On 23 November 2019, an unprecedented referendum will take place in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, the culmination of more than 20 years of work towards peace. Bougainvilleans will be asked whether they wish to remain an integral part of Papua New Guinea, but with enhanced autonomy, or to become an independent nation. There are great uncertainties about the referendum, the period immediately following the referendum and what kind of future may await Papua New Guineans and Bougainvilleans, whatever the result may be.
In this symposium we will hear from players in the political and legal processes that have led to the referendum, as well as influential community voices. These speakers will be joined by some of Australia's leading authorities on Bougainville politics and society.
The symposium will engage with key questions such as:
- What is the current state of play in the lead up to the referendum?
- What are the expectations and concerns of the Papua New Guinean government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government?
- Views from Bougainville civil society: what challenges and opportunities do the referendum pose?
- How has Papua New Guinea approached the issue of Bougainvillean independence aspirations?
- What are the implications of independence or enhanced autonomy, for Papua New Guinea and for Bougainville?
The event will also see the launch of two publications:
- A new publication by DPA's Anthony Regan: The Bougainville Referendum: Law, Administration and Politics
- A new book by DPA's Kerryn Baker: Pacific Women in Politics: Gender Quota Campaigns in the Pacific Islands
The final event program can be found here.
This activity was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Pacific Research Program.