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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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 attained a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations and Politics) from the University of Canberra. The findings from his Honours thesis – on the 2011-2012 constitutional crisis in Papua New Guinea – were presented to the Australian Law Council.

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 is currently a sessional lecturer at 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 and is often invited by Australian media to comment on Pacific issues. 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 Sessional Lecturer, University of Canberra 2016

Significant research publications

Recent news

Peter O'Neill, Port Moresby, 2013 (Commonwealth Secretariat/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Papua New Guinea enters its 2017 national election at the back of one of the most contentious periods of its democracy. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s reign began unexpectedly in August 2011 after the then Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare was ousted by the PNG parliament following his long absence from the country due to illness.
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.
A highlander sports Hela's new flag during the 2012 elections (Flickr/Commonwealth Secretariat/Treva Braun CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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.
Swept (Flickr/David Goehring CC BY 2.0)
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 the Media

Bal Kama cited in The Washington Post
Bal Kama writes in Australian Institute of International Affairs
Bal Kama quoted in The Washington Post

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

Research projects & collaborations





  • 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)

Books & edited collections


Book chapters


Refereed journal articles


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

Government submissions



External Organisations

Internal ANU Committees


Case notes & book reviews



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)

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