth Departments administer directly
in the Territory such as Civil Aviation". Significantly, the Australian
government "will also continue to carry special responsibility for projects
necessary to give effect to the Development Programme" or Five Year Plan. 19
Paulus Arek, chairman of the Select Committee on Constitutional
Development, welcomed the proposals and said that they had been the
subject of discussions between the committee and the Commonwealth
government for some time. "In fact the Committee regards the proposed
changes to have been part of its work ... ". Arek went on to say that the
committee would now be free to "examine the more fundamental
constitutional questions on which the future form of a government may be
based". In spite of Arek's belief that his committee was not superfluous it
looked increasingly as if Papua New Guinea was going to be treated like
Henry Ford's early customers and be offered any kind of constitution
provided it was parliamentary, unicameral and unitary.

Public Order Bill

On 12 August the Territory's Secretary of Law, L.J. Curtis, gave details of
a bill which would strengthen the Administration's hand in dealing with
riotous politicians, illegal squatters and vagrants.
The bill would enable police to prevent meetings and processions being
held where these were "likely to lead to disorder" and to prosecute
trespassers who "wrongfully remained on land or premises after being asked
to leave"; the bill would also enable magistrates to send back to their home
districts "vagrants or people whose words or actions are likely to lead to
disorder". As far as one could judge the bill was designed to deal on the
one hand with possible future activities of the Mataungan Association and
on the other with vagrancy and the squatter problem in the towns.
The proposed bill received an extremely hostile reception from some local
politicians and some of the staff and students of the university. 20 The head
of the Law Faculty, Professor A.B. Weston, produced a legal commentary
on the bill in which he pointed out that apart from anything else the bill
gave citizens in certain cases no chance of an appeal to the courts against
arbitrary acts of the police. Other critics saw the provisions for repatriating
vagrants as an unwarranted attack on freedom of movement or alternatively
as a futile, Canute-like attempt to stem the inexorable drift from the country
to the towns. On the other hand Basil Fairfax Ross, President of the Planters'
Association, seemed to think the measure might help to keep labourers on
the plantations. 21
During the next two weeks the bill received unprecedented publicity.
It was discussed unofficially by members attending a meeting of the
Australian University Law Schools Association in Brisbane; it was the
subject of close scrutiny by the International Commission of Jurists in Port
Moresby. A committee headed by Professor G. Sauer produced a report


Robert Waddell

which was later handed to the Administrator; and it was discussed in a closed
meeting between Curtis and the staff and students of the University's Law
On 26 August the Administrator announced that his Executive Council
would consider amendments to the bill. "There has been widespread
discussion of the Bill and the administration is anxious that its provisions
should be fully understood and discussed by the community at large. That
is why we have taken the unusual step of releasing the Bill to the public
before it has been introduced in the House." 22 But it was not only enquiring
members of the public who obtained copies of the bill; copies were also
distributed by the Director of Education to high schools together with a
commentary specially written for the occasion by Professor Weston. 23
On 27 August a meeting was held in Hohola, a suburb of Port Moresby,
to protest against the bill. 24 The sponsors included several university
students who announced that they were members of a recently formed black
power movement. A great deal of militant talk came from speakers like John
Kasaipwalova and Leo Hannett but the chairman, Albert Maori Kiki, would
not commit either himself or his trade union followers specifically to antiwhite action. Although the general opinion on the university campus was
that black power was more appropriate to the Aboriginal situation than to
the situation of Papua New Guineans on the verge of self-government and
independence, there could be no mistaking the strength of the anti-white
sentiments expressed at Hohola and earlier at the fourth Waigani Seminar.
In such an atmosphere measures such as the proposed Public Order Bill
seemed to be almost purposely designed to create the very situations which
they were presumably intended to prevent. Fortunately by the end of August
it was clear that if the bill did reach the House of Assembly it would do so
in a heavily-amended form.


Robert Waddell

A Spokesman for the Administrator's Executive Council

The key to an explanation of many of the political happenings of the last
four months of 1970 was the appointment, in the last fortnight of
August, of Tom Leahy (MHA Markham) as spokesman for the
Administrator's Executive Council. According to an irate Tore Lokoloko,
in an interview on the local ABC programme "Contact" on 26 August, the
Administration (or Australian government) had intended simply to
nominate Leahy as spokesman. It was only under pressure from elected
members of the Administrator's Executive Council that the Administration
agreed that an election should be held. In the event Lokoloko stood
against Leahy and lost by five votes to three; the official members did not
vote. Lokoloko and others were angry that a Papua New Guinean
had not been chosen for the position, particularly as the spokesmanship
had been widely - but misleadingly - advertised as an embryonic
prime ministership. Very soon, however, the limitations of the position
became apparent. Firstly, the spokesman was the voice not of his own
but of the Administrator's Executive Council. Secondly, the council
was by no means united, consisting as it did of a heterogeneous, fortuitous,
collection of individuals, some of them officials with an allegiance to
Canberra, others elected members with a variety of divergent political
views. It was moreover afterwards said the Administrator, not the
spokesman, was the chairman of the counciL Most important of all, the
spokesman had no kind of coherent political party organisation linking him
either to his fellow council members or to the rank-and-file in the House
of Assembly.
In the event Lokoloko may have been glad that he was only elected
deputy spokesman. The position of spokesman turned out to
be both ambiguous and unenviable. Members of the House of Assembly,
moreover, were dissatisfied by the way the innovation had been made. The
House itself had not been consulted beforehand and neither had the Select
Committee on Constitutional Development as its chairman Paulus Arek
made quite clear in a speech in the House. 1


Robert Waddell

Political Parties
If in one way Leahy's appointment as spokesman was something of a damp
squib, it certainly had important, possibly unintended, effects in other
For some time now the Administration had been trying to encourage the
growth of a conservative, middle-of-the-road political party or
intra-parliamentary faction with enough members and enough discipline to
form a majority in the House of Assembly. In January 1970 Messrs Lokoloko
and Giregire announced confidently, in Singapore, that the so-called
Independent Members' group in which they and W.A. Lussick were
prominent, would shortly form itself into a fully-fledged political party.
Hitherto the only intra-parliamentary group with any consistent record of
voting as a bloc had been the Pangu pati but there seemed no prospects of
its being able to command enough support in the House to form a majority.
When therefore it appeared that the loosely-knit, amorphous Independent
Members' group might become a cohesive party with a parliamentary
majority at its command the Administration did what it could to promote
this happy event. It is said that the Administration tried hard to persuade a
prominent Independent - it may have been Tei Abal - to assume the
responsibilities of leadership and to demonstrate that the new party had
enough cohesion to become the first indigenous government in a selfgoverning Papua New Guinea but no leader was forthcoming and the scheme
collapsed. Furthermore, by the end of 1970 the Independent Members' group
was moribund and its members had either become truly independent or
joined new factions.
Personalities and personal ambitions played a large part in the dissolution
of the Independent Members' group. In the centre of the complex web Leahy,
the newly appointed spokesman, was trying to create a.bridge to connect
himself and his supporters in the Executive Council to the rank-and-file
members of the House outside.
The obvious bridge, or so it seemed in August, was the Independent
Members' group, which contained not only Executive Council members like
Tei Abal, Sinake Giregire and Tore Lokoloko but also influential
"back-benchers" like Wally Luss1ck, Julius Chan and a number of
conservative Papua New Guineans. It had been expected that there might
have been some collusion between Independent members in the council and
those outside but if there was it came to an untimely end on 24 September
when Leahy, supported by the other members of the council, voted against
Lussick's bill to set up a select committee on air transport. Lussick had
apparently been counting on Leahy's support for the bill and felt badly let
It was in the weeks following this incident that at least four parties, all
led by former "independents", were founded. The first and most significant
one was the Compass party which included Tom Leahy, Sinake Giregire,
Andagari Wabiria and Kaibelt Diria, all of whom were ministerial or
assistant ministerial members. The name "Compass" was borrowed from

September-December 1970


an association which had been formed earlier in the year by John Watts,
MHA for the Western Highlands. The exact relationship between the two
Compasses was not entirely clear but both organisations had much the same
programmes, namely the expansion of economic and educational
opportunities allied to a slow and orderly political progress towards selfgovernment and independence.
The meeting at which the new Compass was formed was held at Minj in
the Highlands at the end of October and was said to have been attended by
three hundred leading Highlanders. It was afterwards said by newspaper
reporters and other witnesses that trucks belonging to the district
administration and a plane belonging to Dennis Buchanan, MHA, an airline
owner, were used to transport many of the participants to the meeting.
Prominent Independents who did not attend the Minj meeting included
Lussick, Neville, Lokoloko and Oala-Rarua. None of these had declared his
hand by the end of the year but it certainly seemed very unlikely that
Lussick, for one, would join Compass. After the 24 September incident
Lussick was apparently in no mood to join a party in which Leahy was a
leading figure.
The second political party which arose from the ashes of the Independent
Members' group was the People's Progress party. Led by Julius Chan (MHA
Namatani, New Ireland) and Warren Dutton (MHA North Fly), the party's
initial eleven parliamentary members contained ten former Independents.
Tei Abal said that he hoped the People's Progress party would cooperate
with Compass but there was no sign, by the end of 1970, of any formal
association between the two parties.
The third party to emerge was the Papua New Guinea National party
whose founder, Thomas Kavali (MHA for Jimi in the Western Highlands)
had once been a member of the Independent Members' group. Kavali and
Siwi Kurondo, an assistant ministerial member, were the only MHAs in the
party, but it was said to have quite an influential following outside the House
and there were several university students on its executive committee. An
interesting feature of the party was that its founding marked a genuine
attempt to bring Highlanders and coastal men together. It was evident that
leading student politicians were becoming conscious of the need to diminish
internecine rivalries and to work for a measure of political unity in the
The net result of all this political activity was that by the end of 1970
Compass had a majority of the elected members of the Administrator's
Executive Council. The question still remained whether the party could
muster a majority in the House and if so whether it was willing and able to
establish effective liaison between the "cabinet" and "backbenchers". If it
could succeed in doing this the Territory would be able to take a good step
forward in its political development.

Public Order Bill

The widely-circulated draft Public Order Bill received further adverse


Robert Waddell

criticism in September from such diverse individuals and organisations as a

joint committee of the Roman Catholic and the main Protestant churches, the
staff of the New Guinea Research Unit of the Australian National University,
the human rights sub-committee of the Council of Social Services, Port
Moresby trade union leaders, K.E. Beazley, the Australian Labor MHR, and
the editors of the Financial Review and the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier.
The bill was brought before the House of Assembly on 8 September by
L.J. Curtis, Secretary of the Department of Law, who announced that he
would propose twelve amendments. After an initial debate the bill was
referred to a committee of the House and then brought back to the House
for further debate on 11 and 18 September. After seven and a half hours of
debate the bill was passed by fifty votes to eighteen, but only after twentyseven amendments had heen macie to it. Opposition to the bill came from
Oscar Tammur, the Mataungan leader, the nine members of the Pangu pati
and eight other MHAs including Thomas Kavali, the young Highlander who
later founded the Papua New Guinea National party and Sabumei Kofikai,
a prominent Highlander of the older generation who had a son at the
University of Papua New Guinea. Having been amended to include
provisions for appeal to the courts against possible arbitrary acts by the
police, the bill in its final form, though not entirely satisfactory to its liberalminded legal and political critics, met with much readier acceptance than
did the original draft. It should be noted, however, that the vast majority of
the MHAs approved of the general intention and tenor of the bill and by no
means shared the qualms of the critics, many of the most articulate of whom
were expatriates.
Constitutional Development
Two important statements were made by Paulus Arek (MHA for Ijivitari),
chairman of the Select Committee on Constitutional Development. The first,
on 3 September, outlined some proposed constitutional changes; the second,
on 17 November, outlined "the sort of arrangements which might be likely
to exist during internal self-government". The Select Committee came in
for its fair share of adverse criticism during the period and the two statements
just referred to serve as good iliustrations of the dilemma in which it found
itself. The committee's role was not clear. To some it was just a fact-finding
committee charged with "seeking the true consensus of the opinion of the
people on vital issues"; to others it was a body whose duty it was to advance
constitutional development; to yet others it was seen to have a tutelary
function as an agent of political education. The members of the committee
became frustrated and angry men as time went by, largely as a result of this
lack of definition. Those who thought the committee should be the initiators
of constitutional changes became angry when Canberra or Konedobu
announced forthcoming changes ahead of the committee or made innovations
without even consulting the committee. The committee's proposals for a
middle tier of local government, for instance, were foreshadowed by the
Administrator before the committee's third interim report was tabled in the

September-December 1970


House of Assembly on 3 September; 2 again the announcement that a

spokesman was to be appointed for the Administrator's Executive Council
was made without any prior consultation with the committee. On the other
hand those who thought the committee should be a mere passive receptacle
of public opinion became annoyed when it failed to report the public's views
accurately or else tried to alter them to suit the taste of the committee. An
example of the latter type of behaviour may be found in Arek's statement
of 17 November when he reported that the committee suggested that the
Territory be called "Pagini" in spite of the known fact that this particular
name was placed last but one in a public opinion poll sponsored by the
The committee for all its faults certainly provoked discussion of political
matters and perhaps this was after all its main function. In retrospect it will
probably be seen that the committee was more or less committed to a certain
line of constitutional advance- a middle-of-the-road progress towards selfgovernment - and was hoping to give its final recommendation legitimacy
by involving "the people" in its deliberations.
Arek's statement of 17 November was later incorporated in a widelydistributed pamphlet entitled "Tour by Select Committee on Constitutional
Development" which also contained a list of questions which the committee
would put to the public. The questions were couched in the form "The
Committee suggest that there should be ... : Do you agree with this? If not,
what do you suggest?" All but four of the questions were to do with the
composition of the House of Assembly and the Administrator's Executive
Council; the remaining four questions dealt with suggestions for a name
(Pagini) for the country, a national flag, a unitary constitution and a date
for internal self-government. No mention was made of the plans for the
extension of local government.
The proposals concerning the altered composition of the council and the
House were far from radical: official members were to be retained; the
Administrator was to remain in the council; regional electorates were not
only to be retained but their number increased. There was here no startling
change in the status quo and no hint of the "internal self-government by
1972" which so many observers had predicted. In taking this line of action
the committee was probably reflecting the views of most of its members as
well as public opinion, which was plainly not in favour of sudden change.
Public Service
The period under review was a black one for the public service and the
programme - if indeed it existed - for its localisation. In September S.M.
Foley, the District Commissioner for Mount Hagen and an official member
of the House of Assembly, announced that the number of qualified council
clerks produced by the local government staff college at Vunadidir in 1970
would not be sufficient to fill staff vacancies in councils and would not even
be sufficient to "meet losses from resignations and dismissals" let alone the
demands of an ever-expanding local government council system. Foley


Robert Waddell

stated that no councils would be able to carry out a full range of functions
without trained staff. 3
On the credit side, six Papuans and New Guineans were appointed to
permanent posts as district officers in the Department of the Administrator.
These were the first such appointments. Two days later it was announced
that Pauli us Matane, a member of the Public Service Board, would be the
first Papuan or New Guinean to become a head of department on a permanent
basis. The department in this case was a new one, the Department of
Business Development.
A month later the Public Service Board came under heavy fire from the
Public Service Association (PSA) for twice rejecting the recommendation
of the Promotions Appeal Committee that a former PSA president, John
Greville Smith, be appointed Crown Solicitor. The Association removed its
representative from the appeal committee thus blockmg the consideration
of further appeals and demanded that Unkles, the Public Service Board's
chairman be replaced. The Board retaliated by saying that it was not obliged
to follow the recommendations of the appeal committee and that the latter
could function- albeit much more slowly- without the participation of the
Public Service Association. The situation, however, became much more
serious when it was announced that the Council of Commonwealth Public
Service Organizations had decided to declare a black ban on the Territory's
public service. In the same week the Public Service Board aroused more
controversy by decreeing that in future new contract officers and those who
had renewed their contracts after 18 November 1970 would not have the
right to appeal against promotions of other officers and that this right would
be confined to permanent and local officers only.
To the Board's assertion that this move would assist the progress of
localisation the Public Service Association retorted that the Territory could
ill afford to lose the services of repatriated officers who. might be panicked
into leaving Papua New Guinea prematurely.
Discontent reached its climax on 1 December when Unkles delivered a
paper at a seminar on management at the Public Service Training Centre
(formerly the Administrative College) in Port Moresby. In the paper Unkles
described the Territory's public service as "second class" and castigated
some of its members for unpunctuality, disloyalty and illegal and unethical
actions. The speech caused a great deal of resentment but the clamour was
stilled on 4 December when C.E. Barnes, Minister for External Territories,
announced that Unkles would not be renewing his contract and that his
position would be filled by Sere Pitoi, a Papuan member of the Board who
had previously served as acting Director of the Department of Posts and
Telegraphs. Sere Pitoi's appointment did not, however, alter the attitude of
the Public Service Association to the question of appeal rights and one of
the new chairman's first tasks would be to formulate a clear policy for
localisation, a policy which would make it plain whether promotion was
going in future to be based on merit regardless of nationality or on the
principle that preference should be given wherever possible to Papuans and
New Guineans.

September-December 1970


The Gazelle Peninsula

The dispute in the Gazelle Peninsula of East New Britain remained
unresolved by the end of 1970 and there appeared to be no solution in sight
to the problem of the Tolais and their neighbours.
In September students at the university urged the Mataungan Association
to seek a compromise at the forthcoming talks between interested parties
to the Gazelle dispute. The talks were scheduled to take place on 16
September but as the day approached, first John Kaputin went to Australia
to attend Vietnam moratorium rallies, thus depriving the Mataungan side
of its most vocal leader, and then a council clerk was assaulted by a
Mataungan supporter and the council decided to call off the talks altogether.
A meeting was, however, held on 16 September between supporters of both
sides and a recommendation was made that the Administrator-in-Council
should revoke the multi-racial basis of the council. In response to this
recommendation the Gazelle Local Government Council voted
overwhelmingly in favour of revoking the original proclamation. The
president of the council, Hosea ToWartovo, then appealed to the people to
pay their council taxes now that the cause of the original quarrel was soon
to be removed. At this point Oscar Tammur announced that he disagreed
with the council's latest resolution and said that it was an Administrationinspired move. The council should be abolished, he said, and replaced by a
committee constituted by the Tolais themselves. ToKereku, the Mataungan's
chairman, said that there was only one solution: "the complete cancellation
of the council with a referendum among the Tolai and non-Tolai people here
on what type of organization they desire. We must be free from
Administration control and the Council is not."
When the council's resolution was put to the Administrator's Executive
Council the latter refused to make any quick decision. The matter was an
extremely delicate one and the council members were not prepared to
commit themselves at this stage. Meanwhile the Administrator continued
to hold private talks with representatives of the various parties. For its part
the Gazelle council was still short of revenue and had to appeal to the
Commonwealth Trading Bank for a secured loan of $10,000 to meet
maintenance and contract bills.
Towards the end of November the Administration's patience with the
Mataungan Association ran out and Ellis, head of the Administrator's
Department, attacked Tammur in the House and laid much of the
responsibility for the Gazelle Peninsula troubles at his door. He accused him
of wilfully holding up the resettlement of landless Tolais on land which the
Administration had purchased at Japlik, Vunapaladig and Matanatar. Ellis's
stand was backed by the Administrator who asserted that the solution of land
problems was being thwarted by "one or two individuals". 4
By this time Tammur himself was serving a thirty-day sentence in lieu
of a $30 fine for non-payment of council tax. Much to his dismay Tammur
served only half his sentence. An anonymous well-wisher in Canberra paid
the fine and Tammur was released. Tammur's indignation was shared by


Robert Waddell

Kaputin who saw this move as an attempt by the Administration to "draw

the teeth from Tammur's protest". 5 Tammur then tried to return to prison
but was, in his words, "chased out ... like a dog". 6
The year ended with the Administrator appealing to the Mataungan
president to show "a spirit of unity and harmony" 7 and the East New Britain
District Commissioner H.W. West warning the Matuangan Association that
if it set up its own council on the Gazelle it would "not be a legally
constituted body, and as such would not be able to receive grants or
subsidies". 8
Economic Development

More progress was made in the endeavour to involve Papuans and New
Guineas in the commercial and industrial life of their country. On 24
September a Bill was introduced the aim of which was to set up an investment
corporation. The object of the corporation was "to provide for an equity
holding by eligible persons in major enterprises in the Territory financed or
largely financed by capital from outside the Territory or financed or largely
financed, or controlled or largely controlled, by persons other than eligible
persons ... ". In this context "eligible person" means "a native", the
Administration, the Development Bank, a local government council, a
society registered under the Cooperative Societies Ordinance, "or any other
group or body ... declared by the Administrator in council ... to be an eligible
person ... ". If passed the bill would have at least two important effects. It
would in the first place enable Papuans and New Guineans to have
representation on the board of foreign companies by virtue of the size of
the Investment Corporation's holding in those companies; secondly it would
enable Papuans and New Guineans of modest means to invest in foreign
companies through unit trusts, investment companies and other institutions
set up by the corporation.
There was no question, said Tony Newman, the Assistant Administrator
(Economic Affairs), of "compulsion on any company to sell shares to the
corporation" . 9 Even more desirable than the promotion of financial
participation by Papua New Guineans in foreign enterprises was the
promotion of business enterprise by Papua New Guineans themselves. In
this connection Ebia Olewale of Pangu (MHA for South Fly) had two
constructive suggestions. He advocated that the Administration should give
foreign businesses a timetable for the localisation of their enterprises and
that "a national development corporation should be established where the
principal function would be the promotion of Papuan and New Guinean
businesses". No move was made to implement Olewale's first suggestion but
presumably the Administration thought to satisfy him on the second point
by establishing a new Department of Business Development. According to
Johnson and Unkles the department would comprise the existing divisions
of cooperatives, extension and business training and management of the
Department of Trade and Industry. It was later announced the head of the
new department would be Paulius Matane, then a member of the Public

September-December 1970


Service Board.
On 9 November the Administrator, L.W. Johnson, warned foreign
business men that they must "serve the needs of the country" and not be
"purely exploitive". If they did this there would be "no reason at all why
the normal political evolution of this country towards self-government and
independence should affect business enterprises in any way - unless to
stimulate them ... ". 10 On the very same day Lussick, in the House of
Assembly, attacked Pita Lus (the Pangu MHA for Maprik) for suggesting
that the Administration should protect rural areas from foreigners, ask local
government councils to cut down the number of business licenses to
expatriates in rural areas, and give priority to Papua New Guineans in
commercial and light industrial activities in the towns. Lussick condemned
the suggestions as being "clearly discriminatory and racist"; he was
supported by Tei Abal and Tom Leahy, leaders of the Compass party, who
both said they wished to see inter-racial harmony and cooperation in the
task of economic development.
Diametrically opposed to the views of the Compass party was John
Kaputin, one of the Mataungan Association's leaders, who regarded all "such
terms as partnership, multi-racialism, coalition and so on" with suspicion.
Quoting Kenneth Kaunda, Kaputin went on "all such terms ... mean one
thing and one thing only. And that is white supremacy." Such an a attitude
expressed very neatly the Mataungan rationale without any help from the
Administration or the Europeans or the Chinese. Kaputin put his theories
into practice by helping to establish the New Guinea Development
Corporation, a purely local enterprise, for which by the end of the year he
claimed to have raised almost $30,000. 11 The intention was that the
organisation should be registered as a public company early in 1971. Kaputin
was of the opinion that the stimulation of foreign enterprise and investment
could only serve one main purpose - namely to provide the country with
an alternative source of revenue to the Australian grant and thus enable the
Australian government to cut Papua New Guinea loose from the mother
country; it could "never attend to the basic social, political and economic
development of the people" .12 Both Kaputin and Lus made valid points and
it was sad to see how many intelligent people of all races failed to realise
that there was an urgent need for "discriminatory" practices in both the
political and economic fields.


Robert Waddell

The Tolai Cocoa Project

One of the stranger stories to come out of the Gazelle Peninsula of East New
Britain in recent times is that of the Tolai cocoa project. The story acquired
a few new twists during the period under review.
Briefly, the project was started in the early 1950s in order to give
guidance and shape to the rapidly-expanding indigenous cocoa-growing
industry. It became clear fairly soon that central fermentaries would be
required and that the finance needed for setting these up would be beyond
the resources of the New Guineans. Cooperatives were not going well in
the peninsula at the time and it was in those days impossible to give large
advances to individual New Guineans; it was therefore decided to channel
the required loans through the newly-formed native local government
councils which were statutory bodies to whom money could be lent. The
loans, one should note, were not repaid by the councils - the latter merely
acted as guarantors - but by the growers themselves; at no time was it
suggested that the councils actually owned the many fermentaries which
were subsequently built.
A board of management was formed to supervise the project and New
Guineans were trained to manage the fermentaries and to keep the accounts.
In essence the intention was that local growers should bring their wet beans
for processing to the nearest fermentary where they would receive an initial
payment of a penny or two per pound under the going market price. Later
on, when the beans had been processed and sold, the grower would receive
a second payment. This second payment represented the surplus left after a
fixed percentage had been deducted in respect of interest and capital
repayment charges on the bank loans. This was not an easy scheme to "sell"
to the Tolai growers but the latter soon grasped the essential details and
showed a remarkable anxiety to repay the loans as quickly as possible. The
banks were delighted and offered further loans at lower rates of interest. At
this stage there can be no doubt that the growers thought the fermentaries
would be their property as soon as the loans had been repaid. "The Project
manager ... [said] the then current loan repayment rate of 25 per ton was
equivalent to growers receiving 1.2d per pound of wet beans extra as equity
in the fermentaries" wrote an academic observer; he added "the Agricultural



Officer said the Administration was studying the question of how to

determine the equity in the Project of individual growers and the form of
asset ownership when the loan was repaid". The writer then commented:
"This has never been done." 1 We can now add that it still remains undone.
In 1969 when the Gazelle Local Government Council became multi-racial
one of the points which the Mataungans seized on was the fact that the entire
assets of the Tolai cocoa project had been handed over to the new council
without any prior consultation with any of the interested parties. The
Mataungans had two main grievances: they objected to the presence of a
European councillor and plantation owner, John Dunbar-Reid, on the board
of a project which had been set up exclusively to help Tolai growers;
secondly, and more seriously, they argued that the new council had no more
right than its predecessor to dispose of the assets of the project; these, they
said, belonged to the growers. In the months that followed the Mataungans
started to boycott the fermentaries to such effect that the throughput in
October 1969, for example, was 218,608 lbs compared with 2,054,389lbs
in October 1968. 2
In late 1970, in an attempt to save the situation, the Administration
announced that it. was going to sever the connection between the project
and the council by setting up a new private company, the New Guinea Island
Produce company, to take over the affairs of the project. It was generally
assumed that the new company would be an all-Tolai affair but this turned
out to be the case only so far as its board of directors was concerned. In
mid-January 1971 Stanley ToMarita, the Tolai chairman of the company,
announced that 100,000 $5 shares would soon be on offer3 and could be
bought by any "native" (a term which seems to exclude Caucasian or Asian
persons born in the Territory) of Papua New Guinea; this meant, of course,
that it would be quite possible for the lion's share of the equity in the new
company to be in non-Tolai hands. Nor was this all. The president of the
Gazelle council, Hosea To Wartovo, was reported as saying that the only
money the council would get out of the cocoa industry would be a token
payment of $5 when the Tolai cocoa project's assets were transferred to the
new company. Earlier he had said that it was not for the Mataungans or
anyone else to try to take over the fermentaries. These belonged to the
growers through the Tolai cocoa project and now the newly-formed New
Guinea Islands Produce company. The sheer illogicality of the whole
transaction now stood revealed. Assets which admittedly belonged to the
Tolai growers were going to be sold by a council which did not own them
to an allegedly all-Tolai enterprise, shares in which were being offered to
Tolais and non-Tolais alike. Furthermore the $500,000 which was to be
raised was not going to be used to buy the assets of the project from the
growers but to build additional fermentaries: after all, the assets- which,
according to Quinlivan, the stipendiary magistrate in Rabaul, were worth
over $750,000- had already been bought for $5 and even this money had
presumably been paid to the council and not to the growers.
At about this time the Mataungans started to claim compensation of
$625,000 in respect of their members' equity in the assets of the cocoa


Robert Waddell

project. The claim was ridiculed and rejected by the Administration. On 5

March, in a letter to the Post-Courier John Kaputin, a prominent member
of the Mataungan Association, gave reasons for the Association's claim for
compensation. He quoted from Quinlivan's judgement in the case of Gazelle
Council vs Tomot and others: "With the exception of a minuscule
contribution from a European who was helped by the Project, the whole of
the Tolai Cocoa Project was paid for by the Tolais and while the Council
was exclusively Tolai it was convenient to have the ownership vested in the
Council. But it was not a part of the municipal assets or of the patrimony of
this area. There can be no doubt that the ownership is exclusively Tolai."
On 8 March the Administrator said the arguments raised by the Association
were completely groundless. His words were echoed in the House of
Assembly on 16 March by the deputy Administrator, Tony NP.wman, who
said it was patently absurd for Mataungans to call for negotiations: "There
can be no regard for the argument that first you claim what is not yours and
suggest negotiations about ownership". Two days later the Secretary for
Law, L.J. Curtis, said that what was called the Tolai Cocoa Project was "a
scheme under which beans purchased from Tolai cocoa growers are
processed in fermentaries owned and operated by the Gazelle Peninsula
Local Government Council". This statement contrasted interestingly with
the wording used to describe the objects of the New Guinea Islands Produce
company, namely: "To purchase the funds, assets of and to run, manage and
control an unincorporated organization operated by the Gazelle Local
Government Council and known as the Tolai Cocoa Project". 5 The word
"owned" does not appear here.
Towards the end of April, largely as a result of the activities of academics,
lawyers, anthropologists and members of the Mataungan Association, it
became evident that the Administration was beginning to realise that it had
committed, or was about to commit, a serious faux-pas. A sudden hush then
fell upon the scene and nothing more was heard for the time being of the
New Guinea Islands Produce company. There were, however, two
unresolved problems which were bound to return to plague the
Administration. The first concerned the ownership of the fermentaries; the
second concerned the fate of those who had reportedly bought shares, or
thought they had bought shares, in a company whose legal standing was very
much in doubt.
Gazelle Local Government Council
While the debate over the fermentaries was raging ToLiman, the Tolai
Ministerial Member for Education, had secret talks with the Administrator
and was subsequently able to persuade the Administrator's Executive Council
to agree to re-draw the boundaries of the Gazelle council in such a way that
the latter became once more mono-racial. On 18 January ToLiman himself
announced the good news on Radio Rabaul. There was no great enthusiastic
reaction. It seemed that the time had long since passed when such a gesture
might have led to a rapprochement between the council and the Mataungans.



A whole new range of issues, including that of the disputed ownership of

the cocoa fermentaries, had now arisen to widen the rift. In the words of
the Post-Courier's political reporter, James Hall, "the Mataungans have
taken the dispute into a new phase- that of complete opposition to any form
of Administration-established local government". 6 This new attitude was
clearly manifested in the Mataungan's decision to hold elections for a new
council of their own, which was planned to start operating by the end of
May. Political battles of this kind are bound to have their victims. In this
case the victims were the ordinary citizens of the Gazelle, who, whether
they were pro- or anti-Mataungan or simply neutral, stood to lose
educational facilities, first aid posts, and rural development grants for want
of a properly-constituted, authoritative, rate-collecting council.

