Paul Hasluck

Paul Meernaa Caedwalla Hasluck (1905-1993), Australian politician, cabinet minister, writer and Governor-General. Educated at Perth Modern School and the University of Western Australia Hasluck became a journalist and university lecturer before joining the Department of External Affairs. In 1949 he entered the Australian parliament to represent the seat of Curtin in WA. He held the portfolios of Territories (1951-63), Defence (1963-64), and External Affairs (1964-69). Hasluck regarded PNG as a multi-racial society in which political development would take generations. He did not believe that there was a need for rapid expansion of secondary and higher education to produce an educated elite to prepare for independence.

Hasluck was politically conservative but his paternalist policies were regarded by many in the white expatriate community as being too “pro-native”. In 1956 an enquiry (which he organized) into the adequacy of the minimum wage led to a substantial wage increase. He introduced an Industrial Relations Ordinance and an Industrial Organisations Ordinance to assist the fledgling trade union movement. In 1960 he reported to the Australian Cabinet that PNGans needed to be provided with economic opportunities. From 1969-74 Hasluck was Governor-General of Australia. His published works include Australia’s Task in Papua and New Guinea, Black Australians, two volumes of The Government and the People, for 1939-1 and 1942-45, in the official history Australia in the War of 1939-1945 and A Time for Building.

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