Dr Bal Kama

PhD Candidate
LLB (Hons), BA (International Relations & Politics), (UC), Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (College of Law, Sydney), Admission ACT Supreme Court
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Dr Bal Kama has a PhD in Law – specialising in constitutional law – from The Australian National University College of Law. His thesis examined the role of the judiciary and its complex relationships with the other arms of government in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The thesis, among other findings, argued for a reconceptualisation of the doctrine of separation of powers under the PNG Constitution from the traditional tripartite to a quadripartite system.

Dr Kama also holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations) from the University of Canberra and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the College of Law. He specialises in public and constitutional law and governance in the Pacific, and currently works as a lawyer in Canberra. He is also a sessional academic at the University of Canberra Law School and a Commonwealth Pacific Young Person of the Year.

Prior to undertaking his PhD studies, Bal was engaged as a consultant with the United Nations Women (PNG) to assist in designing an action plan for the United Nations Gender Task Team (UNGTT) in response to sorcery-related violence in Papua New Guinea.

Bal represented PNG at the 2016 One Young World meeting in Canada and was nominated as one of the 17 Young Leaders leading the 17 UN SDGs. He is a recipient of the Commonwealth Pacific Young Person of the Year award (UK), which gave him the privilege to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in England. Bal was the Pacific representative at the 2017 UNLeash Global Talent in Denmark and is the Director of the Kama Foundation, a community NGO operating in remote PNG villages.

Bal writes for Australia's leading international think tanks and occasionally comments in the media on issues in the Pacific region including bilateral engagements with regional partners. 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 recognition of his contribution to the community.


Unit Convenor and Sessional Lecturer, University of Canberra 2016

Significant research publications

Recent news

Dr Bal Kama
From the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea to the heights of legal academia, Dr Bal Kama's scholarly success has been shaped by his determination to overcome challenges and deep commitment to the Pacific.
Bal Kama standing in front of a wattle tree
Researching relationship between PNG's judiciary and parliament
Stained Glass Painting
Samoa is in the process of amending its Constitution to declare itself as a Christian country. Bal Kama examines the consequences of this blurring of church and state.
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.

Please note, only a small selection of recent publications and activities are listed below.


  • Lowy Institute (Sydney) and Exxon Mobil, US-Papua New Guinea (2017)
  • Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC), Papua New Guinea (2015)
  • United Nations Women (UN Women), Papua New Guinea (2013)

Conference papers & presentations

  • 'Rethinking the doctrine of Separation of Powers in Pacific Island states: A Papua New Guinea study,' 2nd Pacific Constitutions Research Conference 05-07 December 2017, Port Villa Vanuatu
  • 'Papua New Guinea's State of Affairs and Future Strategic Direction,' Future Strategic Leaders Congress: Shaping the future security of the region: avenues to strengthen PNG-Australia relations, Institute for Regional Security 27-29 October 2017, ANU Kiola Coastal Campus NSW
  • 'The Role of the Courts in Political Stability: A case study of Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea,' Pacific Constitutions Research Network Conference, 23-25 November 2016, Port Villa, Vanuatu.
  • 'How Have Judicial Decisions Impacted the State of Democracy in Papua New Guinea?', State of the Pacific Conference, Australian National University, 13-15 September 2016, Canberra.
  • '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, Canberra.
  • '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, 05 March 2014, Canberra.
  • '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.

Commissioned reports


External Organisations


Past courses

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

2016-2017- Unit Convenor, Sessional Lecturer and Tutor: University of Canberra

  • Justice Administration and the Constitution
  • Legal Systems

2016 - Tutor at ANU College of Law

  • Contracts Law


How has the expansive powers of the Papua New Guinea judiciary impact on the relationships between the arms of government?


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Primary supervisor

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team