Constitutional Development
In March the Select Committee on Constitutional Development presented
its findings to the House of Assembly. The progressives, moderates and
conservatives in the committee had obviously found it very difficult to reach
a consensus and_ the report which eventually emerged from their
deliberations was a curious patchwork of a document, full of internal
inconsistencies. Having stated quite bluntly that "the majority of the people
of Papua New Guinea feel that internal self-government should come about
no sooner than during the life of the 1976-1980 House of Assembly", the
committee went on to recommend that "the development of the Territory
be geared to preparing the country for internal self-government during the
life of the next [1972-1976] House ... ".
On the subject of secession, however, the committee was quite resolute.
It firmly repudiated any suggestion that Bougainville or the Gazelle should
be allowed to secede or even to hold a referendum on the question.
As expected the committee plumped for a unicameral parliament on
existing lines. Against expectation regional electorates, in which candidates
had to possess certain minimum educational qualifications, were not only
retained but increased in number from 15 to 18. Again, in response to
widespread popular demand, the number of open electorates was increased
by 13 to 82. The committee also suggested that there should be provision for
having not more than three nominated members in the House but that these
should be chosen by a select committee of the House. If a public servant
was nominated he would have to resign his post in the public service before
taking his seat in the House. The committee decided to allow four official
members to sit in the House. The revised House would thus have 100 elected
members, up to three nominated members and four official members.
The committee further recommended that the Executive Council should
consist of the Administrator, three official members and ten ministers; that
the Territory be called Niugini and its inhabitants Niuginians; and that the
national flag be based on a design submitted by a young school-girl named
Susan Kanike.
All in all, apart from the hint that self-government might come in the


Robert Waddell

period 1972-76, there was nothing startling in the report, and certainly
nothing that suggested that the Papua New Guineans would get very much
more practice in self-government before they were overtaken by events.
Many of the better-educated Papua New Guineans had pressed for the
exclusion of expatriate public servants from the House so that political and
administrative roles could be clearly separated and so that indigenous
members could be allowed to make political decisions.
The Australian government's thoughts on the matter were clearly
expressed on 27 April by C.E. Barnes, Minister for External Territories,
when he said that the Australian government would prepare a programme
for movement to full Territory internal self-government in the period 197276. He added significantly that "a cohesive group of Ministers with the
support of the House of Assemhly after the 1972 elections could be
recognized as a government". 7 There was little doubt in the minds of most
observers that the Compass party (now the United party) was the group
which the government had in mind.

Political Parties
The first four months of 1971 saw the birth of one new party and the
renaming of another but otherwise nothing of great import. If some of the
parties were hoping for financial support from their opposite numbers in
Australia, they hoped in vain. Gough Whitlam, for instance, made it quite
plain that the ALP was not going to back any political party in the Territory.
He did not, however, omit to say where his own sympathies lay. "If I were
living in New Guinea", he said, "I would vote Pangu. It is not a stooge for
Australian companies. Pangu is a national party and finds all its money itself.
The only other party we know about is Compass and that gets its money
from Australian companies and planters." This jibe at the Administrationbacked Compass party did not cut much ice in the Highlands. Many New
Guineans there have interests in common with the expatriate planters and
do not greatly care where the financial support for their party comes from.
Compass in fact had more than financial support from expatriates; one of
the Australian Country party's organisers was sent over to give it advice on
how best to conduct its affairs both inside and outside the House. The June
sitting of the House would no doubt reveal how successful the organiser
had been.
In early February in Wewak a new party, the National Labour party, was
launched. Its organiser was William Hawarri, leader of the Sepik Youth
Movement. Hawarri explained that the party had no connection with the ALP
although it hoped for financial aid from Australian trade unions. The party's
platform was comprehensive and radical and included such things as the
setting of a national minimum wage, free education to high school level,
free hospital services and the return of certain alienated lands to their
original owners.
The National Labour party was only a small party and of all the parties
which had appeared on the scene by the end of April 1971 only the United



party (formerly Compass), Pangu and the People's Progress party looked
like playing any significant part in the next few sessions of the House of
Assembly. If, as was anticipated, the members of the leading parties were
going to be allowed to sit in blocs in the House, the United party, boasting
forty to fifty members, would clearly have a good chance of demonstrating
its discipline and unity and its fitness to provide the first ministry when selfgovernment came. If on the other hand the party failed to stay together it
could prove the salvation of the smaller but more compact Pangu pati, to
whose relatively better-disciplined ranks defectors from other looser-knit
parties with Establishment affiliations might well be attracted.

Town Councils
Urban local government has been introduced to the major towns of Port
Moresby, Lae and Madang (but not yet Rabaul) some twenty years after its
initial proposal. A variety of pressures together with hesitant Administration
policy has successfully stalled its introduction. In 1969, however, Citizen's
Consultative Committees were established and soon after recommended to
the Administration the area, composition and possible structure of these
councils. The committees for Lae and Madang recommended that only
alienated land be included in the council boundaries and thereby avoided
the problem of rating communally owned land. The Port Moresby committee
recommended the inclusion of all land, regardless of ownership, within a
wide radius of the town. In so doing the Port Moresby committee tackled
the wider social and economic problems of rapid urbanisation. It saw the
necessity of an administrative framework to meet the needs of both sectors
of the town; that is, the developed, serviced and predominantly expatriate
sector living on Administration or privately owned land, and the unserviced,
predominantly indigenous sector whose villages and settlements are situated
largely on communally owned land.
Multi-member wards were devised and the system of voting employed
was the familiar "modified preferential" system used in both national
elections. Candidates receiving lowest first preferences were excluded and
preferences distributed until the required number of councillors remained.
Such a method militates against party "ticket" voting.
On 3 April elections were held in the three towns. Large numbers of
candidates nominated (137 for 21 seats in Port Moresby), but the turnout
of voters varied. In Lae and Madang more than sixty per cent of those
eligible voted, while in Port Moresby just over twenty per cent voted. Part
of the explanation for this must be found in the intensity of the campaigns.
A rather curious statement by the Administrator early in February added
interest to the performance of political parties. Johnson said that it was his
belief that local government elections were not the proper place for political
parties "to struggle for supremacy". 8 His statement appeared some time after
parties had commenced organising. He was immediately attacked by Pangu
politician, A.C. Voutas MHA, for breaking the "revered principle of
political neutrality" 9 of the Public Service and later criticised by the


Robert Waddell

independent, Percy Chatterton MHA, for attempting to keep local

government "as innocuous as possible" .10 Perhaps the Administrator had in
mind the mythical non-party political "model" of Australian local
government, or, perhaps he was wary of Pangu politicians who see local
government councils as a means of party building.
Political parties did participate, and with considerable success. In Port
Moresby Pangu fielded both "declared" and "undeclared" candidates and
won 8 of the 21 seats. The campaigns of all candidates were decidedly "lowkey" and as usual issues were scarcely debated and played little or no part
in any councillor's election. Pangu's policy, which was outlined by one of
its successful candidates, Nigel Oram, a Fellow of the University of Papua
New Guinea, and former chairman of the Port Moresby Citizen's
Consultative Committee, included "the enlargement of the activities of the
council" for "the provision of basic services for the whole urban population
and not for a privileged minority", and the establishment of a "ward
committee" system as an important means of social control. 11
Of interest in the polling was the failure of the Ministerial Member for
Labour, Toua Kapena, to win a seat; the low vote for the Assistant Ministerial
Member for Treasury, Oala Oala-Rarua, who won the third seat in his ward;
the easy victory of Pangu's national secretary, Albert Maori Kiki; and the
virtual absence of participation in the election by members of the army. The
Port Moresby Town Council consists of eleven Papuans (six from local
villages, five migrants of long standing in the town); one New Guinean
(Chimbu primary school teacher); and nine expatriates (six of whom may
be described as businessmen and three as professionals). There appears, at
the time of writing, to be a "business" group, a Pangu group and a number
of"floaters"; however, when issues such as land rates, head taxes, provision
of services, and the "squatter" problem are raised, these groupings may alter.
The council will have a large range of problems to deal.with, not the least
of which will be the question of cooperation with the Administration over
matters of finance.
In Lae an intense campaign was fought between the Progressive Citizens'
Association (PCA) and Pangu. The PCA was formed late in 1969 largely
by Chinese and expatriate businessmen with the express purpose of opposing
Pangu. In the usual manner of conservative groups in the Territory it claimed
that it was not a political party but "an affiliation of progressive citizens
with similar ideals and principles" with a five-year programme for the
development of Lae. 12 The result of the election left an evenly divided
council of ten PCA and ten Pangu men, of whom eight were New Guineans,
three Papuans and eight Chinese and expatriates. One of the successful PCA
candidates, Police Sergeant John Fofoe, had stood without first seeking the
permission of the Police Commissioner. A ruling by the Commissioner gave
Fofoe the choice of positions and so he remained inside the police force
and outside the council. His resignation appeared to give Pangu a majority
with which to elect a council president. However at the council's first formal
meeting the Morobe District Commissioner, R.T. Galloway, took the chair,
in contrast to the procedure in Port Moresby where an interim chairman was



elected from amongst the councillors. Galloway immediately ruled that a

Pangu councillor, Brian Bogagu (whom he had sworn in a week earlier)
could not take part in the council, because as a public servant he had not
obtained permission from the Public Service Board. Both these actions of
exclusion were rather surprising. Police officers had previously been local
government councillors in rural areas. The Minister for External Territories,
C.E. Barnes, had announced that "in local government matters, officers of
the Public Service are free to express their views, or if they wish to do so,
to serve on local government councils"Y Besides, the Public Service
Ordinance refers only to restrictions on public servants' participation in
politics in House of Assembly elections. In the ballot for the president,
however, a Pangu councillor defected and the PCA nominee, Pama Anio,
was elected by ten votes to eight.
Campaigning for the Madang Town Council was comparatively quiet with
only a few candidates declaring party affiliations (all Pangu). As in Lae, all
villages were excluded from the new council, although there were a large
number of migrant settlements on Administration land within the
boundaries. Of the eighteen councillors eleven were New Guineans, one was
a Papuan and si)5. were expatriates, including an American Catholic
missionary and a Lutheran pastor. Five Pangu candidates were elected and
there were indications that the United party, which had successfully recruited
members from the nearby Ambenob council, would attempt to persuade Lae
town councillors to join its ranks. The introduction of town councils is a
significant step and is in line with the Administration's policy of bringing
all parts of the Territory under local government. It remains to be seen
whether the councils will be granted the power and autonomy to perform a
developmental rather than a purely perfunctory role.


David Hegarty

National Unity?
The stresses and tensions which mark the transition to self-government and
independence were revealed in recent events. The question of unity or
disunity was raised early in the period under review. On 20 May the
Administrator, L.W. Johnson, issued a statement, authorised by the Minister
for External Territories, C.E. Barnes, "to re-affirm that it is the policy of
the Australian Government to advance Papua New Guinea to internal
self-government and independence as a united country". 1 The only alternative
to national unity, the Administrator forecast, was an inevitable breakdown
into "a collection of tiny, hostile fragments". He explained that in practice
there had been no difference in the legal status between Papuans and New
Guineans since the administrative union of the territories in 1947 and he
warned politicians not to seek political capital in pressing for separate
treatment. The timing of this statement was probably designed to dampen the
heated argument which marked the last days of the March session of the
House of Assembly, but it was probably also an attempt to deflate a growing
Papuan "movement". It did not prevent MHAs raising the question. On the
first day of the June session of the House on a discussion of a "matter of
public importance- political welfare of the Papuan people", Papuan
members, while expressing a desire for unity, criticised the Australian
government for a lack of consultation with the Papuan people on both their
legal status as individuals and their future union with New Guinea. Oala
Oala-Rarua (Central Regional), Assistant Ministerial Member for the
Treasury, was particularly critical of the United Nations' Visiting Mission,
which, he said, had urged unity without any real consultation with Papuans.
Papuans had not been specifically asked whether or not they wanted to unite
with New Guinea. Ebia Olewale expressed concern that the drift toward
unification had gone with Papuans largely unaware of it and without choice.
Bert Counsel, (MHA Western and Gulf Regional), told the House that a poll
which he had conducted showed that many Papuans were opposed to uniting
with New Guinea. They feared that they would lose their identity, receive
less development finance, and have decisions continually made for them by
others. In reply A.P.J. Newman, Deputy Administrator, an official member
and leader of government business in the House, suggested that there were

May-August 1971


hidden implications in Mr Counsel's speech.

Mr Newman: I repeat that it has as a background a suggestion that Papua
has suffered financially and in developmental terms by comparison with New
Guinea. If this is so, I do not make any apology. What I will say is this. His Honour
the Administrator emphasised that, in the interests of development of this
country, perhaps we have tended to concentrate on those potential developments
which will give the quickest possible return to this country. I do not disagree
with this and I defy any member of this Chamber to disagree with this principle.
Mr Chatterton: I disagree!
Mr Newman (continuing): Yes, Mr Chatterton, I would expect you to
disagree, because on more than one occasion you have very clearly expressed
yourself as a socialist. 2
The above exchange tells one little about Chatterton's real ideology but
it certainly reveals the dangers of giving allegedly apolitical public servants
unavoidably political roles. Two days later the Administrator admitted that
there was some basis for complaints about lack of development in Papua. 3
The following day the House passed a motion requesting the Australian
government to consult the Papuan people or their representatives before
altering their status in any way. The motion was carried by thirty votes to
twenty-five; official members did not vote but seventeen New Guineans
voted for the motion and four Papuan Southern Highlanders voted against
it. 4 Paul Lapun (South Bougainville) echoed the sentiments of many
members when he concluded that the motion would have been more
appreciated had it been introduced by a Papuan. Later in the session the
House asked that an all-party committee from the Commonwealth
Parliament should visit Papua to determine the wishes of the people. 5
These moves can hardly be described as separatist although there are a
number of historical factors which contribute to a Papuan regionalism. No
doubt politicians saw political advantage to be gained with national elections
only months away. The moves, however, placed the "nationalist" members
of the House in a difficult situation for a short time.

Violence on the Gazelle Peninsula

Events on the Gazelle Peninsula during the period were marked by several
violent incidents. Fighting between two groups of Highland labourers on a
plantation outside Kokopo resulted in two dead, nineteen injured and 162
gaoled. The removal of a 1,000-gallon tank on loan from the Shell Company
to a Tolai cocoa project fermentary at Rabuana village precipitated two days
of violent clashes between Mataungan Association villagers and police. In
the Kabaira Bay area on Thursday, 19 August, the District Commissioner
for East New Britain, E.J. Emanuel, was murdered. And in the midst of these
troubles a series of earthquakes and following tidal waves caused widespread
damage, flooding and landslides to the north coast of New Britain, resulting
in the temporary evacuation of Matupit Island.
The Rabuana incident is part of a continuing dispute over the


David Hegarty

ownership of the Tolai Cocoa Project. 6 On 28 July an estimated five hundred

Mataungans stoned and harassed a small group of Shell Company employees
and their police escort who were removing a cocoa fermentary tank. Police
reinforcements were called for but were cut off for some time by trees
deliberately felled across the road. On the following day a summons was
issued for the arrest of Peter Urami, a prominent Mataungan leader, who
was alleged to have hindered police during the incident. On Thursday, 1 July,
in a dawn raid on Matupit Island, to serve the summons, the 160-man police
contingent was attacked. They retaliated with tear gas and shotgun volleys.
Mataungan supporters then stormed on to Rabaul's airfield forcing it to close
down. Later in the day a measure of order was restored but Mataungan
leaders claimed that people had been hit by the shotgun fire. Oscar Tammur
angrily demanded that "if people want to fight us then let the Administration
issue us with guns so we can all bt:: atmt:c.l" .7 On Thursday night and Friday
morning police reinforcements were flown into Rabaul but by this time the
majority of the Matupi had gone elsewhere in their canoes. Subsequently
Peter Urami and another Mataungan, Joel Gita, were convicted under the
Territory's new Public Order Ordinance and sentenced to four months' gaol. 8
They are to appeal.
The murder of Jack Emanuel occurred as he attempted to mediate in a
land dispute on a plantation at Kabaira Bay, twenty-two miles from Rabaul.
In mid-June Rasimen villagers pulled up marker pegs, pulled down an office
and evicted workers from the construction site of a new PNG Electricity
Commission power station. The villagers claimed that the land was theirs
despite its sale by Plantation Holdings Ltd to the Commission. Later in June
the Commission indefinitely deferred further work on the power station. 9
The Administrator agreed with the Commission's decision but indicated his
willingness to provide police guards at the site. 10 On 11 August at the request
of the manager of Plantation Holdings, 120 police led by Police
Superintendent G.M. Feeney, and accompanied by Emanuel, moved on to
the plantation and asked a small group of "trespassers" to leave. According
to one report the villagers then left for a meeting while police and plantation
labourers removed crops and building materials. 11 On the morning of 19
August the plantation manager reported that thirty war-painted Tolais were
clearing a bush area and he again called for police assistance_ Emanuel,
Superintendent Feeney and 120 police arrived and, after speaking with a
group of men, Emanuel walked away down a track with one of them. His
body was discovered a short time after.
Police have alleged that several meetings of villagers in the area had been
held in August and that ceremonies were held late into the night of 18
August. It appears that groups of men had been deployed to attract or divert
attention and others to harass police searchers. Women and children had
apparently been evacuated to an offshore islandY
Subsequently twenty-one men were charged with murder; a further
twenty-one were sentenced to six months' gaol for riotous behaviour and a
number of men sentenced to gaol for practising sorcery. Emanuel had been
a member of the Territory's Public Service since 1946 and had served in

May-August 1971


district administration on the Gazelle for eleven years. Tributes emphasised

his calm and patient manner and his willingness to sit down and talk with
villagers. His death underlines the vulnerability of Administration officials
in the period of transition to independence when the legitimacy of colonial
rule is seriously challenged. The Administration responded with a general
toughening-up policy and insisted that no negotiations would be held until
respect for "law and order" was restored. Weapons of all types, including
bush knifes, were collected in police raids throughout the area. Reports
indicated an atmosphere of mutual fear throughout the Gazelle and that large
numbers of people were now paying taxes to the Gazelle Peninsula Local
Government Council.
Other political developments on the Gazelle included the formation of
the Mataungan Association's "private" Local Government Council.
Community representatives had been invited to attend the opening ceremony
on 29 May but most, including Administration officials, refused. Its first
president, Berriona Tolulupa, 62, a retired Methodist missionary, said that
the council would work with the European population. His own role,
however, was "to lead the Tolai people in the fight against the Australian
government so as. to get what we want with eventual self-government" .13
The council has forty-six elected councillors but remains under the control
of the Mataungan Association executive which approves or vetoes decisions
made. Divisions still remain, however, between supporters of the Gazelle
Peninsula Local Government Council and the Mataungan council. Matupit
Islanders evacuated during the earthquakes, for example, rejected substantial
aid offered by the Gazelle Council.
In an earnest attempt to obtain informed advice on Tolai problems the
Administration invited a Canadian anthropologist, Professor R.F. Salisbury
of McGill University, to spend a month with the people and to submit an
advisory report. Professor Salisbury is the author of two books on New
Guinea and recently corresponded with officials on the ownership of the
Tolai cocoa project. His report is expected to be made public later in the
Report of the UN Visiting Mission
The Report of the United Nations' Visiting Mission to New Guinea broke
little new ground on political and constitutional development. The
Administration has responded to some of the recommendations made. The
UN Report endorsed the findings of the Select Committee on Constitutional
Development but advised that, on the question of target dates, "it would be
both prudent and realistic to assume for planning purposes that independence
will be achieved during the life of the Fourth House of Assembly" . 14
Separatist tendencies in Papua and New Guinea could best be answered,
the report suggested, by steady progress towards full self-government and
independence. The formation of proposed area authorities at the district level
to bridge the hiatus between local and central government was seen as a
means to widen political participation. Indications are, however, that the


David Hegarty

Administration either does not share this optimism or that it is not really
prepared to decentralise authority. In noting the relative weakness of
political parties and the possibility that those in existence may solidify on
a regional basis, the report suggested that the Administration "encourage"
the development of at least two nationally organised parties. The
Administration's response has been to arrange for a booklet outlining the
purpose of parties and providing space for individual party statements. The
more rapid localisation of the judiciary was strongly recommended. In mid1971 the judiciary had no indigenous Supreme Court judges, no full-time
indigenous District Court magistrates, and only twenty-four indigenous local
court magistrates. An overall plan for the localisation of the public service
which ensured the selection of skilled expatriates and adequately
compensated those displaced was considered a necessity. A plan scheduled
for presentation to the June session ot the House was apparently rejected
by the Australian Cabinet and yet another committee was established to
report on localisation. 15 The report recommended that political education
should become the responsibility of all teachers, field officers and business
leaders. The report also recommended that the transfer of power to
ministerial members be continued so that a cabinet system could develop.
The armed forces should also be represented in the Administrator's
Executive Council to provide "a focus oflocalloyalty". The report did not
suggest what should be done if a cabinet lacked consistent majority support
in the legislature.
Developments have occurred, however, within the ministerial system
during the period under review, In May, during a visit by the Administrator's
Executive Council to the Morobe District, the Administrator announced that
the Territory no longer had a colonial administration but a Papua New
Guinea Government. The titles of Administration and Ministerial Members
were to become Government, and Ministers respectively. 16 Considerably
more legislation has been channelled through the Administrator's Executive
Council and committees of ministers have been set up to process it. 17
Responsibility for development planning is soon to come within the ambit
of the Administrator's Executive Council. Although the authority of
individual ministerial members has increased during the past months, these
moves have neither clarified their role as policy initiators nor have they
clarified the question of responsibility both collectively and to the
The Trusteeship Council debate on New Guinea in June followed the
usual pattern. The Australian special representative was asked to provide
details of powers still retained by the Australian government and over which
it could exercise its veto. The representative listed twenty-nine main powers
which included the familiar controls over international relations, defence
and security, and the maintenance of law and order, down to such others as
the granting of pardons and the eradication of malaria. The Russian delegate
criticised the Australian government for its lack of a complete assurance to
the people of the Territory that a timetable for independence would be
followed. He pointed particularly to Barnes' statement regarding a "flexible

May-August 1971


position" after the 1972 elections and to the retention of the Administrator's
veto. He may have hit a responsive chord when he also criticised the political
education programme carried out by field officers of the colonial power and
the fact that local government has little real power. The delegate from the
United Kingdom generally praised the work of the Administration and
suggested that it might aid the development of parties by providing transport,
cheap printing facilities, cheap postage rates for party literature and the
allocation of radio time. Adnan Raouf, a member of the Visiting Mission,
thought it necessary to emphasise the need for localisation. It was sad, he
said during the debate, that there was not a single indigenous district
Consistent with its policy that the Council cannot make recommendations
to an administering authority, Australia abstained from voting on the
adoption of the reports. The Council later decided to send a mission to
observe the 1972 elections.

Public Service Decisions

On 20 July the Coociliation and Arbitration Tribunal of the Public Service
granted Papua New Guinean public servants leave fares to their home
districts at the end of every two instead of three years' service. The Public
Service Association argued that relatively frequent leave was essential if
indigenous public servants were to maintain kinship and cultural ties and
were to secure their land rights. The Public Service Board countered that
such a scheme would be too expensive and unlikely to be tolerated by an
independent government. In a written submission Professor Donald
Cochrane, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Politics at Monash
University, who had in 1970 prepared a report on rural wages, warned that
if such leave was necessary then public servants were no different from other
workers outside their home districts. Home ties may be consolidated and
strengthened by such a scheme thus hindering the development of a national
outlook and contributing to political insecurity. The tribunal decided that
the new leave provisions should be subject to alteration by a future authority
and that public servants should meet part of the cost of their fares.
Interestingly these provisions apply only to members of the Public Service
In August the tribunal heard another case which attracted considerable
attention. The Public Service Association represented D.M. Fenbury,
Secretary of the Department of Social Development and Home Affairs, in
an application for a reclassification of his position from a level two to a level
four departmental head. A senior legal counsel from Sydney, V. Watson,
represented the Public Service Board. The case ostensibly concerned the
status of a departmental head: it revealed, however, something of the
extraordinary circumstances surrounding the recent restructuring of parts
of the Administration and of the personal infighting in the upper echelons
of the public service. 18 In the course of his evidence Fen bury claimed that
in mid-1969 advantage had been taken of his absence from the country to


David Hegarty

remove him from his position as Secretary of the Administrator's

Department and to place him in his relatively junior present position. He
had told the then Administrator, D.O. Hay, and the former chairman of the
Public Service Board, G. Unkles, that the move had been clumsy and had
been made in considerable haste and without the knowledge or advice of
many senior officers concerned. Fenbury claimed that "[v]ariation of the
functions of a department does not normally entail abolishing the department
and the position of its permanent head" .19
During the hearing the Public Service Association called a large number
of witnesses who testified to the importance of a social development
department which had to deal with the problems consequent upon rapid
social and economic change. 20 It had become obvious, however, that
Fenbury's department had not been given control over the agencies
(especially local government) necessary to adopt an integrated approach to
these problems. The decision went against Fenbury but the tribunal chairman
recognised that the Department of Social Development and Home Affairs
might in the future become more important.
Yangoru Cargo Cult
An incipient cargo cult in the Yangoru area of the East Sepik District
attracted attention when rumours were reported of possible human sacrifices
to be offered on Mt Turu on the seventh day of July. 21 The cult attracted
further attention when the MHA for Wewak, Beibi Yembanda, announced
his membership and told of the moneymaking powers of the cult's deputy
leader Daniel Hawina. The rumours turned out to be false and the cult
appears to be of a fairly standard type involving the "cargo myth" and
expectations of a changed way of life. 22 Cult leaders believed that geodetic
survey markers placed on top of Mt Turu by United States and Australian
Air Force teams in 1962 had desecrated the home of an important creative
spirit known as a masalai. The removal of these markers, it was believed,
would bring about a vast improvement in garden crops, in the quantity of
game, and of fish in the rivers and streams. The cult leaders were Matthias
Yaliwan, a former policeman and missionary worker (who had worked both
in the mission's power station and aircraft hanger), and Daniel Hawina who
had lived outside his district for some years and who acted as spokesman.
A number of symbols including a large key, a four-sided "Instamatic" flash
bulb, an Agatha Christie noveP3 and a picture of Our Lady were used in
speeches and ceremonies. Early in July it was estimated that the cult had
about 7,000 followers and that it had raised over $20,000. The
Administration's strategy was one of non-interference although additional
police were sent to the area. On 7 July the markers were removed and
delivered to the Yangoru sub-district office and some days later another
marker was removed by a Papuan, John Koe, who claimed to be infusing
the idea of unity in the minds of the people.
Most cargo cults contain elements of potential political significance.
The Yangoru cult expressed a vague rejection of alien authority (and

May-August 1971


particularly that of the missions) and resentment at what was felt to be

European "trickery". The cult was also organised across language and tribal
divisions. Later in July, however, there were some indications that the cult
might be channelled into a more specific political direction. Some of its
leaders were members of the newly-formed "Peli [Hawk] Association"
whose "adviser" is William Hawarri, leader of the National Labour party,
and a probable candidate for the 1972 House of Assembly elections.
Land Tenure
The problem of finding a system of land tenure which will facilitate
agricultural and economic development continues to bedevil the
Administration. Mounting criticism from politicians, academics and church
leaders caused the Administration to postpone most of its proposed land
legislation (which had taken eighteen months' preparation) until after the
1972 election. The proposed land bills were designed to create a new system
of procedures for determining ownership of customary land; to give a series
of land control boards control over transactions in registered land; and to
strengthen the power of the Land Titles Commission - a statutory body
which hears and determines land disputes. 24 Considerable criticism came
from Dr Alan Ward, a visiting Senior Lecturer in History at the University
of Papua New Guinea, who argued that there were insufficient safeguards
against alienation ofland; that land registered in fully negotiable titles could
lead to loss of land rather than to the development of it by indigenous
owners; and that numerous social problems would result, including the
possible creation of a landless class. Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders
suggested that the bills be deferred at least until 1972, and possibly until
self-government, when Papua New Guineans could implement their own
land legislation. Before the bills were eventually withdrawn on 15 June the
Administrator said that the legislation would be reconsidered if passed by
only a small majority of the House; this provided an interesting sidelight
on the operation of the majority principle on such issues basic to Papua New
Guinean society.
Unions and Parties
There were several developments on the industrial scene. The Bougainville
copper project has now reached the end of its first phase and there were
reports of increasing unemployment among construction workers. There was
industrial unrest in Port Moresby in July when waterside workers went on
a week-long strike. One company threatened to evict its striking employees
but, after a compulsory conference between Department of Labour officials,
union representatives led by Gavera Rea and Albert Maori Kiki, and
employers' representatives, the workers agreed to return to work while
negotiations continued. As a result, casual labourers' rates were increased
by four cents to thirty cents an hour and the minimum urban wage for general
labourers was raised from $7 to $8 per week. In the course of the strike


David Hegarty

members of the Miscellaneous Workers' and Clerks' Unions threatened to

strike in sympathy. On Monday, 12 July, when the waterside workers went
back, men at the South Pacific Brewery struck for higher wage claims. In
Lae there were indications that young Pangu pati organisers were attempting
to breathe new life into the Lae Workers' Association.
On the political front presidents were elected for the new town councils.
In Lae the Pangu pati ousted the initial president and installed their
candidate, Boyamo Sali, twenty-two, from the Morobe district. In Port
Moresby the Independent Group nominee, Oala Oala-Rarua defeated the
Pangu candidate, Nigel Oram, by twelve votes to nine, and in the
predominantly Pangu Madang Town Council an uncommitted candidate,
Veva Kopi, from Papua, was successful.
Late in August the United party released its platform anet a list of fortyfive MHAs which the party claimed as members of its parliamentary wing.
The platform reflects both the views of the Highlands members' on
economic development and education and some of the hobby-horses of the
party's influential European members. "The United Party believes the people
will be ready for self-government and independence when there is a strong
corps of educated leaders with experience in government, when the economy
is strong enough to support the country toward future developments, and
when the majority of Papuans and New Guineans understand the workings
of government." 25 It would seem most likely that political events will outstrip
this objective. The party platform also expresses the intention to retain field
officers of the Administrator's Department as advisers, to develop a strong
and well equipped police force, and to encourage the participation by women
in politics. But, above all, "The Party believes that self-government and
independence can only come through law and order". 26


