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Thursday 24 Aug 2017 | 18:59 | SYDNEY
Thursday 24 Aug 2017 | 18:59 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: More on PNG's constitution



21 December 2011 16:23

Andrew Farran responds to John Ballard:

All very well to say that the PNG Constitution was home-grown but it was not developed in a vacuum and the hand of Australian lawyers is apparent.

It is accepted that there was much concern at the time that fractious tribalism could make political dealing so intense as to imperil smooth parliamentary processes and cause minority interests to be trampled on. In principle Australia as the colonial power wished to bestow the best legacy it could, namely the Westminster system, though appreciating that it does not transpose well to all cultures. So safeguards were required.

The point, in retrospect, is that these safeguards were so prescriptive and in many respects so convoluted that they lost sight of their transcending purpose — clear and practical effectiveness. Hence what occurred recently was an event waiting to happen, where both the Supreme Court and the Governor-General were either confused or found ways to creep through the cracks. There is an expression that the devil may be in the detail. It certainly is with PNG's constitution.

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