Governor-General of Papua New Guinea

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Governor-General of Papua New Guinea
Gavena-Jeneral bilong Papua Niugini (Tok Pisin)
Incumbent
Sir Bob Dadae
since 28 February 2017
Viceroy
StyleHis Excellency Grand Chief
ResidenceGovernment House, Port Moresby
NominatorNational Parliament of Papua New Guinea
AppointerMonarch of Papua New Guinea
Term lengthSix years, renewable once (at parliamentary discretion)
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Papua New Guinea
Formation16 September 1975
First holderJohn Guise

The governor-general of Papua New Guinea (Tok Pisin: Gavena-Jeneral bilong Papua Niugini) is the representative of the Papua New Guinean monarch, currently King Charles III, in Papua New Guinea. The governor-general is appointed by the monarch after their nomination by the National Parliament by vote. The functions of the governor-general include appointing ministers, judges, and ambassadors; and issuing writs for election.

In general, the governor-general observes the conventions of the Westminster system and responsible government, maintaining a political neutrality, and has to always act only on the advice of the prime minister. The governor-general also has a ceremonial role: hosting events at the official residence—Government House in the capital, Port Moresby—and bestowing Papua New Guinean honours to individuals and groups who are contributing to their communities. When travelling abroad, the governor-general is seen as the representative of Papua New Guinea and its monarch. The governor-general is supported by a staff headed by the official secretary to the governor-general.

Governors-general are appointed for a six-year term of office. Since 28 February 2017, the governor-general has been Sir Bob Dadae.

The office of the governor-general was created on 16 September 1975, when Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia as a sovereign state and an independent constitutional monarchy. Since then, 10 individuals have served as governor-general.

Appointment[edit]

Unlike the governor-generals of most other Commonwealth realms, the governor-general of Papua New Guinea is nominated by the country's Parliament,[1] rather than being proposed by its prime minister. The appointment is made by the monarch of Papua New Guinea following a simple majority vote of the National Parliament. Section 88(1) of the constitution provides that the monarch must act "in accordance with the advice of the National Executive Council given in accordance with a decision of the Parliament", while section 88(2) provides that the nomination for governor-general must be "made by a simple majority vote, in an exhaustive secret ballot conducted in accordance with an Organic Law."[2]

The term in office is six years.[3]

To be appointed for a second term, the governor-general must be supported by a two-thirds majority in the National Parliament.[4] No person may serve for more than two terms.[4] Thus far all retired governors-general have been knighted.[5]

If the office of governor-general becomes vacant, due to death or dismissal, the speaker of the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea becomes acting governor-general until a new appointment is made. If the speakership is vacant, the chief justice instead assumes the role.[6]

Dismissal[edit]

The governor-general may be dismissed by either a decision of the National Executive Council or an absolute majority of the National Parliament.[7]

No governor-general has been dismissed from office, although in 1991, Sir Vincent Serei Eri resigned from office after Prime Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu advised the Queen to dismiss him.[8]

Functions[edit]

Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane (right) hosting New Zealand Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand at a State Dinner at Government House, 2009

Papua New Guinea shares the person of the sovereign equally with 14 other countries in the Commonwealth of Nations. As the sovereign works and resides predominantly outside of Papua New Guinea's borders, the governor-general's primary task is to perform the monarch's constitutional duties on his or her behalf. As such, the governor-general carries out his or her functions in the government of Papua New Guinea on behalf and in the name of the Sovereign.

The governor-general's powers and roles are derive from the Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea Part V Section 1, 2 & 3 and set out certain provisions relating to the governor-general.

Constitutional role[edit]

The governor-general is responsible for dissolving parliament and issues writs for new elections. After an election, the governor-general formally requests the leader of the political party which gains the support of a majority in parliament to form a government. the governor-general commissions the prime minister and appoints other ministers after the election.[9]

The governor-general acts on the advice of government ministers through the National Executive Council, to issue regulations, proclamations under existing laws, to appoint state judges, ambassadors and high commissioners to overseas countries, and other senior government officials.[9]

The governor-general is also responsible for issuing Royal Commissions of Inquiry, and other matters, as required by particular legislation; and authorises many other executive decisions by ministers such as approving treaties with foreign governments.[9]

The governor-general may, in certain circumstances, exercise without – or contrary to – ministerial advice. These are known as the reserve powers, and include:[9]

  • appointing a prime minister if an election has resulted in a 'hung parliament'.
  • dismissing the prime minister who has lost the confidence of the parliament.
  • dismissing any minister acting unlawfully.
  • refusing to dissolve Parliament despite a request from the prime minister.