David Hegarty

House of Assembly
At the election in 1968 for the second House of Assembly only twenty-three
of the forty-six MHAs who presented for re-election were successful. It is,
therefore, understandable that debates and proceedings in the final two
sessions of the House, in September and November 1971, rarely attained a
high level of exci~ement. Although elections for the third House were only
some months away, few individual members attempted to use the House for
private campaigning. There was, however, an interesting exchange between
supporters of the two major parties which indicated to some extent the level
of intra-parliamentary party politics.
On 8 November, Tim Ward (Esa'ala), read from a document purportedly
signed and distributed by the president of the Nawae Local Government
Council in the Morobe District. 1 The document told of how a Pangu pati
ship had arrived in Lae and its passengers - supporters of Tony Voutas had distributed money and cigarettes. When the Pangu pati gained
independence, the story ran, it would give people cars, houses, food, sealed
roads, and would only require forty cents tax! United party members then
attacked Pangu for fostering cultist activities. Their laughter was stilled,
however, three days later when Voutas revealed that the Nawae Council
president was a strong United party supporter. Later in the session, Pangu
leader, Michael Somare, produced a letter addressed to Highlands school
and college students and said to be written by Anton Parao, general secretary
of the United party and a man with some teachers' college training. The letter
warned students to beware the "smart coastal fellows" who are moving for
the top positions and who classify Highlanders only at the "grass cutting
level". Somare accused Parao's letter of deliberately promoting regionalism
while Thomas Kavali (MHA Jimi, New Guinea National party) attacked the
hypocrisy behind the title "United" party. On each of these occasions rather
sober speeches were delivered by Paul Lapun (South Bougainville) and Oala
Oala-Rarua (Central) who counselled an end to bitter party conflict. The
introduction of the budget for 1971-72 in the September sitting produced
little reaction from MHAs and public alike. 2 Total budgeting expenditure for
1971-72 is expected to be $208,062,000- an increase of nine per cent over
that of 1970-71. (This figure excludes an estimated $36 million for overseas


David Hegarty

officers' allowances and benefits paid for by the Commonwealth and which
is no longer part of the Papua New Guinea budget.)
The general pattern of previous budgets was repeated with increases in
allocation to individual departments largely absorbed by general salaries
and the increased cost of goods and services. As for revenue estimates the
Commonwealth grant-in-aid of $30 million and development grant of $40
million remain static; total loans are expected to raise $33 million; and an
internal revenue of $80 million. is expected. An additional $4 million is
expected to be raised by increased import and excise duties on beer, spirits,
and tobacco; an increase of 2.5 per cent to a rate of twenty-five per cent in
company tax; and a small lift in charges for motor vehicle registration. More
than fifty per cent of the total cost of government is now being borne by
Papua New Guinea.
The Chamber of Commerce grumbled at the increased rate of company
tax but more general criticism came from the young member for South Fly,
Ebia Olewale. Olewale accused the Administration of taking the easy way
out by leaving the first self-governing government the unenviable task of
increasing taxes. He described it as a status quo budget which determined
no priorities in economic and social development (a criticism which people
were to make of the revised Development Programme introduced on 31
August) and one which included "no effective effort ... for Papua New
Guineans to gain real economic power in their own country".' Pangu pati
criticism was directed at the "meagre increase" in allocations to the
Departments of Education and Social Development and Home Affairs. The
debate produced the usual parochial demands for roads, hospitals and
schools but the demands seemed to be less in number and persistence than
previously. The debate also produced one minor incident in which Somare
labelled United party leader Tei Abal (Wabag, Ministerial Member for
Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries) a "puppet", "stooge" and "bloody rockape".4
The House also witnessed an emotional debate over the death of Jack
Emanuel. 5 Many expatriate members took the opportunity to condemn the
activities of the Mataungan Association, whereas most Papua New Guinean
members expressed sorrow at this death. Implicit in many speeches was the
reluctant acceptance of the inevitable decline in authority of the kiap.
Matiabe Yuwi (Tari) rebuked Ron Neville (Southern Highlands) for the
preposterous suggestion that Southern Highlands' leaders wanted to charter
a plane to Rabaul to fight the Tolais. 6 This was one of a number of occasions
when Papua New Guineans publicly opposed expatriate members of their
own party.
Among other matters raised was an interesting motion proposed by OalaRarua for the establishment of a commission on constitutional and political
developmenU If there is no clear and cohesive majority in the third House
of Assembly, such a commission could be useful in negotiating the terms
of self-government. Briefly the proposal is for a committee of people with
expertise, experience and an understanding of the aspirations of Papua New
Guineans to investigate and report on constitutional forms and on

September-December 1971


parliamentary and administrative procedures. This commission would be

better equipped and would have a different function from that of the previous
Select Committee on Constitutional Development which sought to test
public opinion before recommending changes. The motion has an interesting
postscript: two days later in the Post-Courier, the former Administrator, Sir
Donald Cleland, made public a letter he had written to Administrator D.O.
Hay, in January 1968, in which he modestly offered his services as chairman
of just such a commission. 8
A request by the House in June for an all-party Commonwealth
Parliamentary Committee to visit Papua and "determine the wishes" of
Papuans, was refused by the Minister for External Territories, C.E. Barnes.
Instead he offered to receive a delegation of Papuan ministerial members. 9
Oala-Rarua, who led the delegation, returned with the not altogether
exhilarating information that an airlink between Daru and northern
Queensland would soon be established, and that the Kennecott Copper
project in the Star Mountains might go ahead. 10 Barnes also promised an
economist to survey Papuan needs, but whether the government is
considering a change in its basic economic policy is doubtful.
In the final session of the House members accepted that their future ranks
were likely to contain self-interested and self-seeking men, and, to guard
against the dangers of corruption, they passed the Parliamentary Integrity
Bill. 11 The bill, better known as the anti-corruption legislation, is the product
of an eighteen-month effort by Tom Leahy (Markham- Spokesman for the
Administrator's Executive Council) and a University of Papua New Guinea
Senior Tutor in Anthropology, Jerry Leach, from Alabama. The first part of
the bill which covers MHAs, calls for a committee (to be established by
the Chief Justice) to investigate complaints and allegations of improper
practices laid against MHAs. This committee has the power to recommend
action to the Secretary for Law and eventually to the House of Assembly.
Majority party rule and political appointments to senior public service
positions were apparently not considered to be an obstacle to the operation
of the legislation. The bill also requires MHAs to provide the committee
with annual financial statements and business transactions. This section was
passed by forty votes to seven with the official members supporting the bill.
What was good for the politicians, however, was not so good for the public
servants. The second part of the bill (although dealt with separately by the
House) known as the Public Officers' Integrity Bill was defeated by thirty
votes to twenty-five with all but one official member abstaining. This section
of the bill which called for a Senior Public Officers' Tribunal was vigorously
opposed by the Public Service Association and by Officers of the
Department of External Territories. Their criticism was that existing Public
Service Regulations are sufficient to deal with misdemeanours in the upper
sections of the service- a point with which a quarter of the MHAs did not
Perhaps as a final act of defiance, but more certainly as a result of
intensive lobbying by the Public Service Association and the presence of
former kiaps amongst their ranks, the members of the House rejected a


David Hegarty

government White Paper on alterations to the Employment Security Scheme

for overseas public servants, and, forced the government to withdraw six
bills which would have put the scheme into effect. 12 The Public Service
Association refused to accept the terms of the "golden handshake" (dubbed
in Port Moresby as the "bronze handshake") offered by the Administration.
Towards the end of the session the House agreed to legislation abolishing
the old public service appeals and promotion system and establishing a
mechanism for the more rapid advancement of local officers to senior levels
of the service.
In his opening address to the second House in June 1969, the Australian
Governor-General, Lord Casey, told the newly assembled members: "You
have a very considerable and growing responsibility to help guide your
country at this formative stage of its rlevelopment".n In a farewell address
in November 1971, the Administrator, L.W. Johnson, listed a number of
achievements of the House. He considered that members had grown to think
of Papua New Guinea as one country; that the House had acquired a large
measure of self-government; and that there was a growing realisation among
the people that their elected members "direct their own government".
Retiring members might well regard those statements with considerable
cynicism. Certainly there has been a transfer of legal power to the House
and to the Administrator's Executive Council, but the problem has been one
of the members' unwillingness or inability to use it. The Administrator's
Executive Council has been, in the words of Ted Wolfers, an "exercise in
role-playing" .14 Policy and policy initiatives have emanated from Canberra
or from within the Territory Administration but with Canberra's approval.
Few, if any, Ministerial Members have policies distinct from those of the
Administration. This is largely a result of the lack of developed political
parties. The Administrator's Executive Council, although said to be an
embryo cabinet, has no clear relationship to the Houseand its responsibilities are largely undefined. Members in the House have been able to
obstruct Administration business at times but have had little success in
directing the affairs of the country. On the performance of members,
Wolfers' remark is appropriate: "While many of the indigenous members
are better versed [than previous members] in the recondite technicalities of
parliamentary procedure, they seem politically more sophisticated only in
that they expect to achieve less through legislation" _IS
The attitudes of certain members have changed, albeit slightly. Highlands
conservatives are now prepared to accept the imminent arrival of selfgovernment.16 The more ideologically radical members - or rather, those
who are seeking more rapid decolonisation- have been content to wait and
"play the game". They (with few exceptions) have not been radicalised by
the slow process of withdrawal.
The House has provided a useful forum for some issues; for example,
the complaints of the Papuans, but it has not been a particularly useful
channel for the grievances of the people on the Gazelle Peninsula. As far as
the general public is concerned, the government is still regarded as an
Australian government. Despite the Administrator's claim that a growing

September-December 1971


acceptance of government exists, the test of its legitimacy and of the

transplanted colonial institutions will be seen only when the colonial
authority is removed. An assessment therefore of the performance of the
House of Assembly must be made within the overall context of the colonial
political system.

The Salisbury Report and Gazelle Politics

In his report to the Administrator on the problems of the Gazelle Peninsula,
Professor R.F. Salisbury outlines several factors from the present
Administration which he considered had produced disaffection. 17 These
included the physical remoteness of Port Moresby and the centralisation of
decision-making there; the lack of an adequate local forum for the discussion
of "differential local impacts" of decisions taken at the national level;
declining confidence in Tolai leaders who had advocated the "new customs"
or the new methods of the Administration; confusion over the sudden change
in legal status of the Tolai cocoa project; and the continuing failure to resolve
the ownership of disputed land on the Gazelle. Salisbury proposed a number
of recommendatio_ns which he hoped might help the Tolais to solve their
own problems. His major recommendations were as follows:
1. The Administration should not prolong the life of the present Gazelle Local
Government Council; this would allow the Tolais themselves to decide the
most suitable form of local government.
2. The expatriate adviser to the Council should be replaced by a Tolai
executive officer.
3. 'That wherever possible Tolais be appointed to staff and to head
Administration Departments in Rabaul - with the possible exception of the
police, at least at first.' This move, Salisbury hoped, would alleviate the
feeling that the Administration was 'foreign' and not 'ours'.
4. Advance notice oflegislation should be given so that it could be discussed
at the local level.
5. To relieve the chronic land shortage, the purchase of under-utilised land
should be made easier and indigenous groupings should be encouraged to buy.
6. Shares in the newly formed New Guinea Islands Produce Company should
be distributed to all previously registered cocoa growers.
7. The Administration should encourage the New Guinea Development
Corporation (the scheme founded by John Kaputin and contributed to by
Mataungan supporters) and give it assistance through the Development Bank
and other agencies.

The report was tabled in the House of Assembly on 30 September in

summary form together with the reactions of the Administrator's Executive
Council to the recommendations. It was not debated until late in the
November sitting by which time most interest had evaporated. The
Administrator's Executive Council found little in the report which was not


David Hegarty

already government policy. It considered that there was some merit in the
third recommendation, but a build-up ofTolai public servants in their home
region was likely to trigger similar requests from other regions which would
be harmful to national unity. Subsequently the Administration extended the
date for the Gazelle Council elections until June 1972. It appears that the
Administration has accepted the recommendations on land but has not taken
up the underlying philosophy of decentralisation in the report.
On the Gazelle Peninsula the basic conflict remained. The reaction to
Emanuel's death brought increased tax and licence payments to the council
but also brought accusations from Oscar Tammur (MHA Kokopo) that
people were being threatened by armed police. Tammur was jailed for fifty
days for again refusing to pay council tax but was released soon after an
anonymous donor paid his fine. Several attempts by Tammur and Matthias
Toliman (Ministerial Member for Education and MHA tor Gazelle) to bring
the three competing groups together to negotiate their differences apparently
failed. When Tammur moved in the September sittings of the House to
debate possible solutions to the dispute he was howled down. In the
November sittings he found his motion "buried" on the notice paper.
The Administration policy was to blame the Mataungan Association for
the disturbances on the Gazelle and to try to isolate the Association if not
to destroy it. In the House on 28 September, Tom Ellis, Secretary of the
Department of the Administrator, said: "Sir, I believe that the responsibility
for disruption and fear in the Gazelle lies with the Honourable Member
[Tammur] and his supporters" .18 In a series of radio broadcasts in Rabaul,
the new East New Britain District Commissioner, Arthur Carey, employed
a crude mixture of "fear" and "shame" in exhorting Tolais to obey the law.
In his broadcasts he emphasised that if law was not respected, prosperity
for the Tolai would be lost and there would be a "return to darkness"Y
"Begin working to make the Tolai name again a good name in Papua New
Guinea", Carey said. 20 Of the dissentients of the Gazelle he said, "They are
urging you to fight against your government. Disown these people. Cast
them out." 21 In electing men for the next House of Assembly " ... I think it
very important that whoever you choose will be people who will honestly
work for unity among the Tolai rather than someone who works for
division". 22 In his treatment of the problem as one of law and order rather
than of politics, Carey appears to ignore the existence of a genuine
nationalist movement and to be unaware that the acceptance of law and other
institutions is scarcely enhanced by exhortation and threats. 21
In October and November several Land Titles Commissioners began
hearing claims to disputed land and the Administration showed a willingness
to negotiate with "squatters" on Japlik plantation. In early December a Tolai
was appointed as adviser of the Gazelle council. The resolution of the
problems, however, appears no further advanced. As John Kaputin - the
Mataungan spokesman- recently put it: "Intimidation and oppression will
succeed in the short-term in slowing down the forces of nationalism - but
the will of the people will outlive colonial oppression" .24 As for a solution:
"we must challenge the present set-up for a structural change in our power

September-December 1971


relationships ... simply changing a white council adviser for a black one is
no solution for anything". 25

Social Control
An increasing crime rate - particularly of crime related to drunkenness has caused concern throughout Papua New Guinea. In mid-1971 the
Administration established a Commission of Inquiry into Alcoholic Drink
which is to report on possible action. A submission to the Commission
showed that of all cases heard by local and district courts in Port Moresby,
forty-five per cent involved charges of drunkenness. There has been doubt
cast on the adequacy of the police force to control the situation. A
particularly damaging criticism is a claim that villages and migrant
("squatter") settlements in the towns are rarely policed. The Administrator,
L.W. Johnson, denied that there has been a breakdown of law, but has
admitted that the police are below strength and has invited the South
Australian Commissioner for Police, Brigadier McKinna, to examine the
problems of the Territory police force. 26
Several prominept members of the United party, however, had no illusions
about the capabilities of the police. Following a series of riots, tribal fights,
and thefts from trucks along the Highlands Highway, the United party group
consisting of Messrs Giregire, Buchanan, Fielding and Hagon made
representations in Canberra to the Minister for External Territories, C.E.
Barnes, and the Minister for the Army, Andrew Peacock, for Australian army
assistance. They requested the secondment of forty troops to train and
reinforce the police. It was reported that the Ministers had agreed "in
principle" to the request, and the group expected the first of the army team
to arrive in January 1972.27
The United party request was criticised by the Pangu pati and by the
Police Association which claimed that it invited a "Congo situation" and
besides, if army personnel were needed, the Pacific Islands Regiment had
more local experience. 28 It would appear that more than just an increase in
the coercive power of the police is needed. New roles for the police must
be found to fit in with the changing role of district administration. In the
towns, coordinated planning for urbanisation and effective administrative
structures are needed to replace the traditional methods of social control
which are rapidly breaking down.
Election Preparations
The redistribution of electoral boundaries for the 1972 elections introduced
thirteen new Open electorates and three additional Regional electorates. The
Open electorates are based on a population of roughly 30,000 whereas the
Regionals, which require an educational qualification for candidates, are
based on the eighteen administrative districts regardless of population.29 This
follows the report of the Select Committee on Constitutional Development
which also recommended that four official members and up to three


David Hegarty

nominated members be included in the House. The major anomaly in the

redistribution is the granting of one Open and one Regional seat to Manus
district which has a total population of just over 20,000 people. Highlands
members were particularly critical of this during the debate considering that
the Western Highlands district received one Regional seat for about 300,000
people. The Central and Morobe districts containing the two largest towns
are slightly under-represented but the proportion of seats for Papua and New
Guinea has remained almost identical.
In other amendments to the electoral ordinance, voting was extended to
18-year-olds and the nomination fee for candidates was raised from $50 to
Political parties commenced their election campaigns in the period under
review. The People's Progress party issued a one-page platform early in
September and indicated that the party would endorse thirty candidates. The
United party held its national convention in Lae on 5-7 November and the
Pangu pati held its first national convention on 27 and 28 November also in
Lae. The differing styles of the two parties were obvious. The United
convention was held in the Niall Community Centre and coincided with the
Morobe show. MHAs, local government councillors and council presidents
were flown in for the occasion. Considerable time was taken up with
argument over the proposed long and complex party constitution. Internal
differences were quickly revealed when Matthias Toliman proposed some
form of regional autonomy for New Britain- a proposal which was quickly
rejected by the expatriates, Walter Lussick and Ron Neville.
The Pangu convention met in the Young Christian centre and was
addressed by Pangu MHAs on aspects of party policy. Most delegates were
branch members or committee members and many were candidates already
For this election the Administration's attitude to parties has changed
considerably. The three major parties were each granted one hour for
campaign speeches on the ABC and Administration radio stations and a
booklet containing party policies is being distributed. A political education
campaign to be put into effect after the election will lay emphasis on the
importance of parties.


David Hegarty

Bouse of Assembly Elections

The political scene in Papua New Guinea in the period under review was
dominated by the third general elections for the House of Assembly and by
the unexpected formation of a coalition government led by the Pangu pati.
These elections, held in February and March, marked a significant step in
the country's constitutional and political development. Whereas after the
previous elections in 1968 observers could only speculate on the likely
"political configuration" of the House, after the 1972 elections it was
possible to identify a "winner". A period of intense lobbying in March and
April for the support of the uncommitted elected members eventually
produced a coalition of the Pangu, People's Progress and New Guinea
National parties, the Mataungan Association and various Independents. The
National Coalition (as it became known) formed a ministry in the first
session of the House in April. After initial hesitancy over the timing of selfgovernment, the coalition expects to assume full control over the country's
internal affairs late in 1973.
At the grass-roots level, considerable change had also occurred. The
issues raised by candidates, the campaigning by political parties and the
quality of candidates elected pointed to an increasing sophistication on the
part of the electors.
For this election the number of Open electorates was increased from sixtynine to eighty-two and the Regional electorates from sixteen to eighteen;
the voting age was lowered from twenty-one to eighteen; voters were
required to vote in the electorate in which they had resided for the preceding
six months; and the nomination fee was raised from $50 to $100. A
redistribution carried out in 1971 reorganised electorates so that the
Highlands (including the Southern Highlands) had a total of thirty-six seats;
coastal Papua nineteen; New Guinea twenty-eight; and the New Guinea
Islands seventeen. The election for Middle Ramu (Madang District) was
postponed until June because of the death of a candidate.
Over six hundred candidates, of whom thirty-nine were Europeans,
contested the elections. In the Regional electorates indigenous candidates
reversed the result of the last House by winning fourteen seats to the
Europeans' four. In the Open electorates the results were seventy-six and


David Hegarty

five respectively. The heaviest concentration of candidates occurred in the

Highlands which may still reflect the persistent solidarity of the traditional
clan-based political units in that region. It may also reflect, however, the
emergence of a new entrepreneurial type or group in the Highlands which
sees its economic success as being a basis for political support. On the whole
candidates were younger and better educated than their predecessors but
education was only one of the criteria for election. Two recent graduates of
the University of Papua New Guinea stood and were defeated.
Of the seventy-three MHAs who sought re-election two were unopposed,
a further thirty-nine were successful and only three out of twelve Europeans
were returned. This turnover rate was similar to that of 1968 when halfthe
incumbents were defeated. Europeans were rejected by voters for a number
of reasons which include a growing confidence in Papua New Guineans'
abilities to operate the legislature; a failure by European members to gain
substantial material rewards for their electorates; and a failure to be seen
by their constituents. The latter reason applies particularly to defeated
indigenous MHAs who failed to report to their electors. One of the six
Ministerial Members and five of the eight assistant Ministerial Members
who contested the election were defeated. The assistant Ministerial Members
had neither the power and status nor the financial support of their senior
colleagues and because of the time which they were required to spend in
Port Moresby, were consequently disadvantaged. There were eleven
members returned to the House for the third time (including John Guise who
had been elected to the Legislative Council in 1961, and awarded the degree
of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa by the University of Papua New Guinea
in 1970). Their leadership talents range from supernatural or charismatic
appeal to very skilful and careful use of existing groups and institutions
within their electorates.
Political parties had endorsed and given help to at least 150 candidates
but the campaign methods and the extent to which these candidates acted
as "party men" varied considerably. The Pangu pati was organised in the
East Sepik and Morobe districts and in the towns of Port Moresby, Lae and
Madang. It claimed a number of sympathisers throughout the country.
Pangu's pre-selected candidates were issued leaflets with photographs on
one side and major policy points on the reverse. These policies, the first of
which was a demand for immediate self-government ("Pangu i laikim selp
gavman nau tasol"), were discussed at branch and village meetings called
to hear the candidate's campaign talks as he moved through the electorate.
Pangu candidates generally had realised the advantage of walking through
the electorate, being seen by the people and utilising branches and campaign
organisers. The United party was best organised in Port Moresby and
throughout much of the Highlands- particularly in the Eastern Highlands.
United party (UP) candidates were often recruited after nominations had
closed and leaflets prepared for them. Party caps, T-shirts and newspapers
were distributed in thousands but their effect on voting intention was
minimal. The UP ran an expensive advertising campaign emphasising the
encouragement of overseas investment for development, the protection of life



and property by a strengthened police force, and slow progress towards selfgovernment. The UP claimed that most Highlands candidates and many
throughout the country were sympathetic and would join the party if elected.
In mid-January UP member Bill Fielding confidently predicted in a radio
broadcast that his party would win sixty seats, form a government and have
Tei Abal as Chief Minister.
The People's Progress party nominated twenty-nine candidates, but, apart
from occasional assistance from a sitting member, they campaigned as
individuals. The New Guinea National party had two candidates- Thomas
Kavali (MHA Jimi) and Paul Pora, an economics graduate - who
campaigned openly as party members in the Highlands, but there were a
number of sympathisers who also stood. The Mataungan Association ran a
well organised campaign for the four Gazelle electorates and the Napidakoe
Navitu on Bougainville supported three winning candidates.
The impact of political parties on this election was substantial. Although
there were very few direct contests between the parties, their activities
throughout the country spread the concept of organisation as a criterion for
electoral success, they injected issues into the campaigns and they provided
a political orientation for candidates and members. During the campaign it
was reported that the UP had launched an appeal for $100,000 both to
finance their campaign and to establish a central organisation. About
$70,000 of that amount had been raised by April when the results became
known. Costs may well have been in excess of that figure if such things as
the loan of aeroplanes for party leaders to tour other electorates is taken
into account. The Pangu pati's expenses were estimated at just over $4,000
with candidates contributing additional amounts to their own campaign
funds. In December 1971, Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd, had offered Pangu,
UP and the PPP a campaign donation of $3,000 each. After the election in
the "Letters" page of the Post-Courier there was a short exchange as to the
source of funds between John Middleton, Michael Somare and Josephine
Abaijah - the first woman to be elected to the legislature.
Polling was held from 19 February to 11 March during the wet season
and was observed by a United Nations' mission. There were a few incidents
worth reporting. On the Gazelle Peninsula District Commissioner Carey was
apprehensive that voters would be intimidated and he urged Tolais to vote
without assistance from others. Somare protested that a patrol officer in the
East Sepik had "interfered" in the campaign and he successfully sought the
man's removal from the area. In late January the Chief Electoral Officer,
Simon Kaumi, flew to the Sepik to investigate reports that voters were
moving into the Yangoru-Saussia electorate hoping to vote for the cargo cult
leader Matthias Yaliwan. 1 Yaliwan was later elected. In the Morobe Regional
electorate a candidate who had failed in Pangu's pre-selection and then
accepted UP nomination tried to withdraw from the election. 2 In
Kairuku-Hiri in the Central District a ballot box containing sixty votes was
lost in a creek. The seat was later won by sixty votes and subsequently a
protest was made to the Court of Disputed Returns. And with exquisite
timing a political education booklet outlining the policies of the three main


David Hegarty

political parties arrived in the electorates only days before polling began.
Voters elected younger and better educated members than were elected
in 1968. 3 The average age of MHAs has fallen from forty-one in 1968 to
thirty-five in 1972. The percentage of indigenous Open MHAs with no
formal education has fallen from forty-two per cent to thirty per cent. The
percentage of those with some primary education has risen from twentyfive per cent to thirty-six per cent, and there has been a small increase in
those Open members with a post-primary education of some type. When
the fourteen Papua New Guinean Regional members and the nine Europeans
are added the members of the House constitute an elite group.
In terms of occupation close to forty per cent of MHAs are classified as
businessmen (planters, traders, farmers, store-owners, etc.), about thirty per
cent as government officials (interpreters, clerks, senior officials), and about
seventeen per cent as school teachers. There were also eight managers and
supervisors, two party secretaries, one priest and one pastor, one politician
and one domestic servant elected to the House. Most of these MHAs had
varying degrees of political experience and, apart from those with previous
experience in the legislature, the seventeen or so who had had organisational
experience in trade unions, workers' associations, or political parties are
worth noting.
When the election results were known in March no party had a
majority, but the United party with about forty members was expected to
form the government. The Acting Administrator, A.P.J. Newman, rather
clumsily represented the idea which had been floated in 1971 by the
Administrator, L.W. Johnson, and the Administrator's Executive Council
spokesman, Tom Leahy, that all parties should join in a "grand coalition"
government. Pangu's national president, Gavera Rea, who had won the
Moresby Coastal seat quickly rejected a coalition with the UP. 4 The five
weeks which followed provided a fascinating scenario for students of the
strategy of lobbying. First the UP then Pangu claimed majorities in the
House. At one stage the numbers claimed by parties totalled fifteen more
than there were members. Defeated UP members and particularly the
Europeans Leahy, Lussick, Buchanan and Fielding lobbied uncommitted
MHAs and approached PPP leader Julius Chan for support. Somare also
visited Chan but most lobbying of other members was done by Pangu
supporters within the areas concerned. In the days before the first session
of the House on 20 April, Somare seized the initiative and announced that
Pangu together with like minded groups and individuals could form a
majority and if the PPP joined them they would have a certain majority.
Pangu's tactic had been to hold meetings entirely conducted by Papua New
Guineans with its only European member, Barry Holloway (Eastern
Highlands Regional) sitting quietly in the background. The UP took a block
booking at the Salvation Army hostel at Koki in an attempt to maintain
solidarity. The PPP was under pressure from both parties and its own
members were divided. Late on the night ofWednesday, 19 April, however,
Chan announced that all ten members of his party would join the National



First Session of the House

The National Coalition led by Somare, Guise, Chan and Kavali entered its
first session of the House uncertain that it could hold the members of these
disparate groups together. The seats within the legislature were arranged in
alphabetical order according to electorates. It was thought that this together
with new members' unfamiliarity with procedure might cause sufficient
confusion to deprive the coalition of its majority. In the ballot for the Speaker,
however, Perry Kwan, a mixed-race Chinese and member for Kavieng,
defeated the UP candidate Matthias Toliman by forty-nine votes to fortyeight. Toliman had been approached several times by coalition leaders to
stand for the Speakership but he had refused. The Governor-General's
opening address to the House provided only a brief and almost irrelevant
interlude to the intense politicking. Toliman stood for the position of
Chairman of Committees but was again defeated, fifty votes to forty-seven,
this time by Iambakey Okuk. Probably the most important division of the
day was that over the Ministerial Nominations Committee. This committee,
a relic of 1968 when only one small party existed, required seven members
to consult with the_ Administrator on the composition ofthe ministry. It was
thought that a representative committee might be necessary for the House
to agree to it. However, after some confusion over procedure, Coalition
leaders were elected in the ensuing ballot by fifty votes to forty-two.
Tension mounted throughout the next week and climaxed on the third
sitting day, Wednesday, 26 April. Somare moved the suspension of standing
orders so that he could name his ministry. Tei Abal objected on the grounds
that it would negate a motion by Paul Langro (who left Pangu late in 1971
and joined the UP in April) which called for members to consult their
constituents on the question of immediate self-government before the
appointment of ministers. The inexperienced Speaker overruled the
objection as well as a motion of dissent by Neville and called for the "yes"
vote neglecting to call for the "noes". The confused and angry scenes which
followed in which Langro protested that members might as well be given
their tickets so that they could return home, s were abated only by a hasty
adjournment of the House. On its resumption Somare withdrew his motion
and the debate on the Langro motion proceeded. UP speakers attacked the
coalition as a giaman (false) government, and claimed that it was
unrepresentative of the people's wishes; that it was hastily formed, that it
had persuaded some Highlands members to join it on the promise of power
and wealth and that it was potentially unstable. There was an air of
incredulity in many speeches that the "biggest" party was somehow no
longer part of the government. These attacks were answered by coalition
members John Kaputin and Paulus Arek who pointed out that members
should accept the majority rule principle and that if they didn't know the
opinions of their people so soon after an election they were wasting their
time. After seven speakers the motion was put and defeated by fifty-four
votes to forty-two. The UP had, however, made its point that business was
not to be rushed through the House without debate. John Maneke (PPP) then


David Hegarty

moved that formal recognition and status be accorded the Leader of the
Ministries were allocated in the following manner:
Michael Somare (Deputy Chairman of AEC)
Paul Lapun (Mines)
Ebia Olewale (Education)
Albert Maori Kiki (Lands)
Gavera Rea (Labour)
Reuben Taureka (Health)
Boyamo Sali (Local Government)
Coalition Members
John Guise (Interior)
Paulus Arek (Information & Extension Services)
New Guinea National party
Thomas Kavali (Works)
Iambakey Okuk (Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries)
Sasakila Moses (Forests)
Kaibelt Diria (Posts & Telegraphs)
People's Progress party
Julius Chan (Internal Finance)
Donatus Mola (Business Development)
John Poe (Trade & Industry)
Bruce Jephcott (Transport)

