Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea

The Constitution, which was adopted in August 1975, immediately prior to Independence, sets the national goals as: integral human development; equality and participation in development; national sovereignty and self-reliance; and conservation of natural resources and the environment. The Constitution guarantees the right of freedom from inhuman treatment, forced labor, arbitrary search and entry, conscience, thought, religion, expression, assembly and privacy. These rights apply to people whatever their race, tribe, place of origin, political opinion, color, creed or sex. The Head of State is the monarch of Great Britain, represented by the Governor-General, who appoints and dismisses the Prime Minister on the proposal of the national parliament, and other Ministers on the proposal of the Prime Minister. The Governor-General is appointed on the proposal of the National Executive Council (cabinet). The Constitution also provides for a national parliament, a National Executive Council, an independent judicial system, a public service, police force and defense force.

In 1991 the Constitution was amended to increase from 6 to 18 months the grace period of immunity from votes of no confidence allowed to an incoming government. In September 1993 Prime Minister Wingti proposed that the Constitution be amended to reverse the legal convention of a person being considered innocent until proved guilty and introduce compulsory identification cards. These proposals met with strong resistance from church and community groups and students and were, at least temporarily, shelved.