Ceremonial role[edit]

Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio with President Mukherjee of India at Government House, 2016
Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae receiving credentials from Erin Elizabeth McKee, US ambassador to Papua New Guinea, 2019

The governor-general's ceremonial duties include opening new sessions of parliament by delivering the Speech from the Throne, welcoming visiting heads of state, and receiving the credentials of foreign diplomats.[9]

As Commander-in-Chief of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, the governor-general attends military parades and special occasions such as ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day, and presents Colours and other insignia to units of the Defence Force and the Police Force.[9]

The governor-general also presents honours at investitures under the Papua New Guinea Honours system to persons for notable service to the community, or for acts of bravery.[9]

Community role[edit]

Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane meeting the teams at a sport to raise awareness against HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea, 2005

The governor-general provides non-partisan leadership in the community, acting as patron of many charitable, service, sporting and cultural organisations, and attending functions throughout the country.[9]

The governor-general also encourages, articulates and represents those things that unite Papua New Guineans together. In this role, the governor-general:[9]

  • travels widely throughout Papua New Guinea visiting cities, regional centres, rural districts, indigenous communities and disadvantaged groups.
  • accepts patronage of many national, charitable, cultural, educational, sporting and professional organisations.
  • opens and participates in conferences where topics of national importance are discussed – such as educational, health, cultural, welfare, defence, economic and rural issues.
  • attends services, functions, commemorations and exhibitions of local significance, lending their encouragement to individuals and groups who are making a substantial contribution to their communities and to Papua New Guinea.
  • issues congratulatory messages to Papua New Guineans who achieve significant milestones in their lives such as 100th birthdays and 50th wedding anniversaries.

Privileges[edit]

The governor-general acts as the chancellor of the Orders of Papua New Guinea. As chancellor of the orders, the governor-general is appointed as Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu and bestowed the title of "Grand Chief".[10]

Symbols[edit]

Flag of the governor-general of Papua New Guinea

The governor-general uses a personal flag, which features a lion passant atop a St. Edward's royal crown with "Papua New Guinea" written across a scroll underneath, all on a blue background. It is flown on buildings and other locations in Papua New Guinea to mark the governor-general's presence.

Residence[edit]

Government House in Port Moresby, early 1900s, before Australia took administration of British New Guinea and changed its name to Papua

Government House in Port Moresby is the official residence of the governor-general of Papua New Guinea.[11]

The site for Government House was chosen by Sir Peter Scratchely, Special Commissioner for the Protectorate of British New Guinea, who arrived in Port Moresby in 1885. Government House has occupied this site ever since. In 1913, Sir Hubert Murray took the task of building a new House which superseded the original one.[11]

List of governors-general[edit]

Following is a list of people who have served as Governor-General of Papua New Guinea since independence in 1975.

Symbols

^† Died in office.
  Denotes Acting Governors-General
No. Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Monarch
(Reign)
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Sir John Guise
(1914–1991)
16 September
1975
1 March
1977
1 year, 166 days
Elizabeth II

(1975–2022)
2 Sir Tore Lokoloko
(1930–2013)
1 March
1977
1 March
1983
6 years
3 Sir Kingsford Dibela
(1932–2002)
1 March
1983
1 March
1989
6 years
4 Sir Ignatius Kilage
(1941–1989)
1 March
1989
31 December
1989[†]
305 days
Dennis Young
(1936–2008)
31 December
1989
27 February
1990
58 days
5 Sir Vincent Eri
(1936–1993)
27 February
1990
4 October
1991
1 year, 219 days
Dennis Young
(1936–2008)
4 October
1991
18 November
1991
45 days
6 Sir Wiwa Korowi
(born 1948)
18 November
1991
20 November
1997
6 years, 2 days
7 Sir Silas Atopare
(1951–2021)
20 November
1997
20 November
2003
6 years
Bill Skate
(1953–2006)
21 November
2003
28 May
2004
189 days
Jeffery Nape
(1964–2016)
28 May
2004
29 June
2004
32 days
8 Sir Paulias Matane
(1931–2021)
29 June
2004
13 December
2010
6 years, 167 days
Jeffery Nape
(1964–2016)
13 December
2010
25 February
2011
74 days
9 Sir Michael Ogio
(1942–2017)
25 February
2011
18 February
2017[†]
5 years, 359 days
Theo Zurenuoc
(born 1965)
18 February
2017
28 February
2017
10 days
10 Sir Bob Dadae
(born 1961)
28 February
2017
Incumbent 7 years, 3 days

Charles III

(2022–present)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Part V" . Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, section 88 – via Wikisource.
  2. ^ "Part V" . Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, sections 88 – via Wikisource.
  3. ^ "Part V" . Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, section 91 – via Wikisource.
  4. ^ a b "Part V" . Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, section 87(c) – via Wikisource.
  5. ^ The Governor General
  6. ^ "Part V" . Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, section 95 – via Wikisource.
  7. ^ "Part V" . Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, section 93 – via Wikisource.
  8. ^ The Americana Annual 1992: An Encyclopedia of the Events of 1991, Yearbook of the Encyclopedia Americana, Grolier Incorporated, 1992, p. 580
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Roles
  10. ^ The Order of PNG
  11. ^ a b The Residence