A regional breakdown of these ministries showed Papuan Coastal six,

New Guinea Coast four, New Guinea Islands three, and Highlands four.
The actual number of members belonging to the parties was a little uncertain.
A reasonable estimate showed Pangu twenty-four, PPP eleven, National Party
seven, Mataungan Association three, Coalition supporters twelve, and the UP
forty-two. The elections, therefore, had returned a new style of politician to the
House of Assembly. They had produced a group willing to accept the
responsibility of leading the country to self-government and independence. If
maiden speeches are any guide the mood and orientation of the House contrasts
quite sharply with that of its predecessor. Josephine Abaijah, Fr John Momis,
Tony Ila, Iambakey Okuk and many others showed clear recognition of the
problems of neo-colonialism, of disunity and instability, and of the stresses of
rapid economic and social change which confront the country. It was John
Kaputin who reminded his colleagues that there were more important tasks than
"playing around with political marbles in the ring which has been made for us".
New Minister
On 2 January the Australian Prime Minister, William McMahon, announced
the replacement of the Minister for External Territories, C.E. Barnes, by
the former Army Minister, Andrew Peacock. Most Australian editorialists
-some of whom had years previously called for Barnes' resignation- noted



that a young and vigorous minister was required for such a sensitive position.
Peacock, warned by his colleagues about the potential embarrassment of a
difficult portfolio, immediately set about creating a favourable impression
in Papua New Guinea. In the first five weeks of office he visited the country
four times and held talks with administrators, politicians, business
representatives, and university students and staff. His approach to
decolonisation appeared to be more realistic and to embrace a wider
perspective than that of his predecessor. In terms of policy Peacock has
shown a willingness to take the initiative in advancing Papua New Guinea
to self-government. He was hopeful, as was the Administrator, that the
government would not be composed totally of conservatives. He insisted
that the new government and its ministers accept the responsibility for their
decisions. In a speech to a Liberal party conference in Brisbane he said "We
believe the best way for people in government to learn the skills of
government is actually to practise them" .6 (Albert Maori Kiki, Pangu's
secretary, had been preaching the same theme for years.) The Australian
government should not wait for self-government to happen, the Minister
said; rather it should actively encourage a desire for self-government; it
should prepare a programme of legislative and administrative actions; and
it should intensify public service training programmes. The new minister
also seemed prepared to recognise that the form of government adopted
would eventually be moulded by those Papua New Guineans with "a
fundamental understanding ofthe fabric of life in Papua New Guinea". 7 In
mid-February a position was created in the Administrator's Department (at
First Assistant Secretary level) to advise the Papua New Guinea government
on a programme of legislative and administrative actions relating to the
attainment of self-government and to the evolution of a constitution. The
officer- a former university Lecturer in Law- was given the enormous task
of liaising with the Commonwealth government, of implementing the
han dover programme, of continually assessing the situation and of advising
on further desirable action. He was to be responsible through the
Administrator to the Deputy Chairman of the Administrator's Executive
Council, but where conflicts of interest arose between the governments of
Australia and Papua New Guinea he was to side with the latter. In effect he
has become the National Coalition's adviser on the transfer of power. To
hasten the public service training programme the Australian School of
Pacific Administration in Sydney accepted ninety Papua New Guineans for
a special course in administration.
In other areas Peacock showed a welcome appreciation of some of the
anxieties and problems confronting the country. In speaking to both Papua
New Guinean and Australian audiences he has stressed that large-scale
Australian aid would be continued; advised that foreign relations other than
those with Australia should soon be developed; and warned that, in the light
of African experience, independence should be anticipated very soon after
self-government. Criticism of the minister, however, will likely revolve
around the apparent lack of a coherent economic development strategy for
the country. The only focus in this area so far has been on the need for


David Hegarty

unimpeded importation of foreign capital; the establishment of a new

currency and banking arrangements; and an employment security scheme
for expatriate public servants.
Barnes, who had held the portfolio of Territories since December 1963,
was complimented by Country party leader, Doug Anthony, for his
"significant contribution" to the people of Papua New Guinea. Oscar
Tammur (MHA Kokopo) thought quite the opposite and accused Barnes of
having instituted policies without regard for the customs of the people, and
of now retreating from his "blunders". 8 In the Encyclopaedia of Papua and
New Guinea Barnes' biographical notes were recorded in six lines: no
mention was made of his policies. 9
Other Matters
Falling world prices in copra and over-production of coffee caused concern
among rural interest groups. The copra bounty paid to growers by the Copra
Industry Stabilisation Board was increased from $3 per ton in December
1971, to $30 per ton in February 1972 so that a minimum price of $125 per
ton was maintained. 10 The Coffee Marketing Board has decided to maintain
its relationship with Australia whereby, under the International Coffee
Agreement, it exports the amount which Australia imports from other
countries. Two university economists criticised the suggestion of coffee
production subsidies and urged a rationalisation of the industry. The
Marketing Board, they argued, should be representative of all sectors of the
industry and it should be the sole ratifier of all sales. If necessary the
Administration should introduce controls and compensate growers for
reducing production rather than encourage further growing. 11 An economist
also drew attention to the difficulty of assessing the general state of the
economy because of lack of information on the balance-of-payments
position and of public information on private and corporate capital flow
between Papua New Guinea and Australia. He suggested that a separate
currency was an immediate priority; that a form of profit control through a
declared list of goods should be enforced; and that the taxation system
needed simplification. 12 In the field of mining, Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd
reached agreement with Japanese importers on cutbacks in supply, and
Kennecott Pty Ltd presented proposals to the Administration for the
"possible future development" of the Ok Tedi area in western Papua. 13
Reforms of the legal system have recently been initiated. An officer in
the Department of Law has been engaged in updating terminology and
making the law more relevant to the particular needs of Papua New Guinea.
Work has proceeded on summary offences and on the reception of the
common law. Professor R.S. O'Regan in his inaugural lecture at the
University of Papua New Guinea proposed three reforms which would make
the law more relevant. He advocated the appointment oflocal assessors; the
abandonment of the current rules relating to the admissibility of confessions;
and the limitation of the accused's right to remain silent at his trial, all of
which are bound to create controversy. An interesting example of the clash



between customary and introduced law occurred in Mount Hagen in

February when a European planter, Peter Howard, paid out $1,000 and four
bulls to a clan in compensation for the death of a clansman in a motor
accident. Howard had been earlier acquitted on a charge of manslaughter.
Finally, two items of historical interest; one a loss and one a gain to Papua
New Guinea. In January and February officers from the Commonwealth
archives removed files and records which were "essentially Australian" from
various government departments so that "Australia's record of its
stewardship" would be complete. On 27 March the Encyclopaedia of Papua
and New Guinea, "the first edition of the first fully compendius work of
reference on the world's second largest island" was launched in Port


David Hegarty

In its first four months in office the National Coalition government led by
Chief Minister Michael Somare, set out to establish control over the machinery
of government and to bring some degree of popular acceptance. It was not
an easy task for the inheritors of the colonial political system. Bureaucratic
structures and personnel oriented towards the achievement of colonial
policies, subordination of politicians to administrators, a low level of integration,
and an externally dominated economy are legacies which make the task of
a nationalist government difficult indeed. The task is made even more
difficult when the metropole-colony relationships have been so close as to
inhibit policy decisions being made within the colonial administration; when
the incoming government is a coalition of parties with neither common cause
nor ideology; and when the government faces significant opposition from
one region of the country on such an emotional issue as self-government.
By the end of August, however, the Coalition was still intact and had
slightly increased its majority in the House of Assembly; most ministers
had established working relationships with their departments and appeared
more confident about their decision-making role; an Office of the Chief
Minister had been created; the complex process of transferring power from
Australia proceeded by a round of constitutional talks; and an all-party
Constitutional Planning Committee had been established to recommend a
constitution. Inevitably, as ideas for policy on economic development,
foreign investment and the structure of the public service were tloated,
tensions began to appear and pressure from interest groups mounted.

The challenge to the credibility of the National Coalition launched in the

April session of the House of Assembly continued. Most Highlands MHAs
who had joined the government faced criticism within their electorates. Early
in May, Kaibelt Diria- the former Assistant Ministerial Member for Local
Government and United party member who had joined the Coalition after
the elections - defended his decision at a meeting of the Wahgi Local
Government Council. 1 Diria claimed that he was not bound to the United
party for it had supported other candidates in his electorate and, besides,

May-August 1972


there was more value in being "with" the government than against it. At
Kundiawa in the Chimbu District, a demonstration of 300 against the
Highlands members of the Coalition was led by United party leader Sinake
Giregire. Posters carried by the crowd proclaimed that self-government
should not be attained before 1978. The following day Somare announced
that "death threats" had been made against Highlands members. 2 A second
demonstration of 10,000 planned by the United party for Kundiawa on 20
May did not materialise. Instead Iambakey Okuk - Chimbu Regional and
Minister for Agriculture - who had returned to Kundiawa to answer his
critics held his own meeting of 2,000 people. Okuk, guarded by police and
a riot squad, warned expatriates and defeated United party candidates that
they would face charges if they continued to stir up opposition to the
In the June session of the House Highlands MHAs returned to the fray.
A matter of public importance- the "reaction of many highlands people to
the prospect of early self-government under the National Coalition
government and the consequent threat to the well-being of people from other
parts of Papua New Guinea working in the Highlands" 3 - was raised by Tei
Abal. Accusations of hypocrisy were made from both sides of the House
with United party speakers emphasising that the opinion of the people as
surveyed by the Select Committee on Constitutional Development should
be respected, and National party speakers urging members both to educate
and to lead their electors. The implications of the second part of the matter
were left unstated.
At the United Nations in early June, Anton Parao- Western Highlands
Regional, and United party secretary who had been invited to join the annual
delegation to the UN - again attacked the Coalition. He claimed that the
Coalition was improperly formed (because members had been persuaded
to join!), that it was non-representative of the country and that it was being
pushed too quickly towards self-government. There was, of course, a
considerable amount of post-election "sour grapes" in all this, but important
also is the "fear" of self-government whether it be a manifestation of
dependence or a regionalist political delaying tactic. If one wanted to know
what self-government actually meant to the people these debates, despite
their bitterness, were not particularly enlightening.

The Ministers
The Chief Minister's initial approach to his role as leader of an embryonic
nation was understandably one of caution. When interviewed on ABC
television in Australia on 8 May on the major problems and future policies
of his government his replies were either vague or guarded. Somare
reiterated his personal belief in immediate self-government but because of
coalition politics and his desire to win some consensus on the issue he
indicated that towards the end of 1973 would be a suitable target. On the
question of separatist movements Somare was quite optimistic: "I've found
that once you involve people in a system, when they feel that they're part of


David Hegarty

the system, it's very difficult for them to separate themselves" .4 He thought
that some degree of regional autonomy was also desirable. The
parliamentary system may need some modification, particularly because of
a lack of party solidarity, but in other respects it was working satisfactorily.
Government policy would be to encourage foreign investment but Papua
New Guineans must share in the ownership of industry and be employed
by these new industries. The familiar question of future relations with Japan
was asked and the usual answer given: that is, Japanese investment and trade
would be encouraged but that all investment would be carefully looked at.
Somare has enjoyed using Japan as a political lever in the past but now that
power is at stake there may be little political capital left in the tactic.
On his tour of the Highlands in the first week of July Somare continued
to play a soft-line on self-government. He emphasised that Papua New
Guinea must be prepared for self-government should the ALP win the 1972
Australian election. A second theme which he pushed at every meeting was
more positive: "You should not fear self-government. It will not bring a
wholesale exodus of the white man and his possessions nor will it plunge
us into chaos; it will bring the day when Papuans and New Guineans elected
by their people will make the decisions that are in the interests of their
people."5 Somare met opposition from councillors and leaders in the Western
Highlands at Laiagam and at Baiyer River but in Mount Hagen, the Wahgi
and Jimi valleys he received support. At meetings arranged with public
servants and school students he suggested that a one-party system of
government might be more appropriate than that of government and
opposition. European planters and businessmen were told that they must
involve more Papua New Guineans in their enterprises if they wanted to
avoid the chaos so many of them had predicted. Journalists travelling with
the Chief Minister reported that he "won respect with his proud demeanour,
willingness to listen and refusal to be overawed by the most bitter
denunciations of his policies", 6 and that his tour was a personal success.
There is no doubting Somare's skill as a leader but it is a mistaken view of
New Guinea politics to expect grand triumphant tours throughout the
country. It was certainly a new experience for the people to see a black
politician receive so much attention from the kiaps. Support and success,
however, do not depend on mass appeal, but on mutual trust and close ties
with local leaders and opinion makers and utilisation of their networks.
On 19 June it was announced that an Office of the Chief Minister had
been established. It includes the Secretariat of the Administrator's Executive
Council, a ministerial services branch, and a political development branch
which is responsible for planning and implementing constitutional
development policy and political education. 7 Eventually the office will
acquire most of the functions of the present Administrator's Department
including the division of District Administration. In speaking to the District
Commissioners' conference in July Somare indicated that the Department of
District Administration would come under his control in 1973. He expected
that field administration would continue to be a vital part of the government
but that cooperation was essential; attitudes would have to change, and

May-August 1972


officers would need to be "sensitive to the feelings and aspirations of the

political leaders representing both central and local government in the
field". 8 In the absence of political parties with substantial grass-roots
organisation, field administration could in future become much more
important than most people think.
The office is headed by Paul Ryan who was formerly a patrol officer and
secretary to the Administrator's Executive Council. His staff includes three
local graduates: Leo Morgan who is in charge of ministerial services, John
Noel in general administration, and Alexis Sarei who represents the Chief
Minister on interdepartmental committees and on the Gazelle negotiations.
Somare has a personal staff of four - a personal secretary, stenographer,
press secretary and research officer. The research officer is former MHA
and university tutor Tony Voutas. One of the major functions of the office
is to coordinate policy. Previously coordinating machinery had been
relatively weak- consisting of meetings of departmental heads and later of
meetings organised by the Administrator's Executive Council. The absence
of a colonial secretariat which could have been inherited and the relative
junior status of the office of the Chief Minister has tended to make its task
of coordination difficult.
The research section attempts to feed in alternatives and options on a
range of policies. Its role in this situation has been brought about largely as
a result of the general suspicion which many ministers and politicians have
of colonial departments and partly as an attempt to compensate for
inadequate policy-making machinery and personnel within individual
departments. It is a difficult role to play and one which invites the accusation
of "dualism", and of lack of faith in ministers. Some restructuring of the
public service may alleviate this particular problem. An important problem
which the office has begun to grapple with is that of involving more Papua
New Guineans in the policy-making process.
Other ministers used the first few months in office as a period of "settling
in" but they too faced a wide range of problems. Probably their key difficulty
was to prevent "absorption" by their departments. Some Pangu party
members have already expressed their dismay at how neatly some of the
ministers have fitted into the roles of their predecessors. Each minister was
entitled to a personal staff of two but most found difficulty in recruiting
committed and competent secretaries and had to rely on department
appointees. It was not easy for ministers to sort out just what power they
had and for them to decide how much control they should exercise. 9
Departmental heads themselves had to adjust from being the political,
administrative and policy head of a colonial department to one in which there
was now a political boss who required more than just consultation. Briefing
a minister and proposing policy options was a new experience for these
administrators and the adjustment appears not to have been entirely
satisfactory. There were, of course, the inevitable rumours of personality
clashes between minister and heads of departments. Rather indicative of the
changed political and constitutional situation is that no comparable "code
of ethics" as issued to ministerial members in the last House was issued to


David Hegarty

these ministers.
Some ministers stepped quickly into their new roles. Albert Maori Kiki
(Lands), for example, insisted that a tourist development company return
half of the island of Wuvulu to the people if the company wanted to develop
the area as a luxury resort. Dr John Guise (Interior) made it clear that
bureaucratic slowness and non-cooperation would not be tolerated. Ebia
Olewale (Education) despite encountering in his own electorate, disbelief
that a black man could be an important man in the government, suggested
a post-primary vocational training programme to alleviate the problem of
so-called school drop-outs. Julius Chan (Internal Finance) quickly
established a working relationship with the Treasurer, Harry Ritchie, who
had recently been recruited from the Fijian civil service.

Towards Policy
For six years the Waigani Seminar held at the university has opened up
debate on such development problems as land, education, population,
agriculture, politics and administration. It was particularly appropriate that
the sixth Waigani Seminar held in the first week of May at the time the
National Coalition came to power had as its theme, "priorities in Melanesian
development". Speakers raised numerous policy questions which in the past
would have been considered "academic" but which now are the subject of
serious government attention. Topics discussed included types of
constitutions; the suitability of the Westminster system; educational
priorities and the nature of the educational system; local government,
political education and community development; foreign investment and the
role of multi-national corporations; and problems of national identity. The
three international speakers were Dr Ivan Illich, Lloyd Best (a West Indian
economist), and Professor Rene Dumont, all of whom challenged the
meaning of the term development and raised doubts in the minds of most
participants about the relevance of the "private car" civilisation for Papua
New Guinea. It was Professor Dumont who set the stage for an exciting
seminar by immediately attacking the view of economic development
proposed in the opening address by the Minister for External Territories,
Andrew Peacock. Professor Dumom criticised the government's policy for
deliberately attempting to create a class society and for neglecting research
into food crops and import replacement schemes. He reminded his audience
that in no country did the rich look after the poor and that a policy of selfreliance was the only sure way of a country retaining its pride. As the fourth
Waigani Seminar in 1970 had signified 'l break-through in the development
of nationalist politics, 10 the sixth Waigani Seminar threw down a challenge
to conventional notions of development as put forward by colonial
Perhaps the largest question facing the Coalition was that of the nature
of the second Economic Development Programme. The first programme to
cover the period 1968-69 to 1972-73 was designed to maximise, in the short
run, gross national income largely by importing foreign skill and capital.

May-August 1972


The programme aroused a small debate with critics emphasising that it was
more a series of projections than a plan and that indigenous participation
amounted only to "tokenism" .11 In 1971 the programme was revised largely
to take into account the impact of the Bougainville Copper Project, and, an
Office of Programming and Coordination (OPC) was established. 12 It was
hoped that one of the purposes of the Office would be to involve ministerial
members more closely in the planning process. The philosophy of the
programme bears fairly heavily the stamp of the Director of OPC, Bill
McCasker, who acts as chief economic adviser to the government. It became
obvious that the new ministry and members were not in sympathy with the
aims of the first programme. An OPC White Paper entitled "Programmes
for Development - Principles, Choices and Priorities" designed to elicit
some discussion and direction from MHAs met with a fairly hostile
reaction. 13 The chairman of the House of Assembly Economic Development
Committee, Dennis Young (Milne Bay Regional), was quite explicit in his
rejection of former policy in advocating a policy of self-sufficiency, of rural
development, and of indigenous control of the economy. He hoped that the
House would "Tell Mr McCasker that this is not part of Australia, it is not
part of England, it is not part of America- it is Papua New Guinea" in which
the economy should be based on the villages. 14
In August the draft version of the UNDP report on strategies for the
second Development Programme was leaked to the press. The "Faber
Report" as it became known, after its chairman Professor M.L.O. Faber,
recommended a marked change in emphasis from that of the first
programme. Localisation or indigenisation of the economy should be
stressed rather than growth defined in terms of the rate of increase of gross
monetary sector product. A rural vitalisation programme should be
undertaken; small-scale artisan and service activities should be encouraged;
major projects requiring foreign capital should be undertaken only if
appropriate terms were negotiated. The report was labelled "socialist" by
its Administration critics but its general philosophy of self-sufficiency,
reduction of social and economic inequalities and economic control in the
hands of nationalists captured the imagination of many Cabinet and private
members. Young's committee was later to endorse these proposals.
The government expects the final version of the report in November. If
adopted it may necessitate a recasting of the economic management
machinery and will require constant dialogue and good relations between
planners, senior politicians and administrators. Academic economists,
research institutes and administration departments have been invited to
submit ideas on future economic management for the country.
Another part of the economic infrastructure which the government has
inherited is the Papua New Guinea Investment Corporation. The Corporation
with a total capital of $6 million was established to hold equities in
"existing, substantial, viable operations in the Territory and those which are
significant employers of native or local labour", and at a later stage to sell
shares (unit trusts) to Papua New Guineans. So far investments of twenty
per cent or more have been made in the predominantly Australian oriented


David Hegarty

firms of Commonwealth and New Guinea Timbers, Burns Philp, Australia

and New Guinea Holdings and a million $1 shares have been taken up in
Bougainville Copper. An obvious line of criticism of the Corporation is that
it does little to increase the government's control of the economy; that it is
not a development corporation aiming at diversifying industry, and that it
facilitates the removal of capital from the country. The Corporation's
investments in colonial companies may be sound finance, but one would
have thought that they were poor politics.
Control over foreign affairs and defence is not likely to be transferred to
the government until independence. Small administration units have been
created, however, to facilitate that transfer. The international affairs branch
of the Administrator's Department which has previously been concerned
only with hospitality functions and with servicing the annual United Nations
delegatiOn has been recruiting university graduates and "suitable nongraduates" for diplomatic training. So far four graduates and three nongraduates have undergone the initial training period of six months in Port
Moresby and six months in Canberra with the Foreign Affairs section, and
are now spending six months attached to an overseas Australian embassy.
There may be some significance in the placement of these trainees: Jakarta,
Brussels, New York, Geneva, Nairobi, Bangkok and Tokyo.
A small defence section is to be established late in the year in the
Administrator's Department to liaise between the Joint Force Commander
(established early in 1972) and the spokesman for defence in the House of
Assembly. Despite the frequency of questions (particularly by visitors to
the country) about the role of the army, politicians appear to have put little
thought into defence policy. The Australian Minister for Defence, D.E.
Fairbairn, on a visit in mid-June called for a "continuing and growing
exchange of views between senior Australian Defence authorities and the
Papua New Guinea authorities on Papua New Guinea defence matters". 15
At the moment those responsible for Papua New Guinea defence matters
are Australian military personnel and the Australian Cabinet. 16
The problem of Papua New Guinea's relations with her neighbours,
however, has arisen prior to independence. The position of the Queensland
border only several hundred yards offshore from the Western District has
been a source of discontent, particularly for Ebia Olewale. Olewale (South
Fly) has demanded that the border be taken south to IO_latitude. This would
add several small Torres Strait islands and a number of fishing reefs to Papua
New Guinea's territorial waters. Olewale was supported by Australian
Opposition leader, Gough Whitlam, who said that the border problem should
be resolved before independence and before it becomes an international
issueY Queensland Premier, Job Bjelke-Peterson, however, in the middle
of a state election campaign, was adamant that the border would not be
negotiated. Torres Strait Islanders are Australian citizens and must continue
to enjoy the beneficence of the Australian and Queensland governments. A
writer in the Brisbane Courier-Mail supported the Premier's stand for, on a
visit to these islands, he found the people "friendly and hospitable; patriotic
to Queensland, Australia and the Crown" .18 The Commonwealth government

May-August 1972


which has been unable to resolve its own stance on offshore rights was hardly
in a position to take action.
Periodic clashes on the West Irian border between Indonesian troops and
West Irian "freedom fighters" 19 and a small stream of West Irianese
requesting permissive residence continue to pose problems for the
government. A minor controversy arose in mid-August when Somare
contradicted the grounds offered by the Administrator for the deportation
of eight West Irianese. Somare said that "criminals, spies or those using
Papua New Guinea as a base for operations against Indonesian authorities"
would not be granted permissive residency. 20 The Administrator had
previously said that the deportees were not connected with the Free Papua
Movement but were being deported because they could not satisfy the
conditions of permissive residency and that they would not face persecution
on their return to West Irian. In Jakarta, the Indonesian Foreign Minister,
Dr Malik, widened the perspective on the problem by suggesting that
relations would become difficult if Papua New Guinea were to progress
politically and economically far in advance of West Irian. 21
On the eastern front Papua New Guinea's membership of the South
Pacific Forum - .a conference of Pacific leaders to afford "top-level
consultation and cooperation on the politicallevel" 22 - was opposed by Fiji
on the grounds that Papua New Guinea was not yet self-governing or
independent and may not be able to speak for itself. Fiji's objection was
understandable considering the size of Papua New Guinea in relation to the
other Pacific nations, but So mare was not amused at the implication of being
a "stooge". At a seminar held at the university on 17 and 18 June, several
ministers, including the Chief Minister, presented short papers on aspects
of a future foreign policy for Papua New Guinea. The ideas presented could
only be described as "pushes" towards policy but it was obvious that a
separate identity was of prime importance. An editorialist described the
papers as rather "cheerful anti-Australianism". 23
Constitutional Talks
To facilitate the transfer of power to Papua New Guinea, a "programme of
legislative and administrative actions" had been undertaken early in 1972.
In July and August a series of talks was held which involved Peacock,
Somare, Toliman (as Leader of the Opposition), Fr Momis (later to become
deputy chairman of the Constitutional Planning Committee) and most other
ministers. Somare indicated his intention to obtain final powers over as many
areas as possible and Peacock played along with the very familiar theme of
"developing at your own pace". Matthias Toliman announced that the
Opposition was not bound by any decisions of the conference. At the end
of the talks a list of powers to be transferred was agreed upon. 24 Somare
was to become spokesman on both defence and police matters, and he had
the power to create new ministries. The powers which have yet to be
transferred- for example trade, internal security and most importantly, the
public service- indicate that the constitutional stage reached is still that of


David Hegarty

Prior to these talks a series of study groups composed of officials from
Canberra and Konedobu had prepared the background to those powers
transferred. After the talks a plethora of committees or study groups was
set up to prepare reports for Papua New Guinea ministers for the next round
of constitutional talks to be held in October. The groups were composed of
members of the Chief Minister's Office, officers from relevant departments
and academics from the university and the New Guinea Research Unit. Their
task was to recommend appropriate policy and strategy for the Papua New
Guinea government to pursue in the October negotiations. The use of these
groups was an interesting attempt at policy formulation. There were the
obvious difficulties: colonial administrators trying to wear new hats,
academics trying to shape policy without access to recent files and
mtormatwn, and the uncertainty of the shape of the second development
programme. The growth of these groups appears to have arisen from a desire
on the part of the Chief Minister's advisers to utilise all advice possible, to
find alternative approaches other than those produced by departments, and
to circumvent the considerable influence of personalities in the upper
echelons of the public service. The use of these groups raises the problem
of the politics and quality of advice obtained, and of the possible resentment
of outsiders by public servants. This may be, however, the first small step
towards reorienting the colonial Administration towards one designed to deal
with development problems.
Other Developments

In the House of Assembly the Coalition consolidated its position with

comparative ease. It can now count on a majority of about twenty on almost
every division. The Leader of the Opposition was recognised "as the chief
spokesman for the members of the House who are not allied politically with
the Ministers", 25 but not before Tei Abal objected to the use of the word
"opposition". The United party named its shadow ministry on 19 June. The
Speaker, Perry Kwan, resigned and was replaced by Barry Holloway
(Eastern Highlands Regional). 26 On 23 June a Constitutional Planning
Committee with wide terms of reference was announced.
There was some unrest among backbenchers; party meetings were
infrequent and members felt that ministers were ignoring them. Outside the
legislature parties appeared almost moribund, causing some observers to
reflect that parties may, after all, be largely a colonial phenomenon.
On the Gazelle Peninsula the Gazelle Local Government Council was
suspended and, following visits by a team from the Chief Minister's Office,
some progress was made towards a settlement ofthe long-lived dispute. The
"Emanuel trial" in Rabaul which had lasted five months at an estimated cost
of between $260,000 and $500,000, concluded on 21 June when Chief
Justice Minogue jailed five Tolais for periods of eighteen months to fourteen
years for the murder of the District CommissionerY In sentencing the men
the Chief Justice said that the significance of land in Tolai society and the

May-August 1972


frustration at what the Kabaira villagers conceived to be injustice were

sufficient extenuating circumstances for him not to apply harsher penalties.
Despite the importance of national level politics the credibility of the
government will ultimately be determined by its effectiveness at the local
level. Moves such as a village court system- designed to have an impact at
that level are under consideration.


David Hegarty

The performance of the National Coalition government in the last months

of 1972 may be characterised as one of caution and compromise. It was probably
inevitable that, given the nature ofthe coalition, the slow process offormulating
policy and of restructuring colonial institutions, and the continuing regional
disparities in development, compromise and concession should be the case.
This approach to government led to disenchantment among some of the
radicals in the country who desire more positive action, particularly on grassroots development, and did little to ease the uncertainty -both of nationals
and expatriates -which prevails during the transition to independence. There
were, however, significant achievements in the period under review. A target
date for self-government, 1 December 1973, "or as soon as possible thereafter,
was adopted by the House of Assembly; a Cor:.stitutiona! Planning
Committee began work on recommendadons for a constitution for a selfgoverning and later independent Papua New Guinea; government policy on
the size and shape of the public service was introduced; backbenchers
pushed the government into adopting a policy on future mining agreements;
and government aims on economic development were announced.
Constitutional Development
In June the Chief Minister, Michael Somare, proposed the formation of an
all-party Constitutional Planning Committee (CPC) which would "make
recommendations for a constitution for full internal self-government in a
united Papua New Guinea, with a view to eventual independence".' In
making its recommendations the CPC would consider such matters as the
system of government, central, regional and local relations, relations with
Australia, control of the public service, an ombudsman, a bill of rights,
protection of minorities, citizenship and constitutional review. By September
the composition of the CPC was finalised with Sornare as ex-officio chairman
and Fr John Momis as deputy chairman. The government nominated seven
other members: the chairmen of the two previous Select Committees on
Constitutional Development, Dr John Guise and Paulus Arek, and two Pangu
members, one Mataungan, one PPP member and one National party
member. The United party, which was originally allocated five places on

September-December 1972


the CPC was conceded one more when the CPC was approved by the House.
The permanent consultants to the CPC are Professor J.W. Davidson,
Professor of Pacific History at the Australian National University, who has
acted as constitutional adviser to Western Samoa, Nauru, the Cook Islands
and Micronesia; Dr David Stone, a Research Fellow in politics at the New
Guinea Research Unit who has had constitutional experience in the Cook
Islands; and Edward Wolfers, Lecturer in Political Science at Macquarie
University, who is well known to many MHAs through his research in
Papua New Guinea over the past five years. John Ley, legal counsel to the
House of Assembly, was appointed legal officer, and Seaea Avosa, an arts
graduate from the University of Papua New Guinea was appointed executive
officer. In November a Papua New Guinea law graduate from the University
of Sydney, Bernard Narakobi, was appointed as a fourth permanent
consultant. Two overseas constitutional authorities, Professor Ali Mazrui
ofMakerere University, Uganda, and ProfessorY.P. Ghai of the International
Legal Centre at the United Nations, are expected to consult with the CPC
in 1973.
Previously constitutional development had occurred either at the initiative
of the Commonwe.alth government or on the recommendations of the House
of Assembly's Select Committees on Constitutional Development whose
reports were rarely out of step with Canberra. Although still subject to the
Australian government's final approval, the CPC has almost complete
freedom of action and for the first time decisions affecting the constitutional
future of the country are to be made in the country and by its politicians.
The broad terms of reference of the CPC, however, posed a problem for the
government in that, should the government require any constitutional or
structural change it must either consult with the CPC or await its
recommendations. Political and administrative tensions generated during
this transition period might require the government to act unilaterally on
such matters as, for example, regional autonomy. The Minister for Local
Government, Boyamo Sali, has already opened a number of Area Authorities
which may be the forerunner to some form of district government. In the
short-term, however, the CPC was useful to the government for it helped
slow down the transfer of power by insisting on critical examination of each
proposal. During the discussions preceding the planned October round of
Constitutional Talks between the Minister for External Territories, Andrew
Peacock, and the Administrator's Executive Council, several ministers
expressed alarm at the pace at which they were acquiring power and at the
confusion over exactly in which areas they had final responsibility. The CPC,
faced with the possibilities of being pre-empted by seeing power transferred
to structures which it had not yet analysed, also became involved in the
preliminary discussions. The upshot was that the Constitutional Talks were
cancelled and a system of detailed consultations replaced them.
After preliminary talks to decide on the "substantive matters" to be
included in the recommendations for a constitution, the CPC made
arrangements to use the Government Liaison Branch of the Chief Minister's
Office, "as a channel of communication between the Committee and the


David Hegarty

people" .2 The government Liaison Branch- formerly the Political Education

Branch - has an establishment of about forty officers whose task is to
establish "discussion groups" throughout the districts to channel
communications from the central government to the village people and to
facilitate "feed-back". The role of the branch has changed from that of
"explaining" to people alternative systems of government to one of
engendering confidence about self-government, but opinions are divided on
its utility. In mid-December the CPC issued statements requesting people
to comment on what relationships they thought were desirable between
central, regional and local levels of government; on how respect may be
maintained for traditional leaders; and on the qualifications people thought
desirable for Papua New Guinea citizenship. On this latter question the CPC
suggested that "dual citizenship" should not be permitted. The Committee's
practice of issuing a comment or suggestion before asking people's opinion
is a welcome change from that of the previous Constitutional Committees
and one which will probably be used throughout its deliberations.
Perhaps the most important problem facing the CPC is that of the
reconciliation of regional demands. The composition of the Committee
should ensure that those demands are fully articulated. Given that
independence constitutions do not frequently stand the test of time, the CPC
may be able to provide a transitional framework which can accommodate
the many centrifugal forces operating in Papua New Guinea at this point.
The issue of self-government appeared finally settled, at least for the
House of Assembly, when on 19 September the National Coalition
successfully moved that the House take note of a paper introduced by the
Chief Minister in the June session, which set out the government's timetable. After a long debate the target date of "1 December, 1973, or as soon
as possible thereafter" for full internal self-government was agreed to by
fifty-two votes to thirty-four. 3 Somare had explained that the addition of the
words "or as soon as possible thereafter" was necessary in case proposed
changes in legislation could not be prepared by that time. He defined full
internal self-government as that which left only power over defence and
external affairs with the Australian government. In an earlier speech he had
also referred to Australia's right to revoke the power over internal security
which was to be handed over at self-government. 4 The Opposition argued
that the people had not voted in favour of early self-government and that
the country was unprepared in terms of educated manpower to become selfgoverning. Paul Langro and Anton Parao injected a new line by arguing that
the type of government should be determined before the date was set. Parao
told the government that: "If you wish to obtain political power at this stage
you should ensure that all the administrative processes are workable." 5 In
the same speech Parao observed that because so few people understood what
self-government was about, he did not want to see "a white colonial
government handed to a black colonial government". 6 Other interesting
speeches in the debate included those of Damien ToKereku (East New
Britain Regional), a Mataungan leader, who called for a state government
for the Gazelle if members didn't want self-government, and of Josephine

September-December 1972


Abaijah (Central Regional) who again attacked the Australian government

for wanting to get rid of its "colonial embarrassment" and for leaving Papua
"a destitute colony of the Trust Territory of New Guinea". 7
In reply, government speakers emphasised that it was time for Papua New
Guinea to make decisions; that the Australian Labor party would insist on
self-government; and that in reality with most decisions being made in Port
Moresby, the country was almost self-governing already. Somare changed
his call for a seventy-six per cent majority of MHAs to approve the target
date to that of a "substantial majority".

