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HHI 223 – PNG National History

Lecture 7
Development of the Constitution of PNG
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Introduction
For Papua New Guinea to become an independent
Nation, it must have a constitutional in place that
would guide the country forward.

Constitution is a legal document on which an


association/organization derive its functions. It gives
meaning and authority to the organization.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Introduction
The process of writing constitution started in 1960,
after years of discussion, lead up consultations and
subsequent meetings, the final document was
accepted by House of Assembly, and subsequently
declaration of independence in September 1975.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Introduction
This lecture will cover briefly
the development of home grown constitution
those that were involved in the writing of the
constitution
the institutions that were instrumental.
We will also consider motives, and the processes
involved.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
The Select Committee on Political Development (SCPD)
The long and arduous process of writing a constitution
would begin with the establishment of the Select
Committee on Political Development (SCPD). This
committee was important for number of reasons,
• firstly it had significant influence on political developments
that would lead to the decolonization process,
• and secondly the former member of SCPD will also be
included in Select Committee on Constitutional Development
(SCCD), which would provide a spine of select committees in
Legislative Assembly.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
The architect of the idea of having SCPD in legislative
Assembly was Lloyd Hurrel, an elected member of
legislative Council. He introduced the motion in
Legislative council.
The motion in effect would touch off subsequent
developments in the territory of Papua and New
Guinea that would lead to independence.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Membership of Selected Committee
The Legislative Councils Select Committee on Political
Development was formed in 1962 and comprised of John
Gunther (chairman), Keith Mc Carty, John Guise, Peta
Simogen, Ian Downs, and Lloyd Hurrell.
The committee members were mostly expatriates except
for two (John Guise & Peta Simogen), who had no influence
but for symbolic representations.
Coincidently section 8 of legislative Ordinance would
disqualify indigenous members from contesting elections,
on basis of been native.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Committee
The most important TOR was to recommend to the
Legislative Council a future constitution of the country
PNG.
• The second TOR was to consider UN recommendation to
Australia to have a National Parliament, a National
University, a national program for economic development,
and an elimination of any racist legislations.
Note: The UN recommendation to remove racist
legislations comes at the back end of sighting a legislation
that disallows Papua New Guineans drinking alcohol.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Committee
• The third TOR was to consider future political
systems based on ideas of West Minister and
democracy.
• And, finally the committee was to frame provisions
regarding the qualification of voters and candidates,
the distribution of electorates, enrolment, polling and
counting of votes.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Report and Recommendation
• The committee visited many places in PNG to gauge
peoples view from cross sections of the society. The
result was that many would like to see change in
administrative and legislative powers.
• The SCPD final report made following
recommendations, the name of Legislative Council
changed to house of Assembly, and that House of
Assembly was to comprise of 64 elected members
and nominated members.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Report and Recommendation
• Among the important recommendation made by
SCPD was that council membership be made up of
elected majority, thereby reducing the number of
dominated and appointed members.
• Another notable change was the running of first
election in 1964 which would see majority of Papua
New Guineans elected to the house of Assembly.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Select Committee on Constitutional Development
• The House of Assembly in 1964 sets up another Select
Committee on Constitutional Development (SCCD).
This was a result of Australian government
encouragement.
• Chaired by John Guise, this committee comprised of
elected and ex officio members.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
• The key TOR was to seek widest political opinion, and
recommend ideas for constitutional change for the
Second House of Assembly, 1968-1972.
• On June 28, 1965 UN Trusteeship Council recommend
that the Select Commitee should consider an
extension of House of Assembly, while also propose
to select committee to review the number and size of
electorates
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
After couple of years of discussions, reviews, public
meetings and debates, final report was submitted to
House of Assembly on June 6, 1967. Among the
recommendations was the need to have larger
legislature, some control over locally raised revenue
and an increase in elected representative.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Terms of Reference for SCCD
• The Select Committees TOR were to prepare and
present a set of constitutional proposals to serve as
guide to future constitutional development in the
territory.
• The committee was task to present interim report at
three different stages. The first was to be delivered on
17th of November 1969, the second report presented
on 12th of March 1970.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Constitutional Planning Committee (CPC)
In 1972, the Constitutional Planning Committee was
established to continue the work of the Select
Committee for Constitutional Development (SCCD)

The newly elected Politician Fr. John Momis – Member


for Bougainville was elected the Chairman of the CPC –
Mr. Michael Somare was the Chief Minister.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Constitutional Planning Committee (CPC)
The Constitutional Planning Committee of 1972 was tasked
to investigate and recommend a political pathway for the
future of the territory.
It carried forward the work of Select Committee on
Constitutional Development (SCCD) since 1962.
Michael Somare (the Chief Minister) was the ex officio
chairman and John Momis (the newly elected Member for
Bougainville was the deputy chairman and the de-factor
chairman.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
Constitutional Planning Committee (CPC)
• The TOR for the (CPC) includes, a system of
government based on the separation of Executive,
Legislative, and Judiciary Powers, the relation
between national and local governments.
• The task became more difficult for the committee
members because, most members have little or no
parliamentary experience and also the House of
Assembly had been operational only for eight years.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution
From May to August 1973 CPC toured the country:
visited almost every sub-district
holding over one hundred public meetings
attended by an estimated 60,000 people.

From October 1973 to February 1974, and a number of


draft chapters based on decisions.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution

In the months from March to June 1974, the CPC had a


number of meetings with the Cabinet and there were
also several less formal consultations.
Drafting proceeded, accompanied by some revision
and refining of our recommendations as the full
pattern of the Constitution emerged.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution

The Constitution of Papua New Guinea was finally


adopted by the House of Assembly on 15 August 1975,
which came into effect on 15 September 1975 and
established Papua New Guinea a independent country.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution

The Constitution establishes the law under which the


government of PNG operates, provides for the
establishment of the three arms of government, that
is, the Legislative, Judiciary and the Executive and
guarantees the fundamental rights and freedoms of its
citizens.
Lecture 7 Development of PNG’S Constitution