By Donald Denoon
While it got here in September 1975, Papua New Guinea’s independence was once marked through either anxiousness and elation. within the euphoric aftermath, decolonisation was once declared a triumph and quick occasions appeared to justify that self belief. via the Nineteen Nineties, even though, occasions had taken a flip for the more serious and there have been doubts in regards to the ability of the kingdom to operate. earlier than independence, Papua New Guinea used to be an Australian Territory. accountability lay with a minister in Canberra and companies have been supplied by way of Commonwealth enterprises. In 1973, best Minister Gough Whitlam declared that independence may be accomplished inside years. whereas Australians have been united of their wish to decolonise, many Papua New Guineans have been anxious of independence. This superlative heritage provides the whole tale of the ‘trial separation’ of Australia and Papua New Guinea, concluding that — given the intertwined heritage, geography and economies of the 2 neighbours — the decolonisation venture of ‘independence’ continues to be a piece in growth.
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Extra info for A Trial Separation: Australia and the Decolonisation of Papua New Guinea
DORCA reported to the Minister, Eddie Ward,30 but Ward was distracted. He had to divide his time between Territories and his other portfolio, Transport; and he spent much of his political capital defending himself from a Royal Commission. 32 Matters improved in 1949 when the Liberal-Country Party coalition won office. Territories gained a high-profile minister in Percy Spender, but it was submerged in the more prestigious Department of External Affairs. Little attention was given to Papua New Guinea before Hasluck became minister in 1951 of a portfolio that split from External Affairs.
The deference of Native Members gave rise to strange alignments. 49 No one thought that they would develop agendas of their own. People like Tessie Lavau had no role in these bodies: the institutions and traditions of paternal, rural governance could not accommodate them. The Government did oppose racism, at least formally, and in the 1950s legal drafting began cleansing the laws of odious terms. But politically correct language did not abolish the disabilities that people endured on account of their native condition.
The 1930s department had been swept aside by war and its peace-time revival was threatened by the Army’s Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs (DORCA), a clutch of scholars in uniform. DORCA reported to the Minister, Eddie Ward,30 but Ward was distracted. He had to divide his time between Territories and his other portfolio, Transport; and he spent much of his political capital defending himself from a Royal Commission. 32 Matters improved in 1949 when the Liberal-Country Party coalition won office.