Papua New Guinea 1975 Constitution (reviewed 2016)

Table of Contents



By authority of our inherent right as ancient, free and independent peoples

WE, THE PEOPLE, do now establish this sovereign nation and declare ourselves, under the guiding hand of God, to be the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

AND WE ASSERT, by virtue of that authority

  • that all power belongs to the people acting through their duly elected representatives
    that respect for the dignity of the individual and community interdependence are basic principles of our society

    that we guard with our lives our national identity, integrity and self respect

    that we reject violence and seek consensus as a means of solving our common problems

    that our national wealth, won by honest, hard work be equitably shared by all.


that we, having resolved to enact a Constitution for the Independent State of Papua New Guinea

AND ACTING through our Constituent Assembly on 15 August 1975,

HEREBY ESTABLISH, ADOPT and GIVE TO OURSELVES this Constitution to come into effect on Independence Day, that is 16 September 1975


National Goals and Directive Principles.

WE HEREBY PROCLAIM the following aims as our National Goals, and direct all persons and bodies, corporate and unincorporate, to be guided by these our declared Directives in pursuing and achieving our aims:-


We declare our first goal to be for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others.


  1. everyone to be involved in our endeavours to achieve integral human development of the whole person for every person and to seek fulfilment through his or her contribution to the common good; and
  2. education to be based on mutual respect and dialogue, and to promote awareness of our human potential and motivation to achieve our National Goals through self-reliant effort; and
  3. all forms of beneficial creativity, including sciences and cultures, to be actively encouraged; and
  4. improvement in the level of nutrition and the standard of public health to enable our people to attain self fulfilment; and
  5. the family unit to be recognized as the fundamental basis of our society, and for every step to be taken to promote the moral, cultural, economic and social standing of the Melanesian family; and
  6. development to take place primarily through the use of Papua New Guinean forms of social and political organization.


We declare our second goal to be for all citizens to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the development of our country.


  1. an equal opportunity for every citizen to take part in the political, economic, social, religious and cultural life of the country; and
  2. the creation of political structures that will enable effective, meaningful participation by our people in that life, and in view of the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of our people for those structures to provide for substantial decentralization of all forms of government activity; and
  3. every effort to be made to achieve an equitable distribution of incomes and other benefits of development among individuals and throughout the various parts of the country; and
  4. equalization of services in all parts of the country, and for every citizen to have equal access to legal processes and all services, governmental and otherwise, that are required for the fulfilment of his or her real needs and aspirations; and
  5. equal participation by women citizens in all political, economic, social and religious activities; and
  6. the maximization of the number of citizens participating in every aspect of development; and
  7. active steps to be taken to facilitate the organization and legal recognition of all groups engaging in development activities; and
  8. means to be provided to ensure that any citizen can exercise his personal creativity and enterprise in pursuit of fulfilment that is consistent with the common good, and for no citizen to be deprived of this opportunity because of the predominant position of another; and
  9. every citizen to be able to participate, either directly or through a representative, in the consideration of any matter affecting his interests or the interests of his community; and
  10. all persons and governmental bodies of Papua New Guinea to ensure that, as far as possible, political and official bodies are so composed as to be broadly representative of citizens from the various areas of the country; and
  11. all persons and governmental bodies to endeavour to achieve universal literacy in Pisin, Hiri Motu or English, and in “tok ples” or “ita eda tano gado”; and
  12. recognition of the principles that a complete relationship in marriage rests on equality of rights and duties of the partners, and that responsible parenthood is based on that equality.


We declare our third goal to be for Papua New Guinea to be politically and economically independent, and our economy basically self-reliant.


