43rd Independence Reflection by Dame Meg Taylor

Happy 43rd Independence PNG! On this day we reflect on the wise words of our Patron and senior states woman Dame Meg Taylor who presented at the Inaugural Nation Builders Conference:

The term “Nation Building” (or working together to strengthen our national identity, or sense of belonging in our country) inspires us to think of our collective vision, leadership, people, government, politics, economy, laws and institutions. I want us to particularly think about people, the ordinary person and what role they play in Nation Building. I want us to think about social, political and economic structures, and traditional and current systems and processes.

I want us to reflect on culture, obligations and demands. I want us to think about our history, about our transition to self-government and Independence, and our Constitution. I want us to think about those who had a vision at that time… those who created our modern history – not only the names of the political leaders but our philosophers, and writers, and poets, and artists. Names of leaders in your villages and in your communities. Nation Building does not belong only to political leadership. It belongs to people who live each day with hope and anticipation of a better future, and whose authority and voice is reflected through the ballot box with the right to vote. I want us to ponder on the Assembly during the period of Self Government and prior to Independence.

What we endeavour to create as a Nation are public institutions, systems and processes that are founded on our collective ideals and values – a representative and accountable system of governance. Thus, we strive for a basic system that is founded on an elected Legislature; a fair and impartial Judiciary; an Executive that provides effective and responsive State Services; and fundamental constitutional institutions that protects the rights of citizens. We strive for legal frameworks and processes that allow these institutions to function with independence, clarity and reliability in service delivery to its citizens, and in needing to be diligent in their operations with the knowledge of being ultimately accountable to the people.

Future generations will no doubt continue to refine our governance system. The challenge is what our generation accepts (or considers) as appropriate governance for now.

How do we govern ourselves in such a way that it is compatible with our collective aspirations, culture, and social values, while at the same time ensuring sustainable development for our country? How do we ensure that state resources and services are delivered equitably, and reaches all our citizens? As our Nation develops, what are the institutions and processes required of governance that will thrive and provide the safety net for our people? In considering these questions, it is vital that we do not limit ourselves to technical issues that looks only at our political system, public institutions, and legislative processes. In addition to our political architecture, we must also consider our expectations of our Leaders, public officials, and of the public at large, and how we can improve that way we interact and work with one another “


Video from University of Goroka students, University of Technology and Lutheran School of Nursing, Madang. 

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