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The Papua-New Guinea elections 1964

CollectionsANU Pacific Institute
ANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: The Papua-New Guinea elections 1964
Author(s): Bettison, David G
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
The first firm step towards independence for the people of Papua-New Guinea was taken in 1964 with the election of a representative legislature. This book describes how the Members of the House of Assembly were chosen. Officials conducting the elections were confronted with the difficulties of making the electoral process comprehensible to men and women who had had no previous contact with the institutions of modern government. At the same time the local candidates lacked a party organization or a nationalist movement or ideology through which to appeal to the voters. In such circumstances the usual pattern of election studies, focused on a national campaign, would have been inappropriate. Instead the core of this book consists of twelve studies of different constituencies, typical of different parts of Papua and New Guinea, each written by an anthropologist or a political scientist who was either working in the area or visited it for the election period. These studies have a common framework, and they are accompanied by chapters on the Legislative Councils which preceded the House of Assembly, on the political education campaign conducted by the Australian Administration and on the administration of the elections themselves, on a seminar which was held after the elections to train the new Members in their parliamentary duties, and on the first two meetings of the House of Assembly. The authors provide a wealth of material on the problems of transitional political systems, few of which are so fragmented or so underdeveloped as Papua-New Guinea. Their book is also a contribution to the political history of that country, and as such reveals much of crucial importance about Australia{u2019}s nearest neighbour.


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