The Papua New Guinea national elections, due in June this year, promise to be momentous. Like many democracies, the people have always looked forward to the opportunity of choosing their political leaders through a process of free and fair elections.
Bal Kama began his PhD studies at the Australian National University College of Law in 2014. His dissertation seeks to examine the relationship between the judiciary and the parliament under the Papua New Guinea Constitution.
Bal was admitted as a solicitor in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) after completing his Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the Sydney College of Law. Bal graduated from University of Canberra in 2012 with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations and International Studies). The findings from his Honours thesis – on the 2011-2012 constitutional crisis in Papua New Guinea – were presented to the Australian Law Council.
In 2013, Bal was engaged as a consultant with the United Nations Women in Papua New Guinea to assist in designing an action plan for the United Nations Gender Task Team (UNGTT) in response to sorcery related violence. UNGTT is a multi-agency UN task force formed to address gender issues in Papua New Guinea. Bal worked as a paralegal with the Aboriginal Legal Service ACT-NSW and Ashurst Sydney, and currently teaches at the ANU College of Law and the University of Canberra Faculty of Business, Government and Law.
Bal writes for Australia's leading international think tank, The Lowy Institute, and Canberra-based Development Policy Centre on issues in the Pacific region. Bal is also the Founder and Director of Kama Scholars Foundation (KSF), a community-based scholarship and mentoring program for village students and youths in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. He was awarded the 2016 Commonwealth Pacific Young Person of the Year, an award that gave Bal the privilege to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in England.
Bal is a founding member of the Commonwealth Youth Health Network (CYHN) at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London and a recipient of the University of Canberra Distinguished Alumni Commendation Award in 2013 in recognition of his contribution to the community.
Unit Convenor and Lecturer, University of Canberra 2016
Significant research publications
A letter to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on the morning of 16 June 2014 started off what would become the most controversial anti-corruption story in the history of Papua New Guinea.
In less than 24 hours, Papua New Guineans will know the fate of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill when the national parliament sits for a vote of no-confidence. Bal Kama explores the three possible scenarios.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill reminded Papua New Guineans in his New Year’s address that PNG ‘is a place of great opportunity, that also carries with it great responsibility’ writes ANU Law PhD student Bal Kama.
In the Media
Please note, only a small selection of recent publications and activities are listed below.
Research projects & collaborations
- United Nations Women (UN Women), Papua New Guinea (2013)
Books & edited collections
Refereed journal articles
Conference papers & presentations
- 'The Manus Island Decision: Adjudicating Australia’s Role in the Detention of Asylum Seekers
in the Pacific,' 24th Australia-New Zealand Society of International Law Conference, Canberra, 30 June - 02 July 2016
- 'PNG's Changing Legal Culture: the 'Innocent until proven guilty' syndrome," State of the Pacific Conference, Australian National University, 07-09 September 2015.
- 'An activist judiciary in a transformative constitution – a necessity or nuisance? the Papua New Guinea experience,' Research in Progress Seminar, Australian National University College of Law, 09 July 2015.
- '"The last bastion of hope:" Judicial Independence in Papua New Guinea,' International Workshop on Informal Networks in Non-western Judiciaries, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra 26-27 March 2015.
- 'The Corruption Allegations against the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea: A Case Review,' Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra 05 March 201.
- 'Rule of Law on an Island of Treasures: A Neccesity or Nuisance?' 4th Alfred Deakin Institute PNG Symposium, Port Moresby, 15 September 2014.
- 'Separation of Powers in an Autochthonous Constitution,' Pacific Research Colloquium, State Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM), Australiana National University, January 2013.
- 'PNG's Historic Constitutional Crisis:The Making of Two Governments,' Law Council of Australia, Sydney, December 2012.