Public Service
One of the most significant changes which occurred during the period under
review was that in government policy on the size and composition of the
PNG public service. Early in September in an Information Paper to the
House of Assembly, the Public Service Board reviewed the steps which had
been taken since August 1971 to advance the localisation of the public
service. The measures taken to hasten localisation included the
establishment oflqcalisation committees in each department to identify local
officers with potential and to set target dates; the implementation of a
promotion scheme designed to give preference to "efficient local officers";
the establishment of a "Senior Executive Programme" for training for senior
posts; and the expansion of training facilities. The Information Paper,
however, did not clarify where the final responsibility for localisation lay.
The Public Service Board estimated that, even with high targets for
localisation in all divisions of the service and with an expansion rate of only
half that of the previous five years, there would still be a need for over 7,000
overseas officers in 1976 (overseas officers would then constitute an
estimated twenty-three per cent of a total service of 30,000 compared with
thirty-one percent of a total service of 25,500 in 1971 ).
Publication of the Board's document provoked the government into
framing new guidelines. During the budget debate the Opposition criticised
public service expense and Somare answered this on 26 September by
announcing a drastic change in public service policy. 8 The service would
not grow at anything like the rate projected by the Public Service Board;
expatriate numbers in the service would be reduced from 7,000 to 3,000
over a period of three and a half years; and the number of departments and
statutory corporations would also be reduced. These reductions were
necessary, So mare said- for Papua New Guinea could not afford to maintain
a service based on Australian lines - and it was time that Papua New
Guineans had more responsibility in the running of the country.
Somare further clarified his new policy by explaining that it was not
intended as a "purge" of overseas officers 9 but reductions would be achieved
by non-renewal of contracts and non-replacement of officers whose contracts
had expired and by a natural retirement rate; by reducing the number of
temporary employees; and by a compulsory retirement scheme which would
be utilised once the Employment Security Scheme was finalised. The


David Hegarty

reverberations of the new policy were a dominant feature of the final months
of 1972. The Public Service Board's Information Paper implied that
localisation would continue at a leisurely pace within the framework of
existing structures and policies, and it made clear that there were no plans
or procedures for reducing the expatriate content of the public service. The
new policy required that plans be produced immediately and the response
was a mechanical application of the targets suggested by Somare;
department heads were asked to recommend programmes for reducing their
expatriate staff by sixteen per cent per annum. A Cabinet sub-committee,
co-opting the chairman of the Public Service Board, was appointed to
oversee the reduction effort, assisted by an "officials committee" composed
largely of Papua New Guinean public servants.
The new policy also made it evident that there could be no further delay in
settling arrangements for employment security for expatriate public servants.
Failure of the Australian government to provide details of compensation for
officers displaced or localised or compulsorily retired had hampered the
development of an effective localisation programme for several years. In
1971 the Public Service Association of Papua New Guinea and the
Department of External Territories agreed on compensation terms, but these
were rejected by the Australian Cabinet and counter-proposals were
withdrawn in the face of opposition from the House of Assembly, supporting
the Public Service Association. After a further rejection by the Australian
Cabinet of terms satisfactory to the Public Service Association, the then
Minister for External Territories, Andrew Peacock, appointed a South
Australian businessman, A.M. Simpson, to inquire into the issue and formulate
new proposals. The Simpson Report, largely favourable to the Public Service
Association position, had been submitted at the time Somare announced the
new public service policy, and the report was accepted in principle by the
Australian government late in October 1972. In brief the report recommends:
1. The Australian government be responsible for payment of compensation
for loss of career, superannuation and repatriation expenses;
2. Permanent officers and contract officers employed by the Minister for
External Territories (i.e, excluding temporary appointments and secondees)
be deemed Commonwealth employees;
3. At either 1 December 1973 (or at an earlier transfer of public service
control), or at 30 June 1976 (or earlier independence), permanent officers may
voluntarily terminate their careers and receive compensation of three times
superannuation contributions at the first date or 4.2 times compensation at
the second; and
4. That there will be no compulsion for permanent officers to accept alterative
Anxiety and uncertainty among expatriate public servants, which had
been focused on compensation terms, turned to the localisation/reduction
programme and the letters columns of the Post-Courier were filled with dire
forecasts of a drastic reduction in efficiency, as well as sharper critiques of

September-December 1972


the sixteen per cent "across the board" exercise.

The actual progress of high-level localisation did not radically change
during the first months of the new policy. But it was clear that the Board's
localisation targets in its Information Paper which included two or three
Heads of Departments and two or three District Commissioners by the end
of 1972 would be superseded. The Senior Executive Programme, after
several months of hesitation, was revived in a week-long October seminar
of the forty senior Papua New Guinean public servants, who proposed new
arrangements for their own future training and posting. The problems which
might arise during the process of high-level localisation were brought to
the fore when it was reported that the government intended to appoint a
senior indigenous kiap, Joseph Nombri (a founding member of the Pangu
pati), as understudy to the Commissioner of Police. The local police
association, strongly supported by expatriate police, protested vigorously
to both the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments and Nombri
was posted elsewhere.
In November the Public Service Board and the Public Service
Association reached agreement on wage increases for local public servants.
Substantial increases were granted to lower range public servants as a
flow-on from a decision by the Minimum Wages Board to increase the
minimum urban wage from $8.00 per week to $13.80 per week. The Public
Service Association agreed not to make further claims for another three
years unless the cost of living rose by more than ten per cent after
September 1973. This agreement followed soon after the government
established an interdepartmental committee to investigate incomes, wages
and prices policy.
Economic Policy
On 29 August, in the House of Assembly, the Minister for Internal Finance,
Julius Chan, brought down the budget for 1972-73. 11 Although this was the
first budget to be introduced by an elected MHA, it was one which the
National Coalition had little hand in preparing. Total expenditure for 197273 was estimated at $225 million - an increase of $23 million on that of
Revenue sources included the Commonwealth grant-in-aid of $30
million; the Commonwealth Development Grant of $48.5 million; general
loan raising $27 million; and international loans of $14.9 million. Internal
revenue was expected to increase by $10 million from that of 1971-72 to
$95 million. Additional internal revenue raising measures included increased
import duty on cars, tobacco and wines; the abolition of the "Personal
Allowance" taxation deduction of $572; a dividend withholding tax of fifteen
per cent; and minor increases in fees and charges relating to Customs, Lands
and Companies Ordinances. Papua New Guinea Treasury officials have been
handicapped over the years in that they have not been permitted to budget
for a deficit or accumulate a surplus. Their borrowing programme has been
related more to balancing the budget than to the country's capacity to repay


David Hegarty

A further difficulty which officials experienced in framing the 1972-73
Budget was that they had no knowledge of the amount of assistance available
from the Australian government unti119 July. As usual there was little public
reaction to the budget. The United party's opposition in the House amounted
only to criticism of the internal revenue raising measures. John Kaputin
criticised the protection of foreign interests implicit in the budget. In
November, Julius Chan and the Treasurer, Harry Ritchie, visited financial
institutions in Australia to seek investor support for the $27 million loan
programme. Press reports indicated that the minister would have difficulty
in raising the sum required. 12
The first outward signs of tension in the coalition arose over the adoption
of investment policy relating to mining. On an ABC current affairs
programme the Minister for Mines, Paul Lapun (South Bouga.iuvilh::), haJ
proffered his personal view that the Bougainville Copper Agreement was
not sufficiently beneficial to the country and that it might need to be renegotiated. Challenged by Ron Neville (Southern Highlands Regional) in
the House of Assembly about his view, Lapun reiterated that he thought it
was "proper to discuss re-negotiation of the agreement" .13
More concern was aroused, however, when on 27 September Fr John
Momis (Bougainville Regional) tabled a long private-member's motion,
without notice, on future mining ventures. 14 The preamble of the motion
called on the government to recognise that economic control was essential
to "self-determination and real political independence" and that investment
principles relating to mining ventures should be adopted. The list of thirteen
"principles" included a majority of equity in the project to be held by the
government; maximum employment of Papua New Guineans; employee
participation and decision-making in management; maximum participation
by Papua New Guineans in ancillary economic activity; government
purchase of equity to be paid out of future earnings of the mine; tax holidays
to be balanced against the country's need for revenue; and for the
government to recruit a specialist team to engage in the negotiation and
supervision of mining ventures. The section of the motion which caused
most controversy, however, read as follows: "(i) An Agreement setting up a
mining venture should make provision for its re-negotiation in the light of
changing circumstances and the acquisition of new knowledge."
The motion was attacked in the House and in the press for implying that
no future agreements would be considered binding and that potential
investment would not be forthcoming. (It was reported that within twelve
hours of Lapun's interview the Investment Corporation had been contacted
by a London stockbroker asking for confirmation that the Minister for Mines
had advocated mining re-negotiations.) One direct result of the motion was
that Bougainville Copper shares fell sharply on Australian Stock Exchanges.
The difficulty Chan had found in attracting investment in the loan
programme was also attributed to the Bougainvilleans' move. BCP and other
mining lobbyists were active and observers thought that this was an issue
over which the PPP might break with the coalition. 15

September-December 1972


There was obvious tension within the Administrator's Executive Council.

On 13 November, the Post-Courier reported that Chan (leader of the PPP)
and Kavali (leader of the National party) had given support to Fr Momis'
proposals. The next day Chan denied the report. On 15 November it was
announced that Somare would not open the Bougainville Copper Mine.
Somare denied accusations that he was under pressure from Bougainville
MHAs to cancel this engagement. The official members urged that to take
up majority equities would be unrealistic for at this stage of development
the country did not have sufficient skilled manpower to service such
arrangements. They were eventually overruled. Chan and his party remained
committed to the coalition. He quickly pointed out, however, that the PPP
proposed to announce its guidelines for overseas investment in the near
future. By the end of the year no statement had been made which was
perhaps an indication of further dealing within the coalition.
In the November session of the House Fr Momis moved three minor
amendments and Paul Lapun one major amendment to the motion. Lapun's
statement deleted all reference to the word "re-negotiation" by omitting
paragraph (i) and inserting, "An agreement setting up a mining venture
should include formulae agreed to by the parties which provide for changing
circumstances, such as price fluctuations, variations in profitability and
development of new techniques". 16 Although the United party criticised the
motion on the grounds that it damaged investor confidence, both the
amendments and the motion were passed on the voices with few dissenters.
It was almost inevitable that such a move on mining policy emanated from
the Bougainvilleans. The long-standing issue on Bougainville over the
presence of the mine has widened recently to a discussion of the tenure of
the agreement. 17 During the 1972 election campaign considerable mention
was made of re-negotiation. The Momis motion, which had very strong
support from government backbenchers in the House, did nothing to ensure
that existing contracts would not yet be re-negotiated.
The division within the government over investment policy was amplified
by a long internal debate over development objectives and a future planning
organisation. In mid-December Somare announced the economic aims of
his government and a new planning organisation for the next Economic
Development Programme. 18 The aims include a rapid increase in the
proportion of the economy under the control of Papua New Guineans;
decentralisation of economic activity with an emphasis on agricultural
development; the equalisation of services throughout the country; the
encouragement of small-scale artisan and business activity; a more selfreliant economy with less dependence on imported foods and services; and
government control and involvement in the economy where necessary to
assure the desired kind of development. It was obvious that the UNDP report
(the "Faber Report") - the draft of which had been circulated within the
Administration in August - had had a considerable impact on the
government. The programme, however, was to be known as the
"Improvement Programme" and it appeared that the second five-year plan
had been postponed for some time.


David Hegarty

In line with the new objectives the large centralised Office of Programming
and Coordination is to be abolished and a small central planning secretariat
responsible to a Cabinet committee on planning is to be established. The
new secretariat will be physically located in the Department of Finance "for
administrative purposes". The Cabinet committee on planning is to be
comprised of the four coalition leaders, two senior local officer public
servants and one leading Papua New Guinean non-official. The new
machinery represents a compromise between the Office of the Chief Minister
and the Department of Finance- both of which sought to have the planning
secretariat attached to their departments. The reason given for the smallness
of the planning secretariat was that in future much of the planning process
will be decentralised, to departments and districts. In summary, government
activity highlighted problems of administ rative innovation and of the
inadequacy of structures. Policy formulation in such important areas as
localisation and economic planning was going without, or without regard
for appropriate consultative machinery. It appeared to some that the
administrative system was being "overloaded".

Regional Politics
Apart from handling basic questions of government policy and structure
and managing conflict within the House and within the coalition itself, the
government faced difficulties and pressures from various regions.
In October and November throughout many parts of the Highlands a
combination of drought and frost necessitated a large famine relief
operation. By mid-October an estimated 61,000 villagers, mainly from the
Southern and Western Highlands districts were dependent on government
food supplies of rice and tinned fish. The cost of the relief was estimated to
amount to $2 million.
Throughout the period, however, and even in parts of the famine areas,
tribal fighting and brawling occurred on an increasing scale. From
September to December there were numerous press reports of fights over
land, marriage and other clan disputes. Although very few deaths occur at
any one time, the system of "pay-back" ensures a continuation of the
disputes. On at least two occasions tribesmen turned on district
administration staff and forced them to retreat. Part of the cause of the
fighting appears to be an attempt to reassert group solidarity and to revive
the status of the older fight leaders in a period of rapid social change. Courts
were hastily convened and hundreds of warriors imprisoned, but it is obvious
that law enforcement measures are inadequate. District administration,
police and local government infrastructures are extremely fragile in the
Although the government convened a committee of senior Papua New
Guineans to investigate the law and order problem, the introduction of
village courts and the reduction in size of local government councils may
be the only viable method of administration other than more authoritarian
forms of rule.

September-December 1972


The period under review also saw the emergence of the Highlands
Liberation Front which was formed by a group of university students with
the expressed intention of "liberating" Highlanders from the domination of
whites and coastal people. The front claimed that expatriate businessmen
had exploited Highlands resources and labour and that coastal Papua New
Guineans dominate senior public service positions. The aims of the front
include a controlling interest in all businesses in the Highlands for the
Highlanders themselves; decentralisation of the public service and army;
the appointment of Highlanders to senior administrative posts; and
"liberation" of the tourist-oriented Goroka and Mount Hagen shows. The
front appears to have little grass-roots support but it is the first Highlands
group to articulate regional demands for concessions from the government
other than demands for roads and bridges of the more conservative United
party MHAs. Many Highlands students active in political parties have
rejected the front because of its regionalism.
On the Gazelle Peninsula the political situation appeared more stable than
for some time. Although Europeans and Chinese continued to emigrate from
the area the Tolai factions appeared to have arrived at some compromise. In
September the government introduced a bill designed to give a special form
of "local self-government" to the Gazelle. The bill was considerably
amended in the November session and was then adjourned without debate
until 1973. The bill provides for the abolition of the Gazelle Peninsula Local
Government Council (which had been suspended in June), the establishment
of a trust to manage the property of the council, and for the recognition of
three "groups" on the Gazelle. These groups are the Warkurai Nigunan (the
Mataungan Association's form of local government), the Warbete Kivung,
which is a group of Tolais who have refused to participate in local
government since its inception, and the Greater Toma Council which consist
of groups loyal to the former Gazelle council and which in October held
their own informal elections. The groups still have power to tax their
registered members and will be less subject to central government
supervision over spending than previous councils.
No coordinating machinery is provided for but the idea of a likun or a
community approach has been suggested. The sentencing of Matthias
Toliman to two months' jail for his part in a scuffle at Toma at which the
Minister for Lands, Albert Maori Kiki, and several Mataungan leaders were
present, was another item of interest. 20 Toliman later successfully appealed
against his sentence. Of further interest was the announcement in November
of the considerable assets and plans for expansion of the New Guinea
Development Corporation - the business arm of the Mataungan
Association. 21
On Bougainville the secession movement continues. At a seminar
organised by the students' "Mungkas" (black skin) Association, many
speakers including Fr Momis and Leo Hannett were more cautious in their
approach to the question. It appeared that the students were more committed
to secession than their political leaders. The murder of two senior
Bougainvillean public servants in Goroka on 26 December after a car


David Hegarty

accident in which a young Gorokan girl was killed, sparked off demands
for Bougainvilleans to return home and for coastal public servants to refuse
postings in the Highlands. Early in the New Year, Somare, on a visit to
Bougainville, was confronted by angry villagers.


David Hegarty

Australian Policy
The end of 1972 saw the defeat of the McMahon Coalition government in
Australia. Early in 1973 the new Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam,
and the Minister for External Territories, Bill Morrison, laid down the Labor
government's policy on self-government and independence for Papua New
Guinea. The policy was essentially that which the ALP - and Whitlam in
particular- had advocated since 1970 and it differed only in emphasis from
that pursued by Peacock's administration in 1972. The first difference was
the emphasis which the Labor leaders placed on the target of 1974 for
independence. Both affirmed previous statements that Australia was "no
longer willing to be the ruler of a colony". 1 The second difference was on
the question of aid. Australian aid would continue into independence at least
at the present level and Papua New Guinea would have "first call" on
Australia's future foreign aid programme. Consideration would also be given
to grants over a three-year period rather than on the present year-to-year
basis. However, late in April, Bill Morrison indicated that contributions after
independence may take the form of "tied" or "project" aid. 2 The third
difference was the emphasis which the Prime Minister, in particular, laid
on national unity. In his February speech he made it clear that Australia
would deal only with the central government of Papua New Guinea. In a
clear warning to potential secessionists he said: "It is folly for anybody to
believe that any section of Papua New Guinea would serve its interests by
going it alone. For it would truly mean going it alone." 3
The Australian emphasis on 197 4 as the target for independence
immediately generated tension within political circles and between the
Minister for External Territories and the Chief Minister, Michael Somare.
Early in January, on his first visit, Morrison announced that his talks with
Somare would concern "terminal arrangements" for independence. 4 When
interviewed after the talks Morrison told journalists that Papua New Guinea
would be independent in 1974; that the change would be a natural "flow-on"
from self-government; and that there was no difference in attitude toward
independence between himself and the Papua New Guinea government. 5
Although Somare and members of his Cabinet may privately agree on the
desirability of early independence, Morrison's announcement was an obvious


David Hegarty

embarrassment. The Leader of the Opposition, Matthias Toliman, criticised

the setting of a target date as a threat to stability and unity, and he accused
the Chief Minister of making "private arrangements for independence". 6 In
a later statement Toliman charged that the government was ignoring the
people and that changes were being "dictated by a small self-appointed
elite". 7 He expressed sorrow that John Guise, the Deputy Chief Minister,
had had to support his Chief publicly on the issue. (His reference to Guise
was later interpreted as part of a move to split the National Coalition.)
During that week (8-15 January) Toliman toured the Highlands and it was
reported that at many meetings people spoke in opposition to the target date. 8
Another immediate, but less emotional, reaction came from the
Anglican bishop, David Hand, who suggested that a referendum should be
held in 1974 to test public opinion. 9 Guise, in characteristic language, told
Bishop Hand that he should "confine himself to the spintual care of his
church ... before pointing his episcopal finger of ill-formed criticism to
political matters" .10
In the face of criticism and the potential reaction to early independence,
Somare, who was in the middle of a politically difficult tour of Bougainville,
was forced to concede that independence could be delayed if necessary, and
that the people of Papua New Guinea would make the final decision.U In
Canberra in mid-January, Somare sought an assurance from Whitlam that
Australia would not act unilaterally on a target date. Whitlam affirmed that,
"Australia for her part, would work towards independence in 1974, but that
the timing for independence would be subject to consultation with the Papua
New Guinea government and to endorsement by the Papua New Guinea
House of Assembly as representing the wishes of the people" .12
Objections to early independence have been articulated in similar terms
to those opposed to self-government. Roman Catholic bishop, Louis
Vangeke, interviewed in Sydney said that the people, particularly the
Highlanders, were "not ready for it", and that "tribal fighting and warfare"
would ensue. 13 During Whitlam's visit to the Highlands in mid-February,
politicians and tribal leaders presented him with a petition which opposed the
setting of a target date for independence "because the Coalition government
has shown itself incapable of self-government, let alone independence ... " 14
The petition expressed doubts about the maturity and responsibility of the
government and about the quality of advice which the government was
receiving. The leaders urged Whitlam to encourage foreign investment and
to help create employment opportunities for the growing numbers of school
leavers. 15 During the February-March session of the House of Assembly the
Opposition moved to reject the target date and to ensure that the people
would have the right to decide on the attainment of independence. 16 Tei Abal
(Wabag) in moving the motion stressed that "outsiders" should not take part
in the independence decision; that more time was needed to encourage
investment, to retain Europeans and to train more Papua New Guineans; and
that Highlands MHAs would have serious difficulty explaining the decision
to their people. An amendment moved by Somare affirming that Papua New
Guinea should experience self-government before elected members decide on



independence was carried by forty-two votes to thirty-four, but only after

government and Opposition backbenchers insisted on continuing the debate. 17
Reaction at the local level to impending self-government and
independence has been much more complex. There is a wide gap in the
writing of social scientists about what people at the village level know of
central/national government activity and of their perception of current
events. Similarly little is known about the processes of communication at
the grass-roots level and about the reception and retention of political
"messages". A crisis of legitimacy is occurring, however, as the transfer of
power and the withdrawal of the colonial power proceeds. People are
uncertain that the authority and security experienced under colonial rule will
continue and consequently are reverting to traditional methods of security
and group solidarity. Much of the tribal fighting now occurring in the
Highlands is in part a reaction to contemporary political changes. 18
Transfer of Power

Australian policy was thus to continue the rapid transfer of power to the
Papua New Guinea government. Since 1972 the process of transfer has
occurred within the framework of a "gearing up programme". This
programme categorised the powers to be transferred essentially into three:
(a) those which would be transferred by 1 December 1973; 19 (b) those which
might not be transferred until after self-government; 20 and (c) those problems
and powers which would not be resolved until independence. 21 Alterations
would be made to the Papua New Guinea Act so that by 1 December only
provisions relating to the Trusteeship Agreement and reserved areas such
as defence and foreign affairs would remain in Australia's hands.
The method of transfer has involved a continuous series of discussions
between officials of the government and the Department of External
Territories, followed by consultations between the Chief Minister and the
Minister for External Territories. Once agreement is reached on a group of
powers to be transferred, Cabinet and House of Assembly approval is
obtained. The Territories Minister then signs the "approved arrangements"
(Section 25, Papua New Guinea Act) granting powers to the ministers
(Section 24). Initially the approved arrangements listed the powers which
ministers could exercise but recently the arrangements have described the
ministers' general power over their departments (and statutory bodies) and
have listed in an annex the powers for which the Australian government
remains responsible. On 30 April, Morrison signed instruments which laid
out in the most complete form for some time, the powers and responsibilities
of the Papua New Guinea ministry and the Australian "administration"
respectively. 22
These written arrangements, however, are not completely tidy for there
are powers "waiting" to be transferred but for which there has been no
appropriate minister (e.g. Justice), and many powers which remain, on paper,
an Australian responsibility but which are in fact being exercised by
ministers. For example, the Chief Minister controls the Improvement


David Hegarty

Programme; the Minister for Finance international loans; and the Minister
for Trade and Industry tariff policy. In many such areas the government
decides its policy and then informs Australia.
This gradual approach has the advantage of allowing the government to
"phase-in" self-government. The intention has been to avoid an "abrupt step"
which might aggravate the prevailing suspicions of the consequences of selfgovernment. The government has been able to proclaim for some time that
it is "almost self-governing". A further advantage has been to allow the
ministers to control the pace of the transfer and to ensure that the proposed
arrangements are acceptable.
The method of transfer, however, has on at least two occasions created
tensions between the government and the all-party Constitutional Planning
Committee (CPC) which has the task of framing a "home-grown"
constitutionY The first occasion involved a boycott of the CPC by United
party members from 29 March to 9 April. One of the reasons given for the
walk-out was that the CPC was merely an "academic exercise" and that
decisions on constitutional change were being made outside the
Committee. 24 Somare made it clear, however, that the Committee would
continue its work with the target for self-government at 1 December 1973.
There were other factors involved in the dispute including some politicking
by staff in the Opposition Leader's office, annoyance at the government's
handling of the independence date, the appointment of an "independent
adviser", and accusations of bias against the permanent consultants. The
boycott ended with only a minor concession to the United party - an
agreement to appoint an executive officer to assist Tei Abal. 25 So far that
position has not been filled.
The second occasion arose at the end of April when Somare and Morrison
issued a joint communique describing talks in which they had reviewed the
progress toward self-government and considered the nc:<xt group of powers
to be transferred. 26 The Deputy Chief Minister, Dr John Guise, and the acting
Minister for Finance, Gavera Rea, were the only other representatives at
the discussions. The communique said that no formal agreement had been
reached but such topics as the withdrawal of official members from the
House of Assembly, the future role of the Administrator, 27 the transfer of
control over the Improvement Programme, and those matters (including
electoral policy, currency, membership of international organisations) which
"for administrative or constitutional reasons might not be transferred until
after self-government" .28
Members of the CPC immediately viewed these moves as an attempt to
pre-empt their function and they issued an extraordinary denunciation of
the "Australian government" and "Papua New Guinea Officials". 29 In a
resolution released by the Deputy Chairman, Fr John Momis, the CPC
condemned "[t]he continuing colonialist attitude of the Australian government
towards the constitutional development of Papua New Guinea- in particular
its interference with the work of this committee ... [and] the willingness of
officials in the Office of the Chief Minister to actively collaborate in
advancing this Australian policy" .30 The resolution said that officials from



both Canberra and Port Moresby determined to push ahead with the talks
despite the absence of the Chief Minister. The CPC singled out the Political
Development Division of the Chief Minister's Office for persistently seeing
problems (of constitutional change) "in purely bureaucratic, legalistic and
technical terms, and not as questions to which solutions must be found which
accord with the political realities of this country". 31
The CPC and its advisers were obviously annoyed at being left out of
the talks (although Fr Momis had been invited but decided not to go);
frustrated at the pace at which the government wanted to move; and more
than a little piqued at being pre-empted. Fr Momis personally felt that the
officials were intent on destroying the CommitteeY
In reply Somare, himself annoyed by the attack, said that the CPC had
over-reacted to the communique and he denied that officials were sabotaging
the Committee but he would take steps to ensure better communication
between them. It was, in a sense, a crisis situation which could have been
avoided. On the one hand the talks may not have been necessary as the CPC
pointed out. Morrison may have been seeking another announcement of
substance in addition to his Waigani Seminar paper on aid although, as the
communique pointed out, the talks were the first ministerial review of the
"gearing up" programme that Papua New Guinea had had with the new
Australian government. 33 On the other hand members of the CPC may have
been misreading the role of the Committee in the essential process of
constitution-making. The upshot has been that communications and relations
between the CPC and the government have improved, but the government
is "calling the shots".