  1. our leaders to be committed to these National Goals and Directive Principles, to ensure that their freedom to make decisions is not restricted by obligations to or relationship with others, and to make all of their decisions in the national interest; and
  2. all governmental bodies to base their planning for political, economic and social development on these Goals and Principles; and
  3. internal interdependence and solidarity among citizens, and between provinces, to be actively promoted; and
  4. citizens and governmental bodies to have control of the bulk of economic enterprise and production; and
  5. strict control of foreign investment capital and wise assessment of foreign ideas and values so that these will be subordinate to the goal of national sovereignty and self-reliance, and in particular for the entry of foreign capital to be geared to internal social and economic policies and to the integrity of the Nation and the People; and
  6. the State to take effective measures to control and actively participate in the national economy, and in particular to control major enterprises engaged in the exploitation of natural resources; and
  7. economic development to take place primarily by the use of skills and resources available in the country either from citizens or the State and not in dependence on imported skills and resources; and
  8. the constant recognition of our sovereignty which must not be undermined by dependence on foreign assistance of any sort, and in particular for no investment, military or foreign-aid agreement or understanding to be entered into that imperils our self-reliance and self-respect, or our commitment to these National Goals and Directive Principles, or that may lead to substantial dependence upon or influence by any country, investor, lender or donor.


We declare our fourth goal to be for Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of us all and be replenished for the benefit of future generations.


  1. wise use to be made of our natural resources and the environment in and on the land or seabed, in the sea, under the land, and in the air, in the interests of our development and in trust for future generations; and
  2. the conservation and replenishment, for the benefit of ourselves and posterity, of the environment and its sacred, scenic, and historical qualities; and
  3. all necessary steps to be taken to give adequate protection to our valued birds, animals, fish, insects, plants and trees.


We declare our fifth goal to be to achieve development primarily through the use of Papua New Guinean forms of social, political and economic organizations.


  1. a fundamental re-orientation of our attitudes and the institutions of government, commerce, education and religion towards Papua New Guinean forms of participation, consultation, and consensus, and a continuous renewal of the responsiveness of these institutions to the needs and attitudes of the People; and
  2. particular emphasis in our economic development to be placed on small-scale artisan, service and business activity; and
  3. recognition that the cultural, commercial and ethnic diversity of our people is positive strength, and for the fostering of a respect for, and appreciation of, traditional ways of life and culture, including language, in all their richness and variety, as well as for a willingness to apply these ways dynamically and creatively for the tasks of development; and
  4. traditional villages and communities to remain as viable units of Papua New Guinean society, and for active steps to be taken to improve their cultural, social, economic and ethical quality.

Basic Rights

WE HEREBY ACKNOWLEDGE that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on noncitizens, all persons in our country are entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever their race, tribe, places of origin, political opinion, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the legitimate public interest, to each of the following:-

  1. life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law; and
  2. the right to take part in political activities; and
  3. freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour; and
  4. freedom of conscience, of expression, of information and of assembly and association; and
  5. freedom of employment and freedom of movement; and
  6. protection for the privacy of their homes and other property and from unjust deprivation of property,

and have accordingly included in this Constitution provisions designed to afford protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations on that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations primarily designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the acknowledged rights and freedoms by an individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the legitimate public interest.

Basic Social Obligations

WE HEREBY DECLARE that all persons in our country have the following basic obligations to themselves and their descendants, to each other, and to the Nation:-

  1. to respect, and to act in the spirit of, this Constitution; and
  2. to recognize that they can fully develop their capabilities and advance their true interests only by active participation in the development of the national community as a whole; and
  3. to exercise the rights guaranteed or conferred by this Constitution, and to use the opportunities made available to them under it to participate fully in the government of the Nation; and
  4. to protect Papua New Guinea and to safeguard the national wealth, resources and environment in the interests not only of the present generation but also of future generations; and
  5. to work according to their talents in socially useful employment, and if necessary to create for themselves legitimate opportunities for such employment; and
  6. to respect the rights and freedoms of others, and to co-operate fully with others in the interests of interdependence and solidarity; and
  7. to contribute, as required by law, according to their means to the revenues required for the advancement of the Nation and the purposes of Papua New Guinea; and
  8. in the case of parents, to support, assist and educate their children (whether born in or out of wedlock), and in particular to give them a true understanding of their basic rights and obligations and of the National Goals and Directive Principles; and
  9. in the case of the children, to respect their parents.

IN ADDITION, WE HEREBY DECLARE that all citizens have an obligation to themselves and their descendants, to each other and to the Nation to use profits from economic activities in the advancement of our country and our people, and that the law may impose a similar obligation on non-citizens carrying on economic activities in or from our country.

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