The absence of trust: Australian strategic thinking and PNG 1950-1975

The seminar will focus on Dr Bruce Hunt's recent monograph Australia's Northern Shield? Papua New Guinea and the Defence of Australia Since 1880 and his current project, writing an official history of the bilateral relationship from 1970 to Papua New Guinea's (PNG) Independence in September 1975 (part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's series Documents on Australian Foreign Policy). Dr Hunt will explain his use of cabinet notebooks in developing an understanding of government policy and decision-making in the period 1950 to 1975 and how these sources reveal the complexities and challenges for successive Australian governments as they sought to identify and implement policies for Australia's separation from PNG against an ever-narrowing timeline and deepening concerns about the future stability and unity of the territory. The study of the framework for Australia's future relationship with PNG is an opportunity to examine decision-making and the development of public policy in the foreign affairs and defence environment. 

Dr Bruce Hunt is a Research Fellow at the ANU School of History and the author of the recently published book 'Australia's Northern Shield? Papua New Guinea and the Defence of Australia Since 1880'. Hunt served in the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby in the mid-1980s and was twice Director of the PNG Section in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He completed his PhD on PNG in 2003. 

This seminar is presented as part of the Development Policy Centre's PNG Project, which receives funding from the Australian Aid Program through the Pacific Governance and Leadership Precinct.