Politics and Policy

The Papua New Guinea government's major concern during the period under
review was with maintaining coalition solidarity and with the formulation
of internal policy. Somare managed to keep his Cabinet intact, but the
ministry, due largely to the balance of interests within the ranks, appeared
reluctant to make firm decisions and propose action. Rumours of a split with
Chan and/or Guise aligning with the United party were quickly discounted. 34
Backbenchers, however, became openly critical of the performance of some
ministers, alleging that some were merely role playing and were concerned
only with the trappings of office. The lack of communication between the
ministry and the backbench, even during sessions in the House, resulted in
disquiet among MHAs and prompted Michael Pondros (Manus Open) to
announce the formation of a new party. Through a series of vitriolic press
releases the Opposition attacked the government's performance but this had
little effect and led only to the eventual dismissal of a member ofToliman's
staff. There were hints of a possible Cabinet reshuffle and the Pangu pati
executive - one of the few extra-parliamentary party organs to function
regularly since the elections- suggested substantial changes in the ministry.
Pangu ministers were unhappy over the allocation of the economic portfolios
to the PPP, but Somare would not risk a confrontation over their


David Hegarty

In their continuing attempts to control their departments, ministers
experienced further frustrations. Ebia Olewale (Education) formed an
advisory committee of local public servants with direct access to him. The
PNG Teachers' Association often found the Education Minister a willing
listener on subjects in which he was in conflict with his senior officers. John
Guise also announced plans to form a similar advisory committee. Other
ministers, particularly Kiki (Lands), Arek (Information), and Okuk
(Agriculture) have obtained much of their policy advice outside their
departments or from levels below that of departmental head. Okuk found it
necessary to rebuke officers of his department in the Eastern Highlands
District for their attitude to extension work and to cooperation within the
In teuns of intetnal poli~.:y, those of economic development and the
structure of government received most attention. The objectives of the
"Improvement Programme" announced in December last year were
expanded by the Chief Minister in the House of Assembly when he moved
that the House take note of "A Report on Development Strategies for Papua
New Guinea" (the Faber Report) and endorse a list of eight aims "as the
basis for economic planning in the coming years". 35 The Faber Report
proposed policies and strategies aimed at producing a model of development
which emphasises such things as social harmony, relatively fair income
distribution and national self-reliance, as well as increased production,
employment, real income and consumption. The aims of the government
are coherent with many of the recommendations in the report. They include:
a rapid increase in the proportion of the economy under the control of Papua
New Guineans; more equal distribution of economic benefits;
decentralisation of economic activity; emphasis on small-scale artisan,
service and business activity; less dependence on imported goods; increase
in locally raised revenue; participation by women in economic and social
activity; and government control of sectors of the economy where
necessary. 36 In an address to the Economic Students' Association Somare
emphasised that rural development, self-reliance and an egalitarian society
were his government's major objectives. He spent time in his address
criticising the development of elites and elitismY
Administrative Change

As part of the continuing review of the administrative structure further

proposals were made by the government in an attempt to convert the rigid
colonial Administration into one more suited to the tasks of development.
In March the Office of the Chief Minister acquired the functions of district
administration, local government and intelligence, and became known as
the Department of the Chief Minister and Development Administration. The
Minister for Local Government, Boyamo Sali, became Minister for State
assisting the Chief Minister. At the District Commissioners' Conference in
April, Somare and Sali outlined the future powers and functions of district



administration. 38 The District Commissioner (DC) who, in future, would be

selected by Cabinet from a panel of names submitted by the Public Service
Board, would reassert his coordinating power over other departments within
the district. The DC would be responsible for coordinating both central and
district policies and plans. He would have an emergency power over police
and services in the event of a crisis situation. Local government would be
re-integrated with district administration, 39 but this would require a change
of attitude on the part of field officers and a change of orientation from
centralist control to one of responsiveness to the local community. The
government's aim was to strike a balance between central government
control sufficient to secure national objectives, and local and district
participation in decision-making. These proposals, however, particularly on
the revision of local government, are extremely vague and it remains to be
seen what action will flow from them.
In December 1972 the Cabinet established a sub-committee to deal with
localisation and, by extension, with all public service matters. In a break
from Australian Cabinet traditions, the Chairman of the Public Service
Board was named to the sub-committee along with the four coalition
leaders. 40

The localisation programme and its complementary programme for

retaining expatriate officers proceeded in fits and starts. A stream of press
releases indicated that the Department of Social Development and Home
Affairs was localising its senior positions at a rapid rate. On 27 March it
was announced that sixty-four district administration officers were to be
compulsorily retired. At the DCs Conference two weeks later John Guise
apologised for the "cavalier" manner in which decisions had been made.
By April some expatriate public servants had received letters which indicated
how long a career they could expect and asked them their intentions.
More comprehensive administrative reforms were recommended in two
reports presented to the government. "A Report on Arrangements
Appropriate to a National Public Service for Papua New Guinea" (the Besley
Report) had been prepared during 1972 by three senior officials. It was
concerned with the need for replacing public service control and internal
arrangements, mainly contained in the Public Service Ordinance of 1963,
and it recommended relatively moderate adjustments in existing Australianmodel structures rather than considering the problems of public services in
new states elsewhere.
During February an inter-departmental committee chaired by N. Rolfe
of the Public Service Board, prepared a "Report on the Restructuring of the
Public Service", which was leaked in the press on 16 March. It was
concerned not with the public service but with the reorganisation of
government functions. It recommended that existing departments be reduced
in number from eighteen to fourteen and be regrouped into functional areas,
for example, human resources, natural resources, and "area improvement".
Because of the far-reaching changes proposed, the effect that a reduction
in departments might have on the number of ministers, and the fact that
Cabinet had not yet considered the report meant that it had little chance of


David Hegarty

adoption. In April a workshop of the Senior Executive Group, comprised

of over fifty senior national public servants, met for a fortnight to consider
the Besley and Rolfe reports and recommend to Cabinet the minimal changes
necessary for a national public service responsive to the priorities and
development objectives of the government.
Local Level Activity
At the local level the tempo of political activity was maintained. The death
of two Bougainvillean public servants in Goroka in December 1972 after
an accident in which a young girl was killed had wide repercussions. Three
professional associations representing local officers - the Public Service
Association, the Teachers' Association, and the National Medical Officers'
Union - protested to the government over the safety of coastal publk
servants in the Highlands. 41 The Chief Minister on his tour of Bougainville
in January 1973 heard angry demands for the punishment of those
responsible. The incident served to increase the hostility of the protests
which Somare faced. From all parts of Bougainville came demands for
secession although more strongly from the south than the north. 42 The
Bougainville Regional Local Government Conference in early February
resolved to establish a Special Political Development Committee to
articulate and channel people's demands on the future of Bougainville and
present them to the government. The committee is comprised of village
leaders, councillors and students and is chaired and coordinated by Leo
Hannett, a university graduate and author, who had been appointed Somare's
personal adviser on Bougainville. 43 The immediate attention of the
committee was to formulate proposals for a referendum on secession and
for the structure of district government.
In the Trobriand Islands in February and March a confrontation developed
between the supporters of the Kabisawali Movement led by former
university student John Kasaipwalova, and the supporters of the local
government council who have rallied behind ChiefVanoi. The basic aim of
the "Kabisawali People's Government" is to mobilise the people for selfreliance. Trade stores have been set up in about fifty villages as a political
device to make the people less dependent on the expatriate-owned outlets.
Voluntary labour has been used to build short roads and buildings. An
attempt is being made to control part of the artifact and tourist trade. Using
an approach similar to that employed by the Mataungan Association, the
focus of hostility became the already unpopular local government council
at Losuia. Kasaipwalova urged his supporters not to pay council taxes. A
number of incidents, one of which involved the burning of a council tractor,
prompted the authorities to commit a squad of riot police to the area. 44
Kasaipwalova was later charged on three counts under the Police Offenses
Act for abusing the acting DC, laying hold of a policeman, and insulting
behaviour towards a police officer. His subsequent acquittal on two of the
charges and suspended sentence on the third (in which the magistrate found
police provocation) has enhanced rather than weakened his prestige.



Inter-clan politics was also involved and the situation verged on violent
confrontation. The Chief Minister invited the opposing chiefs to Port
Moresby in an attempt at mediation. 45 The Chief Minister's representative
attended a 2,000 strong meeting called to work out priorities in the spending
of the monies collected by the Kabisawali Movement. Both sides in the
dispute are to contest the council elections in June. 46
One of the themes of local level political activity has been (with few
exceptions) the unpopularity of local government councils. The Nemea
Landowners Association in the Abau area of the Central District is one such
group which has refused to participate in the affairs of the introduced council
yet which operates its own "para-council". An anti-tax "movement" has
grown in many parts of the country and frustration has developed with the
size of the councils, their apparent inactivity, and their powerlessness to deal
with disputes. For the Gazelle Peninsula, however, legislation was passed,
which, it was hoped, might provide a model for local government
arrangements in other parts of the country. 47 The legislation provides for the
"recognised groups" on the Gazelle - the Warkurai Nigunan, the Greater
Toma Council and the Warbete Kivung to register and tax their members.
A trust has been established to take over the assets of the old Gazelle Local
Government Council, and the executive of the trust representatives from all
groups- will decide on economic and community projects. Initial opposition
from Toliman and his supporters from the Toma Council appears to have
subsided. Mataungan Association leaders hailed the legislation as a victory.
It also signalled the end of their opposition now that one of their "causes"
was legitimate.
As in previous months most of the news which comes from the Highlands
concerns reports of tribal or inter-clan fighting involving frequently
hundreds of warriors. The immediate causes usually concern disputes over
land boundaries, marriage, sorcery, compensation claims and even card
debts. The long-term causes, of course, are associated with the environment
of rapid social, political and economic change in which land shortages,
population pressure, competition to be involved in the cash economy and
the degrees of "marginality" associated with that venture, and political
uncertainty compound the problem.<8 The absence of effective, authoritative,
dispute-settling bodies and the deployment of the police riot-squad
enforcement agencies contribute to and actually increase tension.
As a reaction to impending self-government, groups (which in many parts
of the Highlands are concentrated in close proximity) are reviving traditional
practices49 and the status attached to fighting and land are being reasserted.
Group cohesion, universally strong in New Guinea societies through
"primordial sentiments", is consequently being strengthened.
The government has received a report on tribal fighting in the Highlands
which recommends local level courts and tribunals so as to maintain a
presence of government at the village or ward level; kin group liability in
compensation; improved police field tactics; punishment of lineage groups
involved; increased maximum sentences and other longer term
recommendations such as business advisory sessions and resettlement


David Hegarty

schemes. 50

Prevailing opinion among observers of the Papua New Guinea political
scene has for the twelve months of coalition rule oscillated between degrees
of pessimism and optimism. The pessimists point to the lack of a mobilising
and integrating ideology; to the lack of mass parties or indeed party
machinery; to the tiny elite and an inadequate education system; to a rigid,
mechanistic bureaucracy constructed for other ends; to an incredible lack
of coordination; to a lack of Cabinet leadership and decision; to the crisis
of authority in the rural areas; to the rising urban crime-rate and the
inadequacies of the police; to the dependence on the Australian grant and
the inahility to assess the worth of aid and investment. On the other hand
the optimists take heart that the coalition has survived its first twelve months,
that it has put in train far-reaching policy-changes, that it has tackled
questions of structure and policy which few, if any, new states tackled prior
to self-government, that the weakness of the Opposition will allow them
three more years of rule, that gradually relationships between local and
expatriate public servants are becoming more realistic, and that gradually
a "system" of operation is being evolved in Konedobu. 51 The most useful
concept for political scientists to employ in assessing the present and the
near future appears to be C.E. Lindblom's "muddling through". It may not
be sufficient, however, when at independence, that alien power which lends,
in Georges Balandier's terms, an "artificiality" to colonial politics, is


David Hegarty

Unlike the first months of 1973 when government set the pace with transfer
of powers and the adoption of economic policy guidelines, the mid-months
were dominated by political activity. The event which provided a focus for
observers was the riot which occurred in Port Moresby on 22 and 23 July.
The search for causes highlighted existing economic and racial tensions
which had been inflamed over recent months by the activities of a Papuan
separatist movement. In so doing, questions were raised about the ability
of government- both urban and national- to resolve them. As it happened
urban administrators and government departments had neither planning nor
coordinating machinery to grapple effectively with the problems of the town,
while national leaders were absorbed in a crisis within their own coalition.
Port Moresby Riot
On Sunday, 22 July, a riot broke out in Port Moresby. The event which
triggered it off was the result of a Rugby League game in which a representative side from Papua defeated a side from New Guinea by forty-one points
to nineteen. As the crowd dispersed from the sports ground jeers and insults
hurled by New Guineans at Papuans quickly led to more violent outbursts. 1
Passengers in a bus were stoned and cars leaving the ground had windows
smashed. Taxi-truck and bus windows were smashed by flying bricks, stones
and bottles. As police reinforcements firing tear-gas moved in, the crowd
quickly moved on towards the Boroko shopping centre. A wedding being
celebrated in the backyard of an expatriate's house less than a hundred yards
from the ground was interrupted momentarily as police truncheoned a
suspected stone-thrower who had sought refuge in the driveway.
At Boroko more people- mostly Highlanders who frequent the betel nut
stalls, Chinese trade stores and hotel on Saturday and Sunday afternoonsjoined the fight. By this time most public transport had been withdrawn from
service and the crowd moved along Waigani Drive toward the suburbs of
Waigani and Tokarara four miles further out. Papuans walking home were
terrorised by New Guineans. Cars driven by Papuans or carrying Papuan
passengers were singled out for stoning and bashing. Europeans who drove
slowly were allowed to pass while others who drove quickly were stoned. As


David Hegarty

police sirens were heard behind the crowd a "chase" began. The police using
more tear-gas eventually dispersed the crowd at Waigani where the plateglass windows of three Chinese stores employing Papuan assistants were
smashed. On the route to the migrant settlements beyond both Waigani and
Tokarara chicken coops and gardens were raided by the mob as they fled
the police. Houses occupied by Papuans were stoned and their fly-wire
screens and glass louvres smashed. On the radio that evening the Chief
Minister, Michael Somare, said he was disappointed that such behaviour
should follow a game of football.
On Monday Papuans at Koki market retaliated. Police again used teargas to stop the fighting and two government ministers, Dr John Guise and
Dr Reuben Taureka, appealed to the people of the area to be peaceful. Many
coastal Papuans who had settled round Koki anchored their canoes some
distance off shore while others e~tablhh~::J lt:mporary settlements on the
nearby islands. Roadblocks restricted vehicular movements close to Port
Moresby and police prevented Highlanders and Papuans converging on the
town from nearby plantations and villages. Police appealed to residents to
stay indoors. Schools, whose numbers were depleted, closed early,
Konedobu public servants went home for the afternoon and Boroko shopping
centre was deserted. The garbage collectors (once the occupational preserve
of Goilalas but now increasingly dominated by Highlanders) continued their
rounds. In the afternoon several hundred university students, in an
impressive display of unity, marched to Koki market and to Konedobu. A
delegation then accompanied the Chief Minister to Hanuabada.
On Tuesday police with the help of Dr Taureka persuaded hundreds of
men in a convoy of trucks from the Rigo-Abau area to return to their
villages. The men were armed with sticks, spears, axes and bows and
Overall the fighting had not been on a large scale. There had been no
deaths; the most serious injury reported was a broken jaw; houses, buses,
cars and trucks were quickly repaired. Nineteen people were subsequently
gaoled for their part in the riots and under a new police measure seventeen
of those were repatriated to their home areas (five Chimbu, three Eastern
Highlands, two Western Highlands, and seven from the Tapini and Bereina
areas of the Central District). The riot, however, was symptomatic of
tensions consequent upon both rapid urbanisation and the imminent change
in the political status of the country. Over the past few years the
demographic and social nature of the town has changed radically. In 1966
villagers numbered only sixteen per cent of the town's population, sixteen
per cent were expatriates and the remainder were migrants to the town
although many had been born in the Central District. The population of the
town is now estimated at 80,000- an increase of almost 40,000 since 1966.
The fastest flow of migrants has been from the Highlands and it is estimated
that 18,000 of the town's population originated there. These migrants are
mostly young, unskilled and poorly educated men, many of whom live in the
more recent squatter settlements on the fringes of the town. The ratio of men
to women in these settlements has been estimated at fifteen to one. Tension

May-August 1973


has existed for a considerable time between the relatively better off Papuans
(of the Central District in particular) and New Guineans (particularly
Highlanders) whose position in the town is relatively insecure. These
tensions had been exacerbated in recent months by demands from prominent
Papuans that unemployed Highlanders be sent home, but more particularly
by the political demands of Josephine Abaijah (Central Regional) and her
Papua Besena (Hands Off Papua) movement.
In many of her speeches demanding a separate political status for
Papua, Abaijah was openly contemptuous of Highlanders; she accused them
of taking over Papuan land and assaulting Papuan women. Rumours of a
fight at the football match had been brewing for weeks. At the base of the
rumours was Abaijah. In the course of the riots New Guineans shouted
derisively ofthe "meri Papua". 2 In a letter to the editor of the Post-Courier,
a university student wrote that workers in Port Moresby "hoped for some
incidents to occur ... Abaijah's ambitious call for Papuan separation was
well and truly on the nerves of many New Guineans. The ordinary New
Guinean workers, who do not feel secure in an unfriendly city, viewed the
Papua Besena Movement with contempt. It made them feel rejected and
snubbed." 3

Causes of the riot, however, run much deeper than that. Port Moresby
has witnessed over the past few years the very definite emergence of social
classes with different styles and conflicting interests. Another student, Kopii
Kepore, wrote of an interview he had conducted with a Highlander living
in a settlement.4 He asked: "Why did you want to fight?" The reply:
I left my home and came to Port Moresby about eight years ago. Moresby
was a dry, barren place with little building or development there. It is we New
Guineans who have come to work and develop Moresby to its present stage.
Papuans haven't worked hard and taken labouring jobs to develop Moresby.
We have heard many times ov-:r the radio that Papuans would get rid of us
and send us home. If that is so we must destroy what we have helped to
establish before they send us home.

Kepore also related an incident he had witnessed on Waigani Drive on

the Sunday of the riots: he heard one man say: "There's a car coming. Look
closely." A bystander said: "He's a fellow New Guinean - let him go." A
third person responded: "Forget the fellow New Guinean, he's driving a car
and he's a show-off (humbug). Let's fight him too!"
The government's response was initially fairly calm. In radio speeches
Somare appealed for people not to get excited over football matches
conducted between teams representing anachronistic divisions in the
country. He warned "louts" and "others seeking violence" they would be
strongly dealt with, but later admitted that social divisions within the country
were largely to blame. Cabinet refused Abaijah permission to hold a march
for "Papuan freedom" two days after the riot. The government immediately
convened an ad hoc committee with representatives from the police and a
variety of departments including Law, Social Development, Business
Development, and Local Government, to consider problems of urban


David Hegarty

government and anti-social behaviour. The committee had considered some

important suggestions on urban administration and social control, by
university Fellow, Nigel Oram, 5 but was upstaged by a government proposal
to strengthen the Public Order Ordinance. The authoritarian proposals
included provisions for the removal of undesirable persons from certain
areas; a curfew in which people without reasonable excuse could be detained
and in which an assembly of three or more constituted prima facie evidence
of unlawful assembly; the control and repatriation of people not in regular
employment; and increased penalties for offences committed under the
Ordinance. 6 The proposed amendments had apparently been drawn up at the
request of two or three Papuan ministers and the Chief Minister's Office
only just succeeded in having them distributed as a "working paper" rather
than as concrete proposals. 7
Although both the government and the police came through this minor
crisis fairly well, the riots did serve to underline a number of potentially
disturbing features of the political system. Urban administration is weak,
particularly in relation to its actual contact with urban dwellers. A ward
committee system has been established but apart from one or two wards its
impact is symbolised by the new Ward Six committee room which is situated
in splendid isolation and framed by acres of bare, ploughed ground, between
the expatriate suburb of "Gordons", the largely indigenous suburb of
"Gordonia", and the fenced-in police barracks! As indication of their concern
for the town and its problems Port Moresby city councillors in August voted
themselves a 600 per cent increase in their monthly allowance. The lack of
government intelligence about what is happening in the town and the inability
to identify group leaders quickly underlines a potential security problem.
The absence of channels through which economic frustrations can be vented
and the lack of an integrating mechanism like a political party through which
people can gain a sense of involvement are serious deficic:<ncies. The absence
of any sense of community and of government and leaders' efforts to
promote it can only ensure that tensions will remain high. A series of tough
but repressive measures which strike only at the symptom and not the cause
may not be of much use either in the short- or long-term.
Papua Besena
One of the characteristics of the period of transition to independence is the
rapid formation of political groups and movements. As awareness of the
imminent withdrawal of the colonial power develops, movements - some
with formal organisation, some without - begin to make demands of
government on a wide range of issues. Communal groups with only vague
and unspecified economic objectives tend to proliferate. Minorities fearful of
their vulnerability at independence seek constitutional or political safeguards,
some threatening to secede or separate if their demands are not met. Little
is known about many of these inchoate groups and forces presently emerging
in Papua New Guinea. One movement, however, with broad objectives and
identifiable leadership but with unknown support, which has developed

May-August 1973


largely in the Central District is known as Papua Besena - or "Hands Off

Papua". The movement is led by JosephineAbaijah (MHA Central Regional)
who, during her election campaign, stressed the need for Papua to preserve
its own identity and for the government to sponsor economic development
projects in Papuan districts. At a series of meetings in Port Moresby and
villages close to the capital in June and July she expanded these views and
adopted a more separatist line in attempting to win support. The major
objectives and rationale of the movement may be summarised as follows: 8
1. Papua should have its own government and should not be forced into
political union with New Guinea.
2. Papuans should retain their Australian citizenship until such time as they
can govern themselves.
3. Papua should have an economic development plan and Australia should
continue to supply both development aid and 'compensation for past neglect'.
4. Papua has nothing to gain from political union because New Guineans would
dominate the economy; the Papuan lingua franca, Hiri Motu, would be ignored;
and Papuan culture and 'social institutions' submerged. (The naming of the
country's airline 'Air Niugini' was often cited as evidence of the government's
intentions.) Highlanders short of land and forced to move away from their
home areas without their wives, posed a threat to the lands and people of Papua.

Addressing a Rotary Club meeting in June, Miss Abaijah reserved special

vitriol for Australia which she accused of having "bashed, booted and bled"
Papua for thirty years and of now attempting to conceal the existence of its
colony by merging it with New Guinea. She had on previous occasions
accused Australia of "dumping" Papua and leaving it "a destitute colony of
New Guinea". In the House of Assembly on 21 JuneAbaijah was challenged
for attempting to subvert the government's aim of national unity. She replied
that Papua and New Guinea were legally separate entities; that Papuans were
identifiable as a people; that Papua was underdeveloped; and that New
Guineans, were taking over the indigenous business affairs of Port Moresby.
The riots in July seemed to support her barely concealed view that New
Guineans and Highlanders in particular, were "barbarians" about to swamp
Papua. Her calls for Papuan separation became more strident. In August
Abaijah and her adviser, Dr Eric Wright, (an Assistant Director of Health in
the public service) toured eastern Australia seeking public support for her
cause. Australian press and media gave her wide coverage and on a number
of occasions she was compared with Bernadette Devlin. Generally, however,
commentators were left more than a little bewildered about her motives.
The general strategy has been to organise rallies at her home in Hohola,
a suburb of Port Moresby, at which objectives of the movement are
explained: to collect ideas for development projects in other Papuan districts;
and to spread the movement's message to the rural areas. Village meetings
are organised at whichAbaijah usually makes an emotional appeal to Papuan
"sentiment" and Wright emphasises the size of Papua, its population in
relation to both New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, and its economic


David Hegarty

potential. Wright's role is obviously central to the movement, but little is

known about him. On his return from Australia he was charged with breaches
of the Public Service Ordinance for political involvement.
Support for the movement is difficult to estimate. Support among many
long-term Papuan public servants appears strong. Tubusereia village was
reported to be strongly in favour of the movement as were many of the
western Motu villages. A meeting of United church pastors from the coastal
area agreed to support her. The great village of Hanuabada, however,
showed no sign of strong support. Two villages were exceptional in their
outright opposition to Miss Abaijah. At Boera village some twelve miles
from Port Moresby a young nationalist (and graduate of Queensland
University) Moi Avei, who has organised a village youth movement and
instigated a number of small-scale development projects for his village,
urged his people to oppose Abaijah. At the Koita village of Kila Kila, close
to Moresby, the people sided with a young fellow villager- Nora Vagi Brash,
a former House of Assembly interpreter - who challenged both the
movement's aims and the presence of Dr Wright. Some university students
formed a Papua Besena branch but most were concerned with the problem
of economic development for Papua. The Nemea Landowners Association
indicated its support. Letters to the Post-Courier were divided in support
and opposition. One possible indicator of the strength of the movement was
the attitude of the Papuan ministers in the House who initially ridiculed
Abaijah's approach but quickly became conciliatory and refrained from
outright opposition.
The government's attitude to Papua Besena changed considerably after
the riots. In the June House government speakers accused Abaijah of
attempting to destroy what they had worked for over the past eight years. 9
Immediately after the riots Somare accused her of political "opportunism"
and "irresponsibility" for attempting to hold a rally then. Later John Guise
urged the movement's supporters to wait for the budget which he said would
remedy the imbalance of development. 10 The government hoped that it could
ride out "the movement'" for compromise would mean a weaker bargaining
position vis-a-vis foreign investors such as Kennecott. Opposition also came
from Papuans working and living in New Guinea and from the synod of the
Anglican church. The Administrator, when receiving a petition from the
movement, read a statement on Australian policy to its leaders and hoped
that it would direct its demands to the CPC. 11 W.L. Morrison, Minister for
External Territories, in an interview with Josephine Abaijah, reaffirmed that
Australian policy in compliance with UN requests was to grant
independence only to a unified countryY
The separatist aim is of course (in the short-term) unrealisable and
there are serious doubts about the viability of Papua as a nation. What
constitutes Papua, for example? Papuan sentiment, however, which Abaijah
appears to have rejuvenated, has long historical roots. 13 If the themes which
she has played upon -of separate identity, of fear of New Guineans and of
economic neglect - become the rallying cry of a regional movement, a
further centrifugal force is added to the list with which the independent

May-August 1973


government must cope. However, the gradual shift in emphasis towards

economic development which appears to be occurring within the movement
may well stimulate grass-roots self-reliance movements and separatism may
fade as an issue. In terms of political theory, Papua Besena (if a short-term
judgement can be made) illustrates both the preservation and the working
out of an identity larger than the parochial unit. The analysis of it may well
make a contribution towards the reinterpretation of nationalism and its
development in new states.
Coalition Politics
The months of June and July were uncertain ones for the National Coalition.
Attention had already been focused on the performance and behaviour of
the ministry but in these months it became more direct. To some observers
the government appeared to be "marking time", content to play out the game
until independence. To others the government appeared to lose momentum,
even to lose the desire to change and to suffer an attack of the "jitters". The
government's apparent failure to take action on many reports which had been
presented to Cabinet; the ambivalence and uncertainty in handling the Papua
Besena challenge, together with the prevarication in deciding on such
questions as national day celebrations and a national language supported
the view that the government had lost its drive and initiative. The Coalition's
management of the June session of the House also came in for criticism.
The United party complained that bills had not been circulated in time and
that insufficient time was allowed for grievance or adjournment debates.
On a number of occasions the government came close to defeat on
amendments to its legislation. 14
The Chief Minister was aware of the criticisms levelled at his ministry.
He at least still desired change but the basic problem was that his hands
were tied. He had the power to allocate portfolios, but he had not the power
to dismiss ministers. A minister may be dismissed only in two ways: (a)
through the intervention of the Minister for External Territories on the
grounds of misconduct; or, (b) for the Ministerial Nomination Committee
- a seven-man committee of the House presently composed of the four
coalition leaders, Michael Somare, Paul Lapun, Obed Boas, and Kaibelt
Diria- to recommend (in conjunction with the Administrator) a new list of
ministers to the House for its approval. The first alternative was not possible
and given the tenuous nature of the coalition and the current volatility of
the backbench, neither was the second. The government was not prepared
to contemplate opening up a debate on the relative worth or performance
of ministers. The creation of three new ministries which had been approved
earlier by Canberra and a reshuffle of the ministry were the only courses
open to the Chief Minister for reform. Speculation over possible changes
led to an increase in tension on the government benches. 15 Backbenchers
saw a chance of improving their position; apprehensive ministers lobbied
their colleagues for support; and coalition leaders bargained intensely to
maintain or improve their power position.


David Hegarty

Party Representation in the Ministry - June 1973





Somare (Chief Min.)

Chan (Finance)

Kavali (Works)

Kiki (Lands)
Lapun (Mines)
Olewale (Education)
Taureka (Health)

Mola (Bus. Dev.)

Okuk (Agric.)

Poe (Trade & Ind.)

Moses (Forests)
Diria (Posts &

Rea (Labour)
SaJi<> (State)

Jephcott (Trans.)
Arek(b' (Info.)

Guise (Interior)


(a) Minister for State assisting the Chief Minister on local government and district
(b) Arekjoined the PPP in March having previously been independent.

