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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australia and Papua New Guinea 1966-1969

This publication provides a detailed record of the classified communications that informed and determined Australian policy in Papua New Guinea between 1966 and 1969. Taken mainly from the files of the Department of Territories, the documents tell the story of how Australian governments of the 1960s tried to maintain a slow pace of political change in PNG while accelerating economic development.

Highlights of the volume include Canberra’s reaction to Papua New Guinean interest in joining the Australian federation; the genesis of the Bougainville problem; conflict with a quasi-nationalist movement in the Rabaul area; early analyses of PNG’s unique parliamentary politics; fears of a break down of law and order in Port Moresby; and the formulation of a massive five-year plan for economic growth.

The book also documents an increasingly vigorous internal debate on whether to hasten the tempo of political change in view of growing social strains in Papua New Guinea.
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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade