The Constitution

Since 'Independence' in 1975 Papua New Guinea has become dominated by a foreign and imposed model of development based on unrestrained capitalism. This is a far cry from what was envisaged in our Constitution - as revealed in ACT NOW!'s analysis of Vision 2050.

Papua New Guinea's written Constitution is our Supreme Law, and it touches on almost every aspect of public life. It is both a political statement and a legal document and it sets out Papua New Guinea's National Goals, the rights and freedoms of every citizen, and the principles on which our system of government operates. 

The five National Goals and the accompanying Directive Principles are supposed to define the Model of Development for Papua New Guinea.

Our National Goals are:

  • Integral human development and freedom from every form of oppression
  • Equality and equal participation
  • National sovereignty and self-reliance
  • Wise us of natural resources and the environment for current and future generations
  • Reliance on the use of of Papua New Guinean forms of social, political and ecomomic organisation

Over the years, successive governments have failed to use these principles to guide our country's development. Instead we have seen the increasing domination of an economic model based on large-scale resource extraction and exploitation of natural resources; dependency on large foreign-owned corporations; land alienation; export revenues; promotion of the individual and self rather than community; dependency on money; and employment in the 'formal economy'. The result has been devastating social, environmental and economic consequences for local people and most Papua New Guineans are still denied access to basic services.

This current development model has been imposed on Papua New Guinea from outside and has been adopted and is endorsed by unthinking politicians and many bureaucrats. This is despite the fact the model is in total contradiction to our Nations Constitution and our National Goals and Development Policies.

Papua New Guinea is now at a critical point in its history, and enormous internal and external pressures mean that choices that are being made today will determine the future of the nation, its people and their natural environment for many generations.

Unfortunately, the country is crippled by corruption and self-interest and the government consistently puts the profits of foreign multi-national corporations ahead of the interests of its own people. As a result wise decisions are not being made and at the same time foreign companies are ignoring the rights and interests of local people and destroying the environment as they rip out our natural resources.

PNG Parliament continues to fail to function as a proper organ of the State. There is no accountability for poor performance or corruption and most of our resource wealth is shipped of shore while people remain without access to basic services.

The ACT NOW! is campaigning to promote a better model of development based on our National Goals.