Pangu leaders had been concerned from the outset with both the number
of portfolios held by the PPP in relation to its voting strength (about ten)
and with the PPP's dominance of the economic portfolios. They were acutely
aware of the polished political performance of Julius Chan (the PPP leader),
who was usually prepared and persuasive in argument. It was rumoured that
the Chief Minister could often rely on the support of only two or three of
his colleagues in Cabinet. Pangu's major concern was to strengthen the Chief
Minister's hand and to counter Chan's conservative economic philosophyY
For this reason Pangu was anxious that John Kaputin (Rabaul), spokesman
for the Mataungan Association and chairman of the Tolai-owned New
Guinea Development Corporation, be appointed to Cabinet. The Pangu
executive had also been critical ofPPP ministers John Poe and Donatus Mola
and urged their party leaders to break the economic portfolio monopoly of
the PPP.
The National party remained firm in its support for Pangu and the
Coalition and it hoped to receive another "policy" ministry in the reshuffle.
In fact, late in June an unsuccessful attempt was made to merge the two
parties. The PPP for its part had little to gain from the proposed changes
and in mid-July, announced its opposition to the reshuffle. The possibility
of Chan becoming Deputy Chief Minister in place of John Guise (who would
become Minister for Justice) was not considered sufficient reward for losing
a portfolio. Throughout June backbenchers jockeyed for positions. Some
who could see themselves missing out threatened to form breakaway
groups. 17
Matters were brought to a head in the House of Assembly on Friday,
6 July- the last day of the three-week June-July session. Somare moved
that the House approve the ministerial appointment of Pita Lus, MHA for
Maprik since 1964, and the most senior Pangu member in line for a
portfolio; Yano Belo (Kagua-Erave) a Southern Highlander and National
party member; and John Kaputin. The United party in a brilliant tactical

May-August 1973


move amended the motion by adding the names of six Coalition

backbenchers for consideration. By stressing that ministers should be chosen
on the basis of education and competence the United party aroused the ire
of the more ambitious. Many who had not had a chance to speak were
threatening to abstain from voting. On Friday evening the session lapsed
for want of a quorum and the government was left without approval for its
new ministers and with unfinished business including transfer of control
over the public service.
In an angry broadcast the following Monday the Chief Minister appealed
to villagers and local government councillors to ensure that their MHAs
attended all sessions and worked harder. He said that he had instructed his
ministers to attend all Coalition meetings and to make themselves available
at all times to backbenchers.
By 1 August agreement had been reached between the coalition parties.
Albert Maori Kiki was to become Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs;
Thomas Kavali would succeed him in the portfolio of Lands and the
Environment; John Poe would lose Foreign Relations and revert to Trade
and Industry; Paul Lapun became Minister for Mines and Energy, while
Bruce Jephcott added Civil Aviation to his Transport portfolio. When the
House met again late in August it was announced that John Kaputin would
be Minister for Justice; Yano Belo, Minister for Works, and Peta Lus,
Minister for State assisting the Chief Minister on police and cultural
activities. The Cabinet was subsequently enlarged to include the complete
Kiki's appointment was seen as a wise move in view of his reportedly
good relations with senior army officers. Kaputin's inclusion would give
Somare added support but may in future exacerbate tensions over economic
policy. Government advisers hastily considered measures by which the
backbench revolt could be controlled and by the end of August moves were
under way to sponsor MHAs on fact-finding trips to Asia. Curiously enough,
despite or perhaps because of the troubles of the Coalition, a trend toward
consensual (if not one-party) rule emerged during the period under review.
This trend was to become more apparent in the latter months of 1973.
Economic Affairs
When confronted by groups and councillors over regional economic
problems the Chief Minister refers always to the government's Eight Point
Plan, the basic objectives of which are balanced development and rural
revitalisation. Many of the difficulties involved in implementing this plan
(noted in previous Chronicles) revolve around the restructuring and
reorienting of a colonial bureaucracy and the communication ofthe plan's
ideology to the people. During the period under review the government made
some moves towards achieving the plan's objectives. Legislation for General
Purpose Development Corporations was being drafted; restrictions on
expatriates were placed on wide categories of employment; 18 eight papers
were prepared in the Department of the Chief Minister on removing


David Hegarty

restrictive legislation so that an "informal sector" might be encouraged; 19

Development Bank policy (which had been under attack for eighteen months
in the House) was in process of review; 20 and the One Year Improvement
Programme tabled in the House set out guidelines for district rural
development. 21
The objectives of the plan received support from students, some local
public servants and a few outside bodies but it was far from enthusiastic.
University students, impatient at the apparent lack of action by the
Administration, founded a "Melanesian Action Group" which held forums
on the Plan, and, together with the Melanesian Council of Churches and
the Port Moresby Community Development Group, organised a seminar on
self-reliance in July. A meeting of officers in the Department of Social
Development and Home Affairs at Goroka late in July discussed self-reliance
strategies for rural areas, while in August a meeting largely composed of
public service trainees heard speakers urge commitment to the government's
objectives. The response, if favourable, was not immediately apparent.
Despite the fact that the "eight points" are framed on the wall of Cabinet
and proposals are checked against them, at the end of August there was
evidence amongst people basically sympathetic to Somare, of a growing
disenchantment with the government's inability to move these obstaclesY
A "network" of committed students and young public servants, however,
was developing and the debate on the traditional neutrality of the public
service had begun.
One factor crucial for the plan is the government's attitude to foreign
investment and the role of foreign enterprise. Although the government had
clearly no intention of endorsing the "Development Capital Guarantee
Declaration" passed in 1966 and confirmed by the second House, it had not
agreed on policy. Attitudes on the question ranged from those held by Julius
Chan, whose stance had been to welcome investment and at the same time
to entreat businessmen to be "enterprising"/3 to those of John Kaputin who
would have the government in a position to control the economy and "where
necessary ... to expropriate or nationalise certain industries". 24 Not far
removed from Kaputin are the Bougainvilleans, Fr John Momis and Paul
Lapun (Minister for Mines). In November 1972 Momis had introduced a
resolution on mining policy which would ensure a greater return to Papua
New Guinea. On 24 June this year Lapun announced "principles" upon
which future mining agreements would be based. 25 These required that
companies pay tax and royalties totalling fifty per cent of profits; provide
all infrastructure or equity in its stead; effect localisation and training
schemes; process within the country wherever possible; employ modern
conservation methods, and that contracts be reviewed every few years.
Advisers in the Chief Minister's Department share similar views on
government control of foreign investment. 26
The confrontation expected to occur in Cabinet over investment policy
did not eventuate, however, for late in August, Chan was ordered to rest by
his doctors. When the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Land
Matters is discussed it will be difficult to avoid a clash. During the review

May-August 1973


period agreement was reached on the ownership of Air Niugini but the
problems of dealing with an insensitive Australian Minister for Transport
in May were replaced by problems of dealing with Australian pilots,
engineers and radio operators unions. The decision to establish a central
bank was announced. The Investment Corporation issued its first shares to
the Anglican church. Export prices for copra and cocoa boomed, but
revaluation of the Australian dollar left the tea industry, particularly in the
Western Highlands, in a desperate plight. (The political implications of this
have yet to emerge.) Largely as a result of Australian inflation a massive
rise in the cost of living occurred. Motor car sales and savings bank deposits
fell as the exodus of expatriates proceeded. A mini-budget was introduced
in July to raise an additional $3 million.
Constitutional Planning

In May a joint statement released by the CPC, Morrison and Somare,

announced that self-government would be achieved in two stagesY By 1
December, the original date, all powers over domestic affairs will have been
transferred to Papua New Guinea and the Papua New Guinea Act amended
so that it "reflects in law the present situation of virtual self-government".
The second stage will be reached in April 1974 when the draft constitution
providing for all major aspects of the system of government and for
provisions for the change to independence is presented to a special session
of the House of Assembly. Self-government celebrations are to be held after
the House gives its approval. In May 1974 the House of Representatives is
expected to approve final alterations to the Papua New Guinea Act. The
staging process was necessary to allow the CPC time to prepare a draft of
the constitution. The process will probably also lessen the impact of selfgovernment on the polity. It will also give the government time to
consolidate its forces, for if considerable change in the system is
recommended, a stormy session of the House is assured.
Early in May the CPC issued its third discussion paper on "LegislativeExecutive" relations. In July and August it embarked on a tour of the country
visiting sub-districts and holding meetings in much the same manner as
previous Select Committees on Constitutional Development. In contrast to
their predecessors, however, members of the Committee and particularly
Fr Momis and John Kaputin spoke out strongly on such questions as
citizenship and district government. One journalist noted that often meetings
became a forum for political education. 28 As was expected, response to the
questions asked by the Committee varied from area to area. Where
government liaison officers had been active submissions were prepared and
speakers echoed the consensus of the gathering. In the major towns the
response was discouraging. Even at the universities in Port Moresby and
Lae despite provocation by Kaputin on citizenship, students showed little
enthusiasm for either the questions or the format. Flying visits at which
Committee members formally confront an audience with a set list of
questions are just not part of Papua New Guinean style politics. At some


David Hegarty

meetings, for example in Kundiawa, there was conflict of opinion over the
move to self-government; at others such as that in Hanuabada, people were
more concerned with the behaviour of MHAs and ministers and the
government's power to sack recalcitrants than with questions on bicameral
One question which did attract strong support from most centres was that
of district government. In fact the Committee quite frequently appeared to
be "selling" the idea. Predictably the area which made the strongest demands
for regional autonomy was Bougainville. The Bougainville Special
Development Committee which had consolidated opinion on the political
future presented a list of negotiable demands and conditions to the CPC
through its chairman Leo Hannett.
Following the CPC crisis in April the style and approach of the
Committee appeared to change considerably. Committee members
appeared more relaxed, inter-party barriers were broken down and a
sense of loyalty to the CPC as much as to parties developed. A new spirit
of cooperation with the government also emerged as evidenced by
their willingness to consider interim arrangements for Bougainville. 29 A
number of factors may have been responsible for the change. The
proximity of members touring the country together and attempting to
agree on some of the most fundamental issues facing the nation may
have been partly responsible. The leadership of Momis and Kaputin
has also been important. The performance of Kaputin in a speech delivered
in Bougainville on responsibility to the nation was particularly
impressive. 30 A further factor in the change was the visit in March of
the consultant, Professor Yash Ghai of Kenya, an expert on constitutional
law and currently Professor of Law at Harvard University. In his
writings on East Africa Professor Ghai cast perspectives on the process
of constitution-making and on the durability of independence constitutions.
He argued that a revision in the analysis of new states' constitutions is
necessary. Constitutions agreed upon by the colonial power and national
leaders did not and could not provide a neutral framework or rules in
which politics could be played out. Rather they should be viewed as
devices for the attainment of independence. He argued further that, in
explaining the frequency of post-independence constitutional change,
the constitutiOn should be regarded "as a weapon in the political struggle
itself so that the constitution becomes, or more precisely, is made a
handmaiden of the party in power, as a means to the retention of
power". 31
The emphasis which both the CPC and the government have placed on
district government will no doubt enhance the prospects of the constitution
being approved. Once accepted the government will then be free to move
quickly to independence. The intervening period may not be sufficient to
allow for the establishment of appropriate district level structures and by
independence the government may find that a stronger central authority is

May-August 1973


Public Service
In July, four months before self-government, five Papua New Guineans were
appointed directors of public service departments, thus bringing the number
of local officers in the first division to eightY Although regulations for a
national public service have yet to be finalised, they are expected to include
provisions whereby "stagnation" (i.e. the situation in which public servants
relatively young but less educated and trained than those junior to them,
remain at the top of the public service hierarchy for a considerable time after
independence) is avoided. Hence these five appointments have been made
for an initial period of only three years.
Statistics released in June revealed a significant increase in the number
of local officers in both second and third divisions since the White Paper
on "accelerated localisation" in August 1971. There had also been an
increase in the average level of positions held by local public servants. The
expatriate reduction target often per cent was achieved in the year June 1972
to June 1973. The biggest reductions were made in the temporary and third
division levels. At 30 June there remained almost 6,000 expatriates in the
public service compared with almost 20,000 local officers.
Parties and Unions
Late in May yet another political party was announced. The Social Workers'
party of PNG arose, according to its organisers, out of workers' frustration
with the government's performance. The objectives of the party are to
"advocate and fight for a strong and viable socialist Papua New Guinea.
The party is a coalition of urban and rural workers, villagers and students
representing a true grass roots democratic party." Its programme lists fortyone "immediate demands" encompassing industrial, rural, social and
political areas, and including nationalisation of all foreign industries; a basic
wage of $30 per week; workers' control and management of industries; rural
development schemes; political freedom for the villagers; support for the
Free Papua Movement and for the "liberation" struggles of the Mataungan
Association and the Kabisawali Peoples' Government. Also considered to
be an immediate demand, was "the defeat of capitalism, imperialism and
colonialism on all phases of the global universe". Further local government
should be abolished and the Melanesian form of "tribal chiefs [sic]"
recognised. On a "national" level, Papua New Guinea, the SWP says, "must
consist of a federation of republics and be a nation in its own right" .33


David Hegarty

Self-government day -Saturday, 1 December 1973 -passed quietly in Papua
New Guinea. In a short symbolic ceremony at Konedobu, the High
Commissioner (formerly Administrator) of Papua New Guinea, Les Johnson,
signed over responsibility for powers transferred to Ministers and swore in
members of the Executive Council. Only a small crowd gathered outside
for the event. Throughout the country all was quiet. The sale of liquor was
banned and hotels closed for three days from Friday, 30 November. On
Friday in a radio broadcast, the Police Commissioner warned that "the whole
of our greatly improved police resources will be used to ensure that selfgoverning Papua New Guinea gets away to a good start". On Saturday more
than 500 police were on duty in the major centres of the country. In Port
Moresby police squads in open trucks patrolled the almost deserted streets.
Koki and Waigani markets had closed and only a few stores remained open.
Early that afternoon a crowd of about 1,500 attended a rally at the suburb
of Kaugere where Papua Besena supporters called for "self-government for
an independent Papua". The leader of the Papua Besena movement,
Josephine Abaijah, spoke at a similar rally at Bereina some sixty miles along
the coast. Apart from an official reception at Government House the only
public celebration of self-government of which this chronicler is aware was
that held in the tiny Duke of York Islands to the north of New Britain. An
"end-of-year" primary school function had been organised to coincide with
self-government day and choral-singing, traditional dancing and speeches
lasted all day.
Self-government day was, in effect, a planned anti-climax. It had been
the intention of both the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments
that powers be transferred gradually and that self-government not mark an
abrupt change in status and responsibilities. 1 But that in itself was no
guarantee against possible trouble. In the preceding three months opposition
was still raised to self-government. The United party, although virtually
accepting the target date, did not give up its long campaign without a final
question concerning the method of transfer. 2 During the "National Day"
celebrations in September the Papua New Guinean flag was tom down and
burned in the Chimbu District. Further opposition was voiced during the

September-December 1973


Cabinet's tour of the Highlands early in November. Tension generated

between Papuans and New Guineans by the July riots and the Papua Besena
separatist movement was still high. Rumours of the impending collapse of
law and order, of the exodus of whites and their "cargo", and of the calamity/
prosperity which would befall Papua New Guineans abounded and added
uncertainty to the period. On his Highlands tour Michael Somare had
criticised expatriates for spreading rumours of impending collapse. Prior
to I December many expatriates did in fact leave the country and a number
of Chinese departed both permanently and temporarily. 3
District Government
One of the most frequently asked questions in Papua New Guinea politics
concerns the potential viability of the new state. With its numerous small
often antipathetic tribes living for the most part in acephalous communities
and speaking more than 700 languages, Papua New Guinea would appear
to face an unenviable task in welding and maintaining national cohesion
by other than authoritarian means. It was a question to which the
Constitutional :Planning Committee (CPC) had addressed itself in its
endeavours to formulate a "home-grown" constitution. Throughout its midyear tour of the country the CPC heard calls for the introduction of some
form of district government, regional government or even state governments.
The solution recommended by the CPC in its Second Interim Report to the
House of Assembly involves the creation of "Provincial governments" based largely on existing district boundaries - and for conscious
decentralisation of power. 4 Provincial governments, it is argued, would
facilitate greater popular participation, encourage self-reliance, provide an
impetus for coordination, and help accommodate strong regional pressures
for autonomy. The CPC recommended that these governments should have:
(1) an assembly of at least fifteen elected members; (2) an executive body
called a provincial council; (3) a head of government known as "Premier";
and (4) be administered by public servants from the national public service
and by personnel employed directly by the provincial governments.
Pressure from Bougainville and the opinions of the CPC chairman, Fr
Momis, have obviously been influential in framing these recommendations
although there exists in most districts a general suspicion of centralised
colonial bureaucracy and a genuine desire for autonomy over certain social,
political and economic affairs. In October Cabinet agreed that interim
arrangements for a form of district government for Bougainville should be
prepared by the CPC and in November approved the establishment of district
government. An interdepartmental "task force" was established to report on
powers and functions which might be transferred to the district. Draft
legislation for interim arrangements was also in process. By the end of 1973
few practical steps toward district government in Bougainville had been
taken but political mobilisation toward that end had continued.
Both government and Opposition agreed in principle to the concept of
district government. The only public resistance to the proposals to surface


David Hegarty

was that from the Speaker, Barry Holloway, who admitted that Bougainville
was an exceptional case. He argued that although the creation of district
governments may temporarily "take the heat off' the centre by focusing the
attention of dissident or ambitious politicians on district-level politics,
ultimately it could unleash the potential centrifugal forces in the country
and would almost certainly lead to the proliferation of bureaucracies with
consequent confusion and lack of coordination. He suggested a type of
"linkage" system by which the central government negotiated with groups
or districts as they became organised and voiced their demands for some
autonomy. If popular support was not on the side of the Speaker the one
thing in favour of his objections was the lack of administrators skilled in
decentralised government.
The Budget and Government Policy
The annual budget introduced by the Minister for Finance, Julius Chan, in
the August-September session of the House differed little from those of
previous years. 5 Estimated expenditure increased from $216 million in 197273 to $304 million although $63 million of this was for costs involved in
transferring certain Commonwealth assets such as DCA installations, in
creating the Bank of Papua New Guinea, the Papua New Guinea Banking
Corporation, and for the establishment of Air Niugini. These costs were to
be met by special grants and loans from Australia. Revenue for 1973-74 was
to come from the Australian Grant-in-Aid and Development Grant totalling
$77 million ($78 million in 1972-73); loans amounting to $33 million of
which $21 million would be drawn from International Aid Agencies; and
from internal revenue estimated at $105 million ($93 million in 1972-73).
Marginal rises in customs and excise duties on certain items, and the
abolition of some taxation concessions were designe.d to meet the gap
between estimated expenditure and receipts. A small increase in revenue
from dividend withholding taxes and investments, largely in Bougainville
Copper, was expected, but no alterations were made to company tax.
The dependence on Australian aid is made more obvious when it is
realised that $49.9 million for salaries and allowances for the Australian
Staffing Assistance Group is paid as part of normal Australian aid but is
not part of the budget. With the advent of self-government bargaining for
aid and attempts to show that such aid is in Australia's interests are likely
to increase.
The United party found little to dissent from in the budget although it
seized upon the lack of emphasis on any of the government's much vaunted
"Eight Points". Opposition speakers pointed to the government's anti-elitist
stance and its intended expenditure of $11 million on the two universities
compared with $3.3 million on the Rural Development Programme. The
most pungent criticism, however, came from the government's influential
backbencher, Fr John Momis. In his speech he stated that the budget had
"dismally failed to implement the philosophy of the New Improvement
Programme". 6 1t had, he said, neither reassured the people nor given them

September-December 1973


direction. He called for real decentralisation; for a taxation system which

did not simply operate as an inducement to foreign investors; and warned
that "some of us ... certainly will not tolerate it [the budget] next year if it
follows the same lines". 7
The Improvement Plan for 1973-74 (sounding, in title, more nineteenth
century colonial than twentieth century pre-independent) was introduced
during the same session of the House. 8 The Plan was designed as a one-year
interim measure to fill the gap between the old Five Year Programme and
that proposed for 1974-79. It was drawn up while the government's
economic planning machinery was in a state of flux and before the arrival
of the new Director of Planning, David Beatty. It attempts to spell out the
strategies and policies by which the government's "Eight Points" may be
achieved and to map out a programme for "selective decentralisation" in
the districts.
In November the long awaited announcement of"Investment Guidelines"
proved to be an anti-climax. 9 The "guidelines" were little more than broadly
stated objectives concerning equity participation, employment creation,
decentralisation, etc. The coalition partners, however, had agreed to set up
a National Investment and Development Authority which would register all
existing and new foreign enterprises, advise the government on investment
promotion strategy including incentives, and advise on the establishment
of government industrial corporations. What authority NIDA had over other
economic policy institutions has yet to be decided.
Two of the more important government reports and proposals produced
in the period under review were the Report of the Commission of Inquiry
into Land Matters 10 and the Education Department's draft of a Proposed Five
Year Plan. 11 The Lands report is one of the most impressive of the flood of
reports to appear since the National Coalition took office. Dealing with
perhaps the most difficult of the development issues facing the new state, the
180-page report was completed in nine months. Some of the basic principles
adopted by the Commission in its inquiry included an evolutionary approach
to agrarian reform and an avoidance of collective and individualistic
extremes; the avoidance of inequality in the distribution of land rights; a
check on private landlordism; and encouragement to those who need land
and use it well. Chief among its recommendations were that, in areas of land
shortage, alienated land held by non-citizens should be compulsorily acquired
(with compensation); that non-citizens be entitled to a government lease for
a maximum of sixty years - that registration procedures be changed so that
group titles to customary land are possible; and that the dispute settlement
system should be part of the national judiciary decentralised to the district
level and should include local leaders for their knowledge of land matters.
An unsuccessful attempt has been made by the Minister for Lands to seek
Australian finance to compensate expatriate owners in the event of
compulsory acquisition. One of the problems which the framers of this report
now face (as with most others) is the difficulty of following up and
implementing the recommendations. Firstly the recommendations have to
be steered through Cabinet and secondly administrative staff and machinery


David Hegarty

have to be available. Given the fairly radical departures from older

procedures there is an understandable antipathy amongst members of the
Department of Lands to the proposals. The "administrative lag" between
development aspirations and the ability of the machinery to implement, so
typical of this transition phase, is very much in evidence.
The substance of the Education Department's proposals is that the formal
education system should expand to the extent that universal primary
education would be provided by 1983 and that secondary education
expansion matches manpower requirements. Emphasis would be placed on
the involvement of the community in the school system and on the inclusion
of community values in the curriculum, but community education would
be the preserve oflocal government bodies. Major criticism of the proposals
to date has come from members of UPNG Education Research Unit who
argued that the problems of schoolleavers and "drop outs" and the current
dissatisfaction with the formal system of education would in no way be
overcome by an expansion of numbers within the very same framework.
They argued further that insufficient consideration had been given both to
projected manpower requirements and to teacher training and re-training.
Foreign Affairs and Defence
Although Papua New Guinea is not yet constitutionally responsible for the
conduct of its foreign affairs, it is in the process of developing relations with
its neighbours and policy orientations are gradually evolving. As with most
small, new states the direction of foreign policy is usually determined by
the state's relationship with the metropolitan power; by the treaties already
entered into on its behalf; by the source of trade and aid - and by the
interests of neighbouring states. Australia, which will remain the major actor
in Papua New Guinea's foreign policy for many years, .expects to have a
"special relationship" with its former colony. 12 Given the level of aid
supplied that is hardly surprising. Trade will also be a major link and on 20
December the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding,
to apply between self-government and independence, relating to trade
preferences and concessions in return for non-discrimination against
Australian goods. 13
Relations with Indonesia are bound to figure prominently in both
foreign and defence policies. In September an Indonesian Consul-General
(Brigadier General Roedjito) opened an office in Port Moresby and by the
end of the year had a staff of seven. 14 In mid-October Major-General Ali
Murtopo, personal assistant to President Suharto, toured Papua New Guinea
and urged some form of military cooperation particularly with respect to
border patrolsY Albert Maori Kiki, Minister for Defence and Foreign
Relations, agreed "in principle" on cooperation but was not prepared to
make specific commitments. Early in November Indonesia's Foreign
Minister, Adam Malik, arrived and signed an agreement concerning the
border which included articles on border crossings, land rights, settlement,
immigration controls, security, trade, health and pollution. 16 Malik attempted

September-December 1973


to dispel the belief held in some parts of Papua New Guinea that Indonesia
had designs on "East Irian". Disparities in economic development between
the two parts of the island and sympathy from students and others for the
West Irianese are more likely causes of future tension. 17
Although no formal intergovernmental links have been established,
Japanese investment in PNG has been estimated at $20 million and a number
of leading firms have established offices in Port Moresby. 18 On two occasions
PNG has been represented at interministerial trade talks between Japan and
Australia: the latest at the insistence of the Minister for External Territories
and the shadow Minister, Andrew Peacock. 19
New Zealand has also shown considerable interest with an exchange of
visits by Michael Somare and the New Zealand Prime Minister, Norman
Kirk. New Zealand has offered aid worth $1.45 million over three years.
In regional affairs PNG appears to have approached its role in the South
Pacific Commission with some degree of enthusiasm. At the South Pacific
Commission Conference held in Guam in September, Albert Maori Kiki,
speaking in the debate on French nuclear testing in the Pacific said: "It is
time for all Pacific peoples to tell foreign powers that we will not tolerate
further manipulation of our own affairs. We call upon people in French
territories to liberate yourselves from such manipulation by a foreign power
". 20 In December PNG became a member of the Colombo Plan and, in all
probability, will apply for membership of the Commonwealth of Nations.
IfPNG has any current favourites among its neighbours they are the small
island nations of the Pacific. Commenting on a proposal put by both Malik
and Kirk for a sub-regional grouping (New Zealand, Australia, PNG and
Indonesia) Kiki was reported as saying that although PNG saw itself as a
"bridge" between Southeast Asia and the Pacific, it would continue to give
first priority to relations with the states and island peoples in the Pacific
with whom Papua New Guineans felt they had the greatest cultural affinity. 21
In the field of defence Somare indicated that after independence a
defence treaty with Australia was most likely but he was insistent that
Australia would not be called upon to handle internal security problemsY
During these months, however, an Australian Senate Committee inquiry into
the state of the Australian army was being told by military experts and others
that post-independent Papua New Guinea was potentially volatile and
"internal disorder of major proportions" could erupt. 23 In August an
Australian Army staff exercise - code-named "Cocoana" - had been
conducted at Duntroon. It involved problems of Australian military
involvement in aid of a post-independence government in a hypothetical
country which just happened to look like PNG. 24 In October a newspaper
report revealed that Australia had contingency plans for a military operation
and evacuation of civilians after independence and that "exercises" would
be held in February 1974. 25
Within the defence force itself the PNG Volunteer Rifles- a small force
of 340 men scattered throughout the country -was disbanded. 26 The
Australian Labor government's view that expatriate officers should not be
involved in any emergency situation resulted in the adoption of a rapid


David Hegarty

localisation policy for combat units.

Parties and Leaders

The death on 6 September of Matthias Toliman, leader of the Opposition,
and former Ministerial Member for Education, produced a leadership crisis
in the United party and added to the speculation that the government/
opposition dichotomy was in decline. The crisis was resolved when Tei Abal
somewhat reluctantly accepted leadership on 20 September with Joe Paul
Langro (West Sepik) as deputy leader. Toliman had been a staunch supporter
of the role of an opposition in parliament whereas Abal had said, on
occasions, that the concept of "a loyal Opposition" was alien in PNG. It is
one of Abal' s characteristics that whenever the Chief Minister or Ministers
visit his area he urges his people to support the Somare government. By
the end of the year the United party appeared to lose the support of some of
its members. This was due largely, however, not to any switching of
allegiances but to absenteeism. A solid core of UP members was maintained
but the public role of expatriates appeared to be diminishingY A review of
party policy in the light of self-government and other economic changes
was ordered by the party executive. It is expected that the essentially
negative, delaying stance of anti-independence will be less prominent in
future policy.
At the Pangu party national convention in November considerable change
occurred both in policy and extra-parliamentary leadership. 28 The party
adopted policy to politicise the public service by making direct political
appointments to the positions of departmental head and district
commissioner. It also called for a revision of the structure of the public
service. On development and investment, the party declared that all primary
agricultural production should be owned and controllep by nationals; the
government should aid nationals in buying foreign-owned enterprises; and
the government should set time-tables for phasing out foreign investment
in certain fields. The party also called for an education policy more relevant
to the community. A discussion group considered methods of countering
Papua Besena and recommended that more finance and more control over
its expenditure be granted to the districts. Moi Avei was elected national
president with Rabbie Namaliu and Tony Voutas, vice-presidents. By the
end of 1973 all three were members ofthe Chief Minister's advisory staff.
The national executive was drawn from ministers, MHAs and branch leaders
from most parts of the country. Representatives from the Mataungan
Association, the Kabisawali movement and the Nemea Landowners
Association participated in discussions.
Michael Somare remained undisputed leader of the party. His strength
lies both in his personality which enables him to get on well with people
and inspire confidence in those around him, and in his ability to mediate in
disputes between party or coalition members and to moderate excesses of
opinion. His politics, both in parliament and in the hustings, are not those
of confrontation but of consensus. He avoids potentially embarrassing

September-December 1973


situations by stepping around them or, in Melanesian style, "meeting them

tangentially". 29 He has judged the pace of change of this difficult
constitutional and political transition remarkably well and has managed
(rather than controlled) a diverse coalition adroitly. His style and tactic of
co-opting the talented, the impatient and the frustrated either into his
department or into his employ as agents in the field has been successful to
date, but the patron relationship has its longer term dangers. At the same
time, however, his willingness to compromise and to delay decision has been
critically interpreted as a sign of political weakness and of lack of
commitment to the government's public goals, especially those relating to
Papua New Guinean control of the economy.
Within the House of Assembly the basic pattern of party allegiance has
been maintained since the formation of the Coalition, but there have been a
number of indications which suggest that the pattern is rather fragile and
the situation is more fluid than it appears. On a number of occasions in the
past government backbenchers have rebelled or threatened to rebel against
the government. As well a small number of informal cross-party allegiances
or cliques have developed- some CPC members forming for a time the most
obvious one. It was widely rumoured in the latter months of 1973 that
allegiance to the United party was flagging and that half the Opposition's
front-bench would be interested in accepting government portfolios if
Also indicative of this fluidity was the increasing criticism of the party
system and the calls for a "no-party" or for an "all-party" system. 30 No one
closely defined what was intended but those who objected were unanimous
in that the party system as it operated in the House was unsatisfactory.
(There has been little or no comment by politicians on the role and function
of extra-parliamentary parties.) In the debate on 24 September speakers
argued that party divisions contributed to disunity, hindered the effectiveness
of the representative system and were not "Melanesian style" politics.
Questions raised in this debate later on spilled over into some rather bitter
criticisms of the operations of the House itself. 31 Illiterate MHAs claimed
that they were not receiving fair treatment in debates, and, that Ministers
had refused to listen to them. All, therefore, was not well with the
transplanted "Westminster" system. A pay rise for ministers in November
made portfolio positions even more coveted for pragmatic Papua New
Guinean politicians.
Outside the House of Assembly other political leaders were operative.
The leader of Papua Besena, Josephine Abaijah, continued to win support for
her cause. In October the "Papuan Democratic Union" was formed as the
political wing of the separatist movement. Earlier that month a Papuan Black
Power group was formed with the objectives of developing an awareness of
Papuan identity, of resisting the black government's attempt to dominate
its black brothers, and of supporting Abaijah's efforts to create an independent
Papua. 32 On Bougainville the combined Councils' Conference rejected a call
by Leo Hannett for the resignation of the two Ministers, Lapun and Mola
but appointed him to be their district planner. 33 On the Gazelle Peninsula the


David Hegarty

three main Tolai groups agreed to establish a "Trust" as required by the

"Likun" legislation. A survey revealed that the Mataungan Association had
over 15,000 registered supporters. In December the Mataungan Association
sponsored a seminar on development issues at which representatives from
the three groups and students from other districts participated.

One of the features of the period under review was the strong current of
disaffection with the government among intellectuals and others. Some
university graduates, students and younger public servants, who had
previously given unqualified support to the Somare government, became
irritated at the apparent lack of action on government policy and
consequently focused their criticism on the national leadership. Many began
to question the commitment of politicians to the philosophy of the Eight
Point Improvement Plan and to doubt ministers' abilities to gain authority
over their departments so that the strategies for achieving the plan could be
implemented. Many doubted the government's sincerity in wanting to
change society and pointed to the lack of action on renegotiating the BCP
agreement; to the lack of investment policy; and to the tardiness and
inadequacies of localisation policy. Most were aghast at the statements by
Ministers Taureka and Poe that localisation was proceeding too quickly. 34
Many were disappointed at the growing authoritarian trend in public
statements made by ministers, but the basic factor in their misgivings
appeared to be the lack of attempts to build and communicate an ideology
of development which was implicit in many of the reports presented to and
accepted by the government.
Although there were prior symptoms this disenchantment surfaced
publicly at a university forum on 5 October at which Ll(o Hannett angrily,
yet trenchantly, attacked government leadership. Hannett had been
dismissed the day before from his position as special adviser to the Chief
Minister on Bougainville affairs for calling for the resignation of the two
Bougainville ministers, Lapun and Mola. His speech, however, was not
merely "sour grapes" for it struck a responsive chord amongst his audience.
In his speech he accused government leaders of hypocrisy in that they were
merely "mouthing platitudes about the needs and wishes of the people",
when in fact no change had emanated from the centralist colonially
orientated bureaucracy. No practical steps had been taken he said, to
implement the Eight Point Plan. Ministers were attempting to rule by "bluff'
and "ad hocery": "black actors had merely replaced white actors". Hannett
accused ministers of being the "stooges" of their white advisers and public
servants, and alleged that politicians had accepted "gifts" of watches and
transistor radios. He predicted that the result could easily be a "political
confrontation" in which the people's aspirations might have to be realised
by bloodshed. He pointed out that the Chief Minister and Cabinet were not
to blame for this state of affairs but there was a lack of machinery to link
up people's aspirations and convert them into manageable objectives.

