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Papua New Guinea Law

The Constitution

On 15 August 1975, the Constitution was adopted by the House of Assembly, followed by the transfer of power over foreign affairs and defence from the Australian government to the Papua New Guinean government. The Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea entered into force on September 16 1975.

The Constitution has been amended at least 43 times - the latest was in 2016 – the Constitutional Amendment No. 43 (Dual Citizenship) Law 2016.

Beware: the Constitution available on the PNG Parliament website only includes amendments to 2006 (Constitutional Amendment No 22: Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates), so is very out of date. The Constitution available on PacLII is even older. Use such versions with caution. Oxford Constitutions of the World (UniMelb staff & student access) includes an unofficial consolidation of the Constitution as amended up to the latest amendment in 2016. 

Organic laws also have the status of constitutional laws. The Constitution provides in s 11 that the Constitution and Organic Laws are the supreme law. Organic Laws are defined in s 12 as laws made by Parliament that are:

‘(a) for or in the respect of a matter provision for which by way of an Organic Law is authorized by this Constitution; and

(b) not inconsistent with this Constitution; and

(c) expressed to be an Organic Law’.

An Organic Law may be altered only by another Organic Law, or by an alteration to the Constitution. 

The Constitution