Papua New Guinea and Australia have inherited the traditions of the Westminster system of government. Each has implemented the functions in its own way. In Australia, a federal system shares power between the national government and the states. In PNG, the national parliament is the source of political power, but devolves some responsibilities to provincial and local level governments.

Politics of Australia

Australia’s Parliament House, Canberra. Photo: AUSPIC

Australia’s political system is a federal one, with powers shared between states and territories and the Commonwealth.

The Parliament of Australia is the country’s supreme law-making body.  It is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Government is formed in the House by the party with the majority of the 150 MPs – each of whom represents a geographic electorate.  The Senate has 76 members with 12 from each state and two from each mainland territory.  The Queen is the head of Australia’s government and is represented by the Governor-General, who appoints Cabinet ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.  Elections to the national parliament are held at least every three years. Senators are appointed to a six-year term, with half of the membership subject to elections every three years.

States and territories each have their own governments and court systems, and also oversee local governments.

Politics of Papua New Guinea

Parliament House of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby. Photo: PNG Parliament

From independence in 1975, Papua New Guinea has been governed by a unicameral Parliament, with its 111 MPs representing a mix of ‘open’ electorates and provincial seats.  The Queen is the head of government, with the Governor-General as her representative.  The Governor-General appoints the government based on the grouping that controls the most seats after the general election, which is held every five years.  Ministers are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister.

While the National Government is the primary source of political power, PNG also devolves some functions and powers to provincial and local level governments. Each Province has its own Provincial Assembly. Special governance measures exist for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville under the terms of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Links & Resources

Government-to-Government links

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Emerging Leader Participants

Sam Davies - Security Manager, Australasia - International SOS and Control Risks - Lowy Institute

Sam Davies

Security Manager, Australasia - International SOS and Control Risks

ELD Year:
2018

Country:
Australia

Current Location:
Sydney

Sam Davies is the Australasia Security Manager for International SOS and Control Risks, and is responsible for overseeing operations for clients in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific including PNG. He works with clients in business, non-government organisations and the Australian government regarding security and contingency planning. Sam has previously worked in the humanitarian sector and he holds a Bachelor of International Relations from the Australian National University in Canberra and has also studied in the US and Jordan.


Bernard Yegiora - Lecturer, International Relations - Divine Word University - Lowy Institute

Bernard Yegiora

Lecturer, International Relations - Divine Word University

ELD Year:
2018

Country:
Papua New Guinea

Current Location:
Madang

Bernard Yegiora is a lecturer in international relations at Divine Word University in Madang. He teaches courses like theories of international relations, international law in international relations, Foreign Policy analysis, PNG Foreign Policy, international and regional security including geopolitics in the Asia-Pacific. He has previously worked at the University of PNG and the National Research Institute. He brings a strong understanding of PNG’s international relations to the Dialogue and has written extensively for a number of years on China’s growing involvement in the Pacific region. He regularly writes at his blog The Yegiora Files. Bernard holds a Masters of International Politics from Jilin University, China and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Papua New Guinea.


Daphney Toke - Monitoring and Evaluation, Autonomous Bougainville Government - Lowy Institute

Daphney Toke

Monitoring and Evaluation, Autonomous Bougainville Government

ELD Year:
2018

Country:
Papua New Guinea

Current Location:
Buka

Daphney Toke is the Monitoring and Evaluation officer with the directorate of Strategic Planning and Policy Coordination with the Autonomous Bougainville Government. In this role she works with colleagues to co-ordinate whole of government action on Departments’ corporate and strategic development plans, and ABG policies. Daphney graduated from Divine Word University with a Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences in PNG Studies and International Relations.


Sanja Pepae - Assistant Secretary, Department of National Planning PNG - Lowy Institute

Sanja Pepae

Assistant Secretary, Department of National Planning PNG

ELD Year:
2018

Country:
Papua New Guinea

Current Location:
Port Moresby

Sanja Pepae is a postgraduate student at the Australian National University in Canberra. Prior to taking on studies for his Masters in International and Development Economics, he was Assistant Secretary at the Department of National Planning and Monitoring in Port Moresby. He will return to work with the Department in 2019. Sanja graduated with first class honours in his Bachelor of Economics from the University of Papua New Guinea. He was heavily involved in developing governance and institutional structures for PNG’s proposed Sovereign Wealth Fund, and has served as ex-officio board member on a number of PNG government agencies and authorities.


Benjamin Gertz - Public Policy Advisor - Lowy Institute

Benjamin Gertz

Public Policy Advisor

ELD Year:
2017

Country:
Australia

Current Location:
Melbourne

Benjamin Gertz is a public policy professional with experience working in the public sector and non-government organisations, with a particular knowledge of policy challenges affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and economic issues relating to Regional Australia. He is also currently studying a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Economics and regional Development, from James Cook University, in Townsville.

@BenjieBungaru

Related Organisations

Development Policy Centre - Lowy Institute

Development Policy Centre

The Development Policy Centre (Devpolicy) is a think tank for aid and development serving Australia, the region, and the global development community. It undertakes independent research and promotes practical initiatives to improve the effectiveness of Australian aid, to support the development of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific island region, and to contribute to better global development policy. The centre is based at Crawford School of Public Policy in the College of Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University. In conjunction with the University of Papua New Guinea, the centre runs the annual PNG Update conference in Port Moresby, and has a wide range of active research projects and partnerships in Papua New Guinea. It also publishes frequent analysis on PNG on the Devpolicy Blog.

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Lowy Institute - Lowy Institute

Lowy Institute

The Lowy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan international policy think tank located in Sydney, Australia. Ranked as Australia's leading think tank, it provides high - quality research and distinctive perspectives on the international trends shaping Australia and the world. The Lowy Institute's Pacific Islands Program focuses on Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands more broadly. It convenes events on Papua New Guinea such the Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue. The Lowy Institute is being supported by the Australian Government to develop and host the Australia-Papua New Guinea Network.

Lowy Institute

PNG Church Partnership Program - Lowy Institute

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PNG Church Partnership Program

Smith Immigration and Education Services - Lowy Institute

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Smith Immigration & Education Services delivers a range of consultancy services to our clients in the areas of Australian studies, visas & citizenship, scholarship program management, and immigration advice and assistance. Their staff of Registered Migration Agents, Education Agents, and knowledgeable Program Managers contribute a wealth of experience and have a proven track record of success. They have offices in Australia and Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby).

Smith Immigration and Education Services

National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea - Lowy Institute

National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea

The PNG National Research Institute is Papua's New Guinea's leading public policy and development think tank. The Institute's vision is to be recognised among the leading public policy think tanks in the Asia-Pacific region. It conducts research which contributes to quality, evidence-based public policies and decision-making processes that aim to improve quality of life for all Papua New Guineans.

PNG NRI was established as the New Guinea Research Unit (NGRU) of the Australian National University in 1961. When PNG gained independence, the NGRU became the Institute for Applied Social and Economic Research (IASER), and in 1993 was officially recognised as the National Research Institute.

In 2016, PNG NRI launched plans for the PNG Knowledge Hub, a precinct which brings together a community of organisations, leaders, researchers, consultants, academics, government and the private sector to confront the development challenges faced by PNG.

National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea

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