September-December 1973


Hannett believed that he was offered his position with the Chief Minister
only as "a palliative for the people of Bougainville", but he had become the
victim of empty promises. Through his efforts and those of the Special
Committee on Political Development, politics on Bougainville had moved
"half-way from the market place" and cries for secession had been translated
into negotiable demands. He claimed, however, that the government had not
trusted him, and officials, under central government direction, had reported
on his activities and harassed him.
Two months later further Papua New Guinean frustration at the slowness
of localisation and of the dominance of whites in the decision-making
structure was expressed by SeaeaAvosa, executive officer of the CPC. 35 He
alleged that it was a mockery of self-government if whites were to maintain
their key policy-making positions. Papua New Guineans, he said, could not
in these circumstances mould their own society according to their own
Much of this criticism might well have been directed at the Australian
government for its inadequate preparation for the transfer of power. The
National Coalition came to power with basically reformist intentions and
the difficulties it has experienced have largely stemmed from the nature of
the coalition itself and from the economic and administrative systems it
inherited. However, young and inexperienced politicians have had difficulty
in asserting their authority. There has been an evident disparity between the
ideology implicit in for example the Faber Report and the Eight Points, and
the pragmatic economic "philosophy" expressed by many senior politicians.
Evident also is the "gap" in the decision-making apparatus between
ministers and the Administration. Two essential elements missing from the
political administrative structure have been, firstly, the adequate provision
for briefing ministers on policies and policy options and, secondly the ability
to translate adequately general policies into specific strategies. By the end
of the year, perhaps not surprisingly, some of the disenchanted had
succeeded in "taking over" the Pangu pati and were moving into government
advisory positions.


David Hegarty

The pre-independence political scene in Papua New Guinea presents a

complex web of political infighting, of jockeying for power, of shifting
alignments, of questioning of old assumptions, attitudes and institutions,
of pressure from old and new groups, of foreign penetration, and of crisis
and continuing tension which has yet to spin itself out. In the period under
review three interrelated events stand out from this web: the record profit
of Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) and its political repercussions;
coalition politics and a Cabinet reshuffle; and the continuing clash between
Cabinet and the Constitutional Planning Committee over the future
constitutional framework of Papua New Guinea politics.
Bougainville Copper
The announcement by Bougainville Copper Ltd of a profit of $146 million
in its first full year of operation and the internal political repercussions which
followed, overshadowed most events in the period und~r review. The PNG
government which owns twenty per cent of BCL- the rest is owned by CRA
(forty-five per cent), NBHC Holdings (twenty-three per cent), and the public
(twelve per cent)- expects to receive $36 million in dividends, royalties
and withholding taxes as its share of the profit. Under the terms of the mining
agreement company taxes are not paid until 1978.
Radical politicians reacted immediately to the size of the profit and the
small percentage return to the government. The split which had been simmering
in government ranks over foreign investment and other issues for some months
burst into the open. On 4 February the Minister for Justice, John Kaputin, and
the Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Planning Committee, Fr John
Momis, issued a statement on behalf of what became known as a "ginger group"
of politicians, public servants, ministerial advisers and students. 1 The group
demanded ( 1) an immediate effective corporate tax rate of eighty per cent on the
operating company; (2) government acquisition of a controlling interest in
the company; (3) the creation of a government authority with funds and expertise
to manage the company and future mining ventures; and (4) the termination
of current prospecting licences in Bougainville and at Ok Tedi. The statement
was severely critical of the government's inaction on foreign investment policy



and on the implementation of the Eight Point Plan. It warned leaders that they
should step down in favour of those with "the necessary commitment" unless
they were prepared to "lead the country with far-sightedness and in the
long-term interests of all". The following day John Kaputin continued the
attack, alleging that PNG lacked "legitimate leaders" who could control the
country's affairs. This was immediately interpreted by press and radio as an
attack on Michael Somare's leadership to which the Chief Minister replied
that he was not an ambitious man and that he would be prepared to resign
if challenged seriously. 2
The government responded to the BCL announcement cautiously. The
Chief Minister called for "talks" with the company and established a
committee of officials to recruit a team of international experts and prepare
for the recognition of the agreement. His own view was that his government
should have "a little bit more" and should possibly own forty-nine per cent
of the company. No public political direction was given to the renegotiators.
The government did, however, show increasing sensitivity to the question
of foreign investment. Julius Chan, Minister for Finance, and leader of the
PPP, hastened to note that he had not urged restraint on the government in
its attempt to renegotiate. In an address in Sydney to the Australian Institute
of Directors, Somare said that his government would place emphasis on
partnership arrangements, resource taxation, and taxation of spectacular
profits.~ Soon after both Chan and the Commerce Minister, Ebia Olewale,
accused some foreign firms of having "cheated" and "tricked" the
government. Even the Australian Minister, Bill Morrison, felt obliged to
warn Japanese companies about fair dealings in PNG.
But the basic division in government ranks on this issue remained and it
came to be seen increasingly in terms of the "economic nationalists" intent
on gaining control over the economy on the one hand, versus the cautious
pragmatists intent on securing foreign investment on the other. In the wider
perspective, the magnitude of the profit (equal to one and a half times
estimated internal government revenue for 1972-73) underlines the problems
which new, small states have in dealing with multi-national corporations
and in maintaining political integrity.

Cabinet Reshuffle
On 27 February the Chief Minister in a move known to only one or two ministers
reshuffled his cabinet. Although the reason given was to "revitalise the
Ministry and produce new initiatives", and to place ministers where each could
utilise "his particular strength to achieve the Eight Point Improvement Plan",4
the move appeared designed to strengthen the hand of the Chief Minister
and his Pangu pati ministers at the expense of the smaller groups in the
Coalition and particularly the PPP. Those ministers most affected were:
Pangu: Michael Somare, Chief Minister, acquired the Department oflnformation
and the Social Development division from Interior. Gavera Rea, National
Development, in addition to his old Labour portfolio acquired the Investment


David Hegarty

Corporation, The National Investment and Development Authority, and Bureau

oflndustrial Organisations. Albert Maori Kiki, Defence and Foreign Relations
and Trade, acquired Trade. Reuben Taureka swapped Health for Education.
PPP: Julius Chan retained the Finance portfolio but lost the Investment
Corporation. Bruce Jephcott traded Transport for the new ministry of Fisheries
and Forests. John Poe lost Trade and Industry for the severely truncated
Interior ministry. Donatus Mol a picked up the senior portfolio of Health and
lost Business Development.
National party: Iambakey Okuk lost Agriculture for Transport. Sasakila Moses
lost Forests for Culture and Recreation. John Guise remained Deputy Chief
Minister and picked up the important portfolio of Agriculture in return for Interior.
The minister who experienced the most severe demotion was Ebia
Olewale who lost Education for the newly created Ministry of Commetct:.
It was rumoured that John Kaputin, Minister for Justice, was selected for
Commerce (and Olewale for Justice) but held his ground after discovering
the proposed reshuffle. The PPP reacted strongly to the move and bargained
their continuance in the Coalition for another ministry. Two days later
Stephen Tago was appointed Minister for State.
Although the timing of the reshuffle came as a surprise to most observers
some changes had been anticipated in preceding months. Dissatisfaction
with the performance of some ministers had been frequently voiced in the
House of Assembly. Public criticism had been made of the social behaviour
of a minister and in fact two ministers had appeared in court on charges
connected with drunken behaviour. Concern was also expressed at the lack
of movement towards the goals of the Eight Point Plan, and it was public
knowledge that in some departments an impasse had developed in relations
between ministers and departmental heads. Allegations of corruption and
abuses of the privileges of office were to be investig(lted by the Public
Accounts Committee of the House. The Chief Minister himself was being
posed as indecisive. He needed therefore to assert his authority. He received
support from his young Papua New Guinean advisers who had taken over
the Pangu executive and were determined to weaken the economic influence
of the PPP. Behind the scenes, sections of the United party offered support
to the Chief in any reshuffle if it meant the elimination of the radicals
(Kaputin and Okuk) and the weakening of the PPP.
Although the Coalition remained intact there was some anger at the
secretive manner in which the reshuffle was conducted. The Chief Minister
had strengthened his hand yet the possibility of having to rely on the United
party for support meant a perceptible shift to the right. The PPP's dominance
of the economic portfolios had been broken, but in so doing it left the party
less vulnerable to attack and may have even strengthened its position in the
government. The reshuffle, by itself, however, was no guarantee that the
changes it hoped to facilitate would eventuate. In fact the administrative
muddle left in its wake, the confused relationship of ministries to
departments, the unclear delineation of functions, and the lack of
responsibility for coordination and control are problems which still remain

January-April 1974



The Constitution and Independence

The running battle between the CPC and the Cabinet continued throughout
the review period. The conflict has stemmed basically from differing
approaches to decolonisation and from an emerging power struggle as
attitudes and ideological positions hardened. The CPC, charged with the
task of producing a "home-grown" constitution, has examined closely the
inherited structures of government and is in the process of recommending
adaptations and modifications to institutions so that they might fit more
adequately the Melanesian political culture. The CPC believes that a
psychological "break" must be made with the colonial past. It believes that
the present method of transferring powers allows both existing institutions
and the present ruling group to become entrenched. 5 As Australia has
continually forced the pace in the transfer, the Australian government is also
seen as a prime factor in attempting to pre-empt the work of the Committee.
During the life of the Committee a degree of solidarity has developed among
its members which has provided them with a base for criticism of
government performance.
On the other hand, the Chief Minister, officials in his department and the
bulk of Cabinet, believe that power should be transferred from Australia
quickly and with minimum upset to existing arrangements. A break with
precedent, they argue, would create too much confusion, and any
modifications should proceed gradually. A constitution was needed quickly
so that independence could be attained soon after thereby avoiding the
centrifugal tendencies which mount between self-government and
independence. They view the CPC, however, as having exceeded its charter
and of almost assuming the role of a "counter government". The Chief
Minister in a radio interview, admitted that the CPC had become an albatross
around the government's neck and that given the chance again he would not
have proposed such a Committee. 6
Early in February Bill Morrison, who had made Australia's policy on a
rapid transfer of powers clear, ran foul of the CPC. The Committee cancelled
a conference with him claiming that it had other "more important" matters
to attend to. 7 Three days later some of the CPC's controversial citizenship
proposals were leaked to the Sydney Morning Herald and sparked off bitter
infighting which was to last for several months.
Relations between Cabinet and the CPC steadily worsened, firstly as a
result of the delay in producing the report and, secondly as a result of a
deadlock in preliminary discussion. The original programme was for the
report to go to Cabinet in February, then to a special session of the House
in April, and then for a constitution to be adopted in mid-year. The delay in
the presentation of the report until June entirely threw the plan o1:1t of gear.
Early in March the Chief Minister called off the "two-stage self-government"
agreement with the Australian government but decided to press on with his
target for independence by the end of the year - without a constitution if


David Hegarty

necessary. On 12 March in the House of Assembly he proposed that Papua

New Guinea become independent on 1 December 1974. The Whitlam
government was in agreement and just a week earlier had promised $500
million in aid to PNG over the next three years. The target proposed was
greeted with applause from Cabinet benches but with uproar from the
Opposition. United party (UP) members demanded a referendum on the date
and heatedly argued that 1 December was too soon. Later the UP switched
its attack to threats of non-cooperation if the government proceeded to
independence without a constitution. This latter point was to become a
slogan for all political groups. Michael Somare set off on a tour of three
districts in April to promote his target date but found only lukewarm
response. He did find, however, reassuring support for his leadership.
The next clash occurred during preliminary discussions late in March and
early in April as to who should table the report: Cabinet or the CPC? Was
the CPC a committee of the House or was it empowered to report to Cabinet
only? The argument revolved around who would have control over the
drafting of the Constitution bill. That dispute was immediately
overshadowed, however, by the controversy surrounding the CPC's draft
proposals on citizenship some of which were leaked to the press. In these
discussions Cabinet members took exception to the proposals requiring
automatic citizens to have had three grandparents born in the country. They
also objected to the draft clauses which gave automatic citizenship to
children of a Papua New Guinean father and an expatriate mother but not
to the child of a Papua New Guinean mother and an expatriate father. Somare
reacted angrily and is reported to have made an impassioned speech in favour
of a multi-racial society. 8 The former proposal would have had the effect of
excluding both ministers Chan and Jephcott from holding executive
positions and consequently the PPP threatened to split the government if
satisfactory compromises were not reached. 9 Australian and local press were
highly critical of the proposals and a flood of letters to the editor alleged
"racism" on the part of the CPC. Both proposals were soon modified but
the talks had bogged down by ll April and little further discussion was
expected until the tabling of the report in the June session of the House.
Feeling over the Papuan separatist issue remained high. In March the House
moved and then rescinded a motion by Sinake Giregire that Australia pay
$1,000 million in compensation if the union of "uneconomic" Papua ""with
New Guinea was approved. In the meantime Papua Besena continued to
mobilise support. A joint meeting of Papua Besena, Social Workers' party
and Nemea Landowners Association members discussed common policy and
issued a joint statement critical of the behaviour and performance of
ministers. 10 Josephine Abaijah championed the cause of the hinterland Koiaris
in their claim for land compensation against the Electricity Commission. 11
Her campaigning in the Port Moresby Town Council elections in April was
critical to the victory of the "Papua Group" over the Pangu pati candidates.



In the Highlands the politics of the coffee industry at present defy

comprehensive analysis. Recent legislation restricting roadside selling of
coffee to indigenous buyers was said to have gained approval although a
number of exceptions were granted to expatriates in response to local
pressure. 12 At Kainantu and Asaro in the Eastern Highlands, local
government councils were taking over expatriate-owned coffee mills while
in the Chimbu the coffee cooperative appeared headed for more management
In the Trobriand Islands a rival organisation was established to that of
the Kabisawali People's Government. 13 On the Gazelle Peninsula the
Mataungan Association indicated that it would move soon for district
government without participation by the Toma Council if necessary. And
on matters social, the Rabaul Workers' Association ended a three month ban
on the supply of films to an expatriate-owned cinema for its refusal to admit
Papua New Guineans wearing thongs, while the House of Assembly debated
the motives and character of those expatriates who wore lap-laps!


David Hegarty

The politics of relative advantage and the sttugglt: fu1 puwt:r and influence
in the changing power structure continue to characterise Papua New Guinea
affairs. In this review period, both the government and the polity at large came
under increasing pressure from disagreement over such issues as economic
management and control; independence; nationalism and national unity; and
the future constitutional framework. As a result further divisions appeared
in the country's ruling elite which are likely to last well into independence.
Pressure and Response
A galloping inflation rate estimated at twenty per cent and rises in the cost
of living of six per cent in the first quarter and ten per cent in the second,
produced increasing unrest amongst the urban population. In mid-June a
crowd of Papuan women stormed and damaged the Chief Minister's offices
in Konedobu demanding higher wages for their husbands and a freeze on
prices. 1 The following day in a repeat demonstration the. women physically
attacked Michael Somare, Minister for Defence and Foreign Relations,
Albert Maori Kiki, and members of their staff as they tried to address a
crowd at the Sir Hubert Murray football stadium. Trade union leaders who
had earlier rejected the government's proposed policy of "wage restraint" 2
and who were currently appearing before both rural and urban boards of
inquiry into wages warned of a series of rolling strikes if their demands were
not met. The Public Service Association which had seen its agreement on a
wages freeze rendered obsolete by the spiralling cost of living demanded
an immediate increase in public service salaries.
The government responded by widening price control measures on such
staples as rice, flour and tinned fish and by reducing taxes on some food
items in the hope that prices would be reduced. A fresh vegetable supply
was instituted for the Port Moresby area as a government service to
supplement the city's markets. Efforts were made to locate cheaper overseas
supplies of sugar, and the Department of Agriculture disseminated portable
rice mills and investigated potential commercial sugar growing areas in the
country. Despite inflation the economy was reported to be sound by the
Secretary for Finance with good returns from primary export crops. 3

May-August 1974


In the first week in June the government was subjected to pressure from
striking students at both universities. The strikes initially were called over
food and allowances, but escalated into demands of national significance
when the government took a tough, anti-elitist line. The students demanded
a freeze on ministerial, MHA and senior public servant's salaries, an
immediate increase in the minimum wage, renegotiation of the Bougainville
copper agreement and controls on foreign investment, more strict control
over the behaviour and international trips of ministers, and the sale of a
ministerial retreat outside Port Moresby. One of the continuing themes of
student criticism of the government had been of its general economic
strategy: of the hiatus between rhetoric and action on the Eight Point Plan.
The students were pacified by a series of promises but by tying up cabinet
for at least two afternoons and by forcing the hand of some ministers they
had shown that they had some influence within the political system. Their
actions, in part, prompted a major speech by the Minister for Finance, Julius
Chan, on the difficulties of managing the economy and of implementing
the government's "equalisation" policies. Chan attempted to answer the
critics of his government's encouragement of foreign investment and he
spoke of the nect<ssity to increase internal revenue through large scale
resource projects.
Pressure from the PPP not to move to independence until satisfactory
citizenship provisions had been agreed to, and from sections of the United
party which had indicated support to the government in its confrontation
with the CPC, pushed the Chief Minister into amending his original 1
December 1974 target date for independence. 5 In the House on 25 June, the
Chief Minister proposed that independence be achieved "as soon as
practicable after a constitution had been enacted by this House". Opposition
leader, Tei Abal, further amended the motion so that the House of Assembly
itself would endorse any independence date. 6 The Australian government's
policy to treat Papua New Guinea as "an independent nation" both helped
the Chief Minister and, at the same time, created difficulties for him in
negotiating consensus in Port Moresby. 7
Perhaps the greatest shock to the government came when some of the
Papuan ministers questioned the desirability of Papuan union with New
Guinea at independence. The Minister for Commerce, Ebia Olewale, (South
Fly) in opening the Port Moresby show questioned whether unity and
independence in December were the only options open for Papuans. 8
Meetings of Papuan MHAs throughout that week however ended in
stalemate. No rapprochement occurred between Olewale and Josephine
Abaijah. Although they were seeking the same goals by different methods,
according to Olewale, Abaijah was "too emotional" for him to become
involved with her Papua Besena movement. 9 The Papuan MHAs, however,
did establish themselves as a bargaining faction which the Chief Minister
would have to take into account in the event of a cabinet reshuffle or further
constitutional change.
For eighteen months or more the government had underestimated the
strength of Papuan separatist feeling. By the end of August, at the instigation


David Hegarty

of the Chief Minister's research officer and Pangu president, Moi Avei, a
"Papuan Task Force" was established to recommend "on all types of
development opportunities in Papua", and in Avei's words, "to get some
action out of the bureaucracy" . 10 Ironically the Task Force occupied the
recently vacated CPC offices in Waigani and politicians were already
wondering what political threat these young Papuan organisers might pose.
These and other pressures therefore gave rise to a period of uncertainty
which in turn gave rise to the impression that things were "falling apart"
with the most crucial challenge - that of the constitution - yet to come. In
this situation it was obvious that the "numbers game" was well and truly in

Rt>port of the Constitutional Planning Committee

On 27 June the long awaited report of the CPC was tabled in the House in
draft form. The preceding months had been marked by acrimonious and
emotional argument over the question of citizenship which culminated in a
public dispute between the Minister for Natural Resources, Bruce Jephcott,
who alleged that the CPC provisions were racist, and the deputy chairman
of the CPC, John Momis, who defended the proposals and accused Jephcott
of breaching cabinet confidentiality. 11 The political storm really broke,
however, when Somare and his deputy, John Guise, simultaneously tabled
a minority report along with the CPC documents. The reports differed
substantially in such key areas as citizenship, head of state, power of
legislature, provincial government, leadership and investment codes, and
the overall size of the constitution. The Post-Courier on the next day carried
the headline: "Somare v CPC". In the weeks which followed group and
individual opinion began to polarise around the reports. Splits within some
of the parties emerged. Members of the Pangu executive-:- more radical than
the parliamentary wing- threatened to resign unless they were included in
party discussions on the report. Pangu president, Moi Avei, declared that
parliamentarians must listen to the "voice of the masses as expressed through
the party's grass-roots organisation" .12 The split was quickly healed. When
Pangu met, three CPC members (Momis, Kasau and Ila) were ordered from
the meeting after they had criticised "deals" between Somare and the PPP
and some members of the UP (Somare refuted this). When the United party
met to discuss the report angry Papua New Guinean members declared that
they would organise separate meetings for black members only to prevent
expatriates dominating the discussion.
On 3 July Kaputin and Momis (labelled the architects of the report, which
they refuted) challenged the "moral position" of the minority report, Kaputin
claiming that it was "an abuse of the trust of leadership", "an abuse of
political power for political ends", and "political expediency".n Somare
replied that he was entitled to submit a minority view and that he would
accept any challenge to his leadership on the floor of the House. He criticised
Kaputin for not attending cabinet meetings and said that he would consult
his colleagues about retaining Kaputin in the ministry. 14

May-August 1974


Fr Momis and Michael Somare also engaged in a slanging match: Momis

accused Somare of dependence on white advisers, of mediocre leadership,
of collaboration with other parties and of using his black staff merely as
"flower pots". Somare retaliated by reminding Momis of his own white
consultants and of treating the report as his "Bible" .15 When the final CPC
report and a "Government Paper on Constitutional Proposals" appeared soon
after, Momis referred to them respectively as the "black paper" and the
"white paper" . 16
Outside these circles discussion groups including Public Service
Association branches met to consider the proposals. Some CPC members
visited educational institutions throughout the country. At the University
of Papua New Guinea a "Teach-In" was held and showed student
support was solidly behind the CPC report identifying it as a nationalist
The House of Assembly adjourned briefly to allow members to
examine the reports, but it was obvious that much more time for
consideration was needed. Equally obvious was that the government had
almost completely outmanoeuvred the CPC and had pushed it onto the
defensive. The CPC's strategy was virtually non-existent. When the
report first appeared in the House it was incomplete; in roneoed form
only, it amounted to a mass of individual chapters of "recommendations"
and "narrative". The committee had not met as a whole to give final
approval. Not all of the report was intended for inclusion in the constitution
but a separate schedule would indicate the appropriate sections. Little
lobbying had been done of other MHAs for their support and once party
discussions commenced the commitment of individual members to the total
report began to wane. The minority report, and the government paper
which followed it, on the other hand, had the advantage of brevity. The
complexity of the proposals and issues involved was beyond many of the
members. Any "radical" departure from present practice was to be suspect.
Differences between CPC members over specific issues were carefully
exploited. As well any incumbent government enjoys advantages in terms
of the resources it can bring to bear or the rewards it can offer over those
opposing it. Rumours of a reshuffle which might include UP members and
of a possible Pangu-UP coalition induced some to be wary of joining forces
with the CPC.
The report and the issues it raised did cause a shift in alignments in the
House. The strategic abandonment of the December independence date
ensured a majority for the government on most issues, but it was a majority
which relied on some United party support. The government was concerned
that the newly formed Country party 17 together with the CPC "group" and
the original Opposition might on occasions defeat the government. In the
face of a potential threat to their position the minority parties - PPP and
National - maintained their cohesion and solidarity. Pangu membership
remained firm while the UP appeared to be crumbling at the edges. The CPC
group retained its all-party stance and appeared as though it may in future
occupy the traditional role of an opposition.


David Hegarty

The Kaputin Affair

One of the significant events of the review period linked with the CPC
dispute and the struggle for power was the sacking of Justice Minister, John
Kaputin. In mid-July the Chief Minister requested Kaputin 's resignation on
the grounds that he had publicly challenged his leadership and that his
performance as a minister was unsatisfactory. 18 Somare said that his cabinet
must work as a "team" with mutual trust and cooperation so long as he was
Kaputin who had been attending law conferences in Fiji and Australia,
and who heard of the resignation request over the radio, returned to Port
Moresby four days later on 23 July. At his press conference he made a long
statement in which he said that the present dispute, he believed, was not
between the Chief Minister and htmselt but was part of a wider struggle
between the nationalists fighting for the rights of Papua New Guineans and
the foreign establishment (together with those blacks who had been "sucked
into the system") who maintained economic and political control. He saw
no just cause for his resignation; his work on the CPC had taken priority
over his other activities and his departmental responsibilities were related
to policy rather than day-to-day matters. He pointed out that he had founded
the first black development corporation in PNG (the New Guinea
Development Corporation) and that, as minister he had proposed a number
of important new legal and economic measures. He had been frustrated in
some of his work and "overruled" on decisions he had made relating to the
appointment of acting judges. His duty lay in serving the people and not in
becoming a "good bureaucrat", signing "little pieces of paper" .19 He would
not resign but would let the MHAs decide his fate. Kaputin then returned
to the Gazelle Peninsula to discuss his position with his parliamentary
colleagues and the Tolai people.
Somare did not have the constitutional authority to dismiss Kaputin.
That authority Jay with the Australian minister responsible for PNG affairs
to recommend to the Governor-General the termination of a ministerial
appointment "in the public interest". 20 The alternative procedure was for
the seven-person Ministerial Nominations Committee of the House to meet
with the High Commissioner and then recommend to the House by motion
that a ministerial appointment be revoked. Somare refuted Kaputin's claims
on the initiatives he had taken and then stripped him of his Justice portfolio
and barred him from cabinet. Opposition leader, Tei Abal, supported the
Chief Minister's right to discipline ministers.
The support which rallied for Kaputin and the threat that the Mataungans
might break away from the coalition obviously concerned Somare and his
advisers. Leo Hannett, the Bougainville activist and architect of district
government for Bougainville met Kaputin at the airport on his return. Fr
Momis immediately defended Kaputin's work in the CPC and other
committee members later criticised his dismissal. Paul Langro, deputy
Leader of the Opposition criticised the Chief Minister and cabinet for having
"discarded their nationalism". University students speaking at a forum were

May-August 1974


almost unanimous in condemning Kaputin's dismissal and angrily attacked

the government's "white advisers". A meeting of senior Tolai public servants
in Port Moresby condemned the "cowardly manner" in which the sacking
was made. On 28 July a group of black public servants and trade union
officials calling themselves the "real nationalists" attacked the government
for its dictatorial approach, for its minority report, and for allowing the
"foreign establishment" to continue its domination. Early in August
dissidents in the Pangu executive declared themselves "fed up" with the
parliamentary wing for ignoring policy directives and with the coalition for
its continued compromise. On the Gazelle it became obvious that Kaputin
still commanded wide support. A series of meetings was held at which
village leaders were briefed on the issues and which culminated in a 2,000
strong meeting which demanded Kaputin's immediate reinstatement, district
government for the Gazelle, and no independence on the basis of the
minority report. 21
Efforts were made behind the scenes for a reconciliation between the two
leaders. An offer of another ministry for Kaputin appeared likely, but
Kaputin in drawing up a list of demands appeared in no mood to
compromise. By the end of the August session of the House the issue had
still not been resolved.
Throughout 1974 relations between Somare and Kaputin- friends of
fairly long standing - began to deteriorate and differences over basic
political issues emerged. In February Kaputin fired a broadside at the
national leadership for its lack of commitment to the national interestY Later
that month he was almost demoted in the cabinet reshuffle. The two leaders
began publicly sniping at each other: Somare ridiculing Kaputin for
preferring a Western-oriented, elitist education system; Kaputin replying
sarcastically that he could not help his fellow ministers "if they cannot see
beyond the pages of their written speeches"Y Kaputin had on many
occasions expressed his frustration both at the system of law which PNG
had inherited ("white man's law") and at the lack of support he received in
attempts to change it ("I'm just an office boy"). 24 His challenge to the Chief
Minister's minority report sealed the conflict between the two, for the time
being at least.
Deeper in the dispute, however, are differences in political style and in
approaches to political change and economic development. Kaputin has
always adopted an aggressive anti-colonialist stance, believing that the
dependence syndrome must be broken through social and political
mobilisation. He is a political rebel in the sense that he refuses to be tied to
or be identified with a particular system. He is an economic nationalist with
a firm resolve to gain national control over the economy (as far as is
possible) and to engage Papua New Guineans in the economy through
corporate capitalism. Nationalism, he believes, can only be generated
through political involvement and the working out of smaller group and
regional identities. His desire for rapid social and political change and his
unwillingness to compromise constituted a threat to the survival and stability
of the present government whose posture on decolonisation is essentially


David Hegarty

cautious and conservative. To the nationalists, however, he represented a

just cause.
As the review period ended a dispute broke out between the head of the
Department of the Interior, Simon Kaumi, and his minister, John Poe,
reflecting both the difficulties involved in grafting on a ministerial system
to a colonial bureaucracy and the problems of role adjustment as the
administration undergoes the trauma of becoming a national one. The stress
and strain observed in this period truly reflect the remark of the visiting
Fijian Prime Minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, that whoever invented "selfgovernment" obviously had never had to make it work. "Full steam ahead
for independence" was his advice.


David Hegarty

The Constitution Debate

The debate on the proposed constitution was the dominant political feature
in the last months of 197 4. After the draft report of the Constitutional
Planning Committee (CPC) had been tabled in the House in June, all parties
met to discuss the report and propose alternative recommendations. A small
team within the Chief Minister's Office worked quickly to produce a
"counter" document to the CPC report. The "Government Paper- Proposals
on Constitutional Principles and Explanatory Notes" was tabled in the House
in mid-August shortly after the CPC final report. The United party issued
its proposals on the constitution late in September. 1 The CPC report was an
intensely nationalist document. The ideology of change explicit in the
discussion of national goals, however, was not really matched by the
recommended institutional changes. The report also exhibited a suspicion
of power and a desire to limit executive authority (which some observers
thought unusual of "radicals"). The government paper was essentially a
response to the perceived challenge to government authority. Although the
paper accepted many of the CPC recommendations in principle, it was
largely concerned with the continuity of existing institutions and with
maintaining the political status quo.
The report and government paper differed on a number of significant
issues, the first being the size and scope of the constitution. The CPC
recommended a very comprehensive document which would include
statements on national goals, human rights, leadership, and investment as
well as detailed provisions on governmental structures and intergovernmental
relations. The government proposed a short document excluding much of
the detail in the interests of flexibility. It suggested that many CPC
recommendations be embodied either in organic or ordinary legislation.
The difference which generated most heat and which had repercussions
elsewhere in the polity was that over citizenship. The CPC argued for
stringent citizenship requirements whereby only people with two indigenous
grandparents and who were not "real" citizens of another country could
become automatic citizens ofPNG. Foreigners and people of mixed descent
who had acquired other citizenship (or who had enjoyed the privileges of a
foreigner in terms of salary and position) would be required to wait eight


David Hegarty

years before being eligible for naturalisation. The CPC argued that a
residential period prior to "Citizenship Day" should not be counted towards
this time as the life enjoyed during the colonial period had not "prepared"
foreigners for a life in independent PNG. The CPC argued that such
requirements would help create a national identity; would enhance
localisation of employment and business; would ensure that nationals were
in political control - and would help overcome "the present serious
imbalance in the distribution of benefits and opportunities" in society. 2 The
government's proposals differed in two respects. Firstly it provided for
"provisional citizenship" whereby people who had eight years' continuous
residence, who satisfied naturalisation criteria, and who applied, could retain
all rights of citizens including that of holding public office and of standing
for elections. 3 Secondly the government paper provided for a Citizenship
Advisory Committee, different from that of the CPC, which operated at a
national level and with only one community member coopted to advise on
the acceptability in the local area of the applicant. The government, however,
had given considerable ground since the original proposal in the minority
report of Michael Somare and John Guise.
A third area of difference arose over the power of parliament vis-a-vis
the executive. 4 The CPC recommended that the national parliament be
strengthened by the introduction of powerful permanent committees which
would have wide investigatory powers in all fields of governmental activity.
The CPC argued for the need to increase backbench participation and for a
more constructive role for parliament. The government paper proposed that
a committee system be allowed to evolve but such a "watch-dog" system as
proposed by the CPC could render parliament unworkable (particularly if
captured by an opposition party). The government also proposed the
retention of Regional electorates, which the CPC wanted abolished, and
elections every five years as against the CPC's four. 5 The CPC proposed that<