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Tuesday, 9 May 1972
Page: 2202

Mr PEACOCK (Kooyong) (Minister for External Territories) - by leave - I wish to advise the House of recent events in Papua New Guinea which may be of interest to honourable members. Elections were held in February and March of this year for the third Papua New Guinea House of Assembly which will run until 1976. These elections were contested by 3 main political parties, namely, the United Party, the Pangu Party, the People's Progress Party, a number of smaller parties such as the New Guinea National Party, and political associations such as the Mataungan Association and a number of independent candidates. The results of the elections gave no one party a majority in the 100 elected member House of Assembly, but shortly before the opening of the House on 20th April the Pangu Party entered into a coalition with the People's Progress Party, the New Guinea National Party, the Mataungan Association group and a group of independents led by the former Speaker, Dr John Guise, to form a governing coalition group. This group was successful in setting up a Ministerial Nominations Committee of the House of Assembly and, following agreement between the Committee and the Administrator, in having the House endorse its list of members to form the executive government of Papua New Guinea.

Following acceptance by the House of Assembly of the coalition's list I formally created 17 Ministries and the Ministers then elected one of their number to be the Deputy Chairman of the Administrator's Executive Council. The Ministers elected Mr Michael Somare, the parliamentary leader of the Pangu Party, to tie the Deputy Chairman of the Administrator's Executive Council and the House of Assembly in turn endorsed that election. Following discussions between the Administrator and the Deputy Chairman of the Administrator's Executive Council, the Administrator recommended to me the allocation and distribution of portfolio responsibilities among the Ministry and those Ministers who should make up the elected membership of the Administrator's Executive Council. On 28th April I executed instruments under the Papua New Guinea Act giving effect to these recommendations. I am placing copies of these instruments in the Library for the information of honourable members.

May I say finally that I and the Government look forward to working closely with the newly elected members of the House of Assembly and, in particular, with members of the Administrator's Executive Council. Already I have had a number of discussions with them and I look forward to continuing those discussions. As honourable members are aware, the Deputy Chairman of the Administrator's Executive Council, who is in effect the Chief Minister, and 4 of his Ministers will arrive in Canberra tonight. Bearing in mind the -distinctive role that the House of Assembly has in the move towards self-government we welcome their arrival in Canberra, albeit on this occasion it is primarily to discuss budgetary matters. We wish them well during their term of office.

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