Papua New Guinea House of Assembly and Legislative Council

In November 1951 the colonial Administration established a Legislative Council of 25 appointed European members (public servants, planters, businessmen and missionaries) and three appointed PNGan members. The Council was restructured in 1961 to include more PNGan members. The PNGan members took little part in debate or decision making. The Council had very limited power and influence.

In June 1964 the Council was replaced by a House of Assembly which had a majority of members elected from 69 open and 15 regional electorates. Open electorates covered fairly small local areas. Regional electorates were based on Administration districts. Members and ministers were appointed by the Administrator (the head of the colonial Administration who was appointed by the Australian government). Assembly legislation required the approval of the Administrator. In 1968 the second House of Assembly elections attracted 484 candidates, some of whom were attached to one of the six recently formed political parties. They were mainly younger and better educated than those in the first House of Assembly, and among them were the group which led the country to self-government and Independence. In 1964 and 1968 the Administration organized programs to train members in parliamentary procedures. In the period leading to Independence in 1975 the Assembly formulated the Constitution and gradually took over the reins of government. At Independence the House of Assembly became the National Parliament.