Case notes & book reviews
- Bal Kama, 'Students against PNG's Prime Minister: A bloody struggle' (16 June 2016), The Interpreter, Lowy Institute Sydney http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2016/06/16/Students-against-PNG-Prime-Minister-A-bloody-struggle.aspx
- Bal Kama,'Standoff in PNG: Students take on PM Peter O'Neill' (17 May 2016) Lowy Institute Interpreter, Sydney http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2016/05/17/Standoff-in-PNG-Students-take-on-PM-Peter-ONeill.aspx
- Bal Kama, 'PNG Supreme Court ruling on Manus Island detention centre' DevPolicy Blog, Australian National University Development Policy Centre (27 April 2016) http://devpolicy.org/png-supreme-court-ruling-manus-island-detention-centre-20160427/
- Bal Kama, 'PNG in 2016: the year of finding solutions?' DevPolicy Blog, Australian National University Development Policy Centre (14 January 2016) http://devpolicy.org/png-in-2016-the-year-of-finding-solutions-20160114/
- Bal Kama, 'The Supreme Court’s ‘vote of no confidence’ decision: game on in Waigani,' DevPolicy Blog, Australian National University Development Policy Centre (12 October 2015) http://devpolicy.org/the-supreme-courts-vote-of-no-confidence-decision-game-on-in-waigani-20151012/
- Bal Kama, 'Rape allegations at Manus Island challenge Australia’s commitment to the rule of law,' DevPolicy Blog, Australian National University Development Policy Centre (31 July 2015) http://devpolicy.org/rape-allegations-at-manus-island-challenge-australias-commitment-to-rule-of-law-20150731/
- Bal Kama, 'Pacific Spy: Allegations and Implications,' DevPolicy Blog, Australian National University Development Policy Centre (15 April 2015) http://devpolicy.org/pacific-spying-allegations-and-implications-20150415/
- Bal Kama, 'PNG in 2015: The Year of the State of Emergency?' DevPolicy Blog, Australian National University Development Policy Centre (23 January 2015) http://devpolicy.org/png-in-2015-the-year-of-the-state-of-emergency-20150123/
- Bal Kama, 'A fight to the very last breath" - a review of court decisions in the case of PNG PM's corruption allegation,' South Pacific Lawyers Association new SPLAsh Issue 10 (September, 2014), pp 10-16
- Bal Kama, 'Allegations at Manus Island Challenges Australia's Committment to the Rule of Law,' South Pacific Lawyers Association new SPLAsh Issue 12 (September, 2015), pp 10-11
- Bal Kama, 'Some clarification from the courts in PNG PM's 'fight to the very last breath - part two' Devpolicy Blog, Australian National University Development Policy Centre (07 November 2014) http://devpolicy.org/some-clarification-from-the-courts-in-papua-new-guinea-pms-fight-to-the-very-last-breath-part-two-20141107-2/
- Bal Kama, 'A fight to the very last breath" - a review of court decisions in the case of PNG PM's corruption allegation,' South Pacific Lawyers Association new SPLAsh Issue 10 (September, 2014), pp 10-16 http://www.southpacificlawyers.org/files/uploads/newSPLAsh%20Issue%2010_FINAL%20web.pdf
- Bal Kama, 'Some clarification from the courts in PNG PM's 'fight to the very last breath,' Devpolicy Blog, Australian National University Development Policy Centre (04 July 2014) <http://devpolicy.org/some-clarification-from-the-courts-in-png-pms-fight-to-the-very-last-breath-20140704-2/>;
- Republished: Australia-PNG Association, Lowy Institute for International Policy (Sydney) http://auspng.lowyinstitute.org/publications/devpolicy-blog-some-clarification-courts-png-pms-fight-very-last-breath;
- Bal Kama, ‘PNG Ombudsman Commission: can the watchdog bite?’ Devpolicy Blog, Australian National University Development Policy Centre (17 June 2014) <http://devpolicy.org/png-ombudsman-commission-can-the-watchdog-bite-20140617/>;
- Republished: Australia-PNG Association, Lowy Institute for International Policy (Sydney) http://auspng.lowyinstitute.org/publications/png-ombudsman-commission-can-watchdog-bite;
- Bal Kama, ‘A victory over corruption in Papua New Guinea,’ The Interpreter, Lowy Institute Sydney (04 April 2014) http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2014/04/04/A-victory-over-corruption-in-PNG-paul-tiensten.aspx?COLLCC=256754020&;
- Republished: South Pacific Lawyers Association (Fiji) http://www.southpacificlawyers.org/victory-over-corruption-png;
- Bal Kama, ‘Australia turns a blind eye to disruption of rule of law in Nauru thanks to asylum seeker politics,’ Pacific Media Centre, Auckland University of Technology (22 March 2014) http://www.pmc.aut.ac.nz/articles/australia-turns-blind-eye-disruption-rule-law-nauru-thanks-detention-centre;
- Bal Kama, ‘Nauru rule of law case and the implication for the Pacific,’ Outrigger: Blog of the Pacific Institute, Australian National University (21 March 2014) http://pacificinstitute.anu.edu.au/outrigger/2014/03/21/australias-blind-eye-while-rule-of-law-under-siege-in-the-pacific/;
- Republished: PNG Attitude (Qld) http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2014/03/australias-blind-eye-while-rule-of-law-under-siege-in-the-pacific.html;
- Republished: New Zealand LiveNews (NZ) http://livenews.co.nz/2014/03/22/australia-turns-blind-eye-to-disruption-of-rule-of-law-on-nauru-thanks-to-asylum-seeker-politics/;
- Republished: South Pacific Lawyers Association (Fiji) http://www.southpacificlawyers.org/australias-blind-eye-while-rule-law-under-siege-pacific;
Tutored the following units at the University of Canberra Faculty of Business, Government and Law (2013 - 2015):
- Constitutional Law
- Therapeutic Jurisprudence
- Introduction to Criminology
- Legal Systems
- Justice Policy and Community Engagement
- Law and Society
2016 - Unit Convenor and Lecturer: University of Canberra
- Justice Administration and the Constitution
2016 - Tutor at ANU College of Law
- Contracts Law
SECURING AN ACTIVIST JUDICIARY IN A TRANSFORMATIVE CONSTITUTION
Does the activist role of the judiciary under the PNG Constitution, designed to be transformational, set up unworkable tension between the judiciary and other arms of government?