Assessment Item 1: Brief Note
Word Count: 2030
Study Period 1, 2013
PL2110/3110/5110 Government and Politics in Developing Areas
Subject Coordinator: Dr Janine Hiddlestone
Briefing Note of the Soloman Islands and Papua New Guinea for the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Purpose: The purpose of this briefing note is to present relevant investigative data to help foster ties that will encourage international trade links from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to Australia. The data will include the countries’ history, systems of government, key political institutions, basic social and economical data highlighting the population levels and growth, national incomes levels and the rate of literacy. A current and major political problem will also be investigated; options and recommendations will be presented, as well as a number of key factors of interest that the minister should visit. The relationship of Australia’s diplomatic ties and trade to both Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands will be highlighted, the locus of concerns will be outlined and an investigation looking into the already established systems will be conducted to measure its effect and sustainability.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea lying just south of the equator, 160km north of Australia, Papua New Guinea is part of a great arc of mountains stretching from Asia, through Indonesia and into the South Pacific (Papua New Guinea, 2004). With a vibrant and colourful culture, Papua New Guinea is made up of more than 600 islands and 800 indigenous languages, Papua New Guinea is made up of 4 regions with 20 provinces. Papua New Guinea has a population of approximately 6.7 million (Papua New Guinea, 2004). The Papua and New Guinea Act, passed in Australia in 1949, confirmed the administrative union of New Guinea and Papua under the title of 'The Territory of Papua and New Guinea' and placed it under the International Trusteeship System (Papua New Guinea, 2004). The Act provided for a Legislative Council (established in 1951), a judicial organisation, a public service, and a system of local government.
* Systems of Government Papua New Guinea is a country built upon a constitutional monarchy. A Governor-general, currently Sir Michael Ogio is elected directly by members of the National Parliament representing The Head of State HM Queen Elizabeth II, performing mainly ceremonial functions (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2013).
* Government Structure national, provincial and local is the three levels which represent Papua New Guineas political structure. The National Parliament is a 111-member unicameral legislature elected for five-year terms by universal suffrage (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2013). The Prime Minister is appointed and can be dismissed by the Governor-General (representative of The Head of State) on the proposal of Parliament. A Recommendation from the Prime Minister is used to form a Cabinet Known as the National Executive Council or NEC which its members are appointed by the Governor-General (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2013).
* Economic overview Papua New Guinea has a dual economy comprising a formal, corporate-based sector and a large informal sector where subsistence farming accounts for the bulk of economic activity. This dual economy creates a substantial variance in the distribution of wealth as the rich are extremely wealthy and resourceful and are poor have limited access to mainstream resources and often comprise in slums or small villages; suffering financial difficulty (Papua New Guinea, 2004). The formal sector is primarily located within the urban areas of Papua New Guinea however many mining sites are located in remote parts of PNG which play a vital role in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sector provides a narrow employment base, consisting of workers engaged in mineral...
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