The first House of Assembly, which had been elected earlier in the year, met from 8 June 1964. Upon his return from Port Moresby late in June, I interviewed the Member for Gumine, former kiap Graham Pople, about his impressions for the Kundiawa News of 10 July….
News – In your opinion was the first sitting of the House of Assembly a success.
Pople – Yes. Initially I was under the impression that many of the Members would be shy and that the first few sittings would be very quiet. However this was not so and many of the members revealed themselves to be accomplished speakers.
News – Were there any faults that you would like to see corrected at the nexy session/
Pople – I feel that the Standing Orders as at present adopted are too cumbersome and complicated for a House such as ours. However a Committee on Standing Orders has been appointed and their task will be to review these. I feel sure that there will be considerable change over the next few years and that a less complicated set of Standing Orders will be evolved.
News – Was there any cohesion in policy between the MHAs from the Chimbu Division – Waiye, Siwi, Yauwe and yourself?
Pople – Yes, I feel there was quite a lot of cohesion. We all felt that the Chimbu Division in common with a lot of Highlands areas has been neglected when compared with some of the coastal areas. We all feel, in fact, that the educational, agricultural and public works allocations to the Chimbu are far too small.
This is easily seen when taken on a population basis. Very few people realise that the population of Chimbu is almost 10% of the entire population of the Territory and when allocations of finance and staff are considered from Port Moresby they seem to ignore this completely. Perhaps it is because many people in PM responsible for these allocations are not familiar with many part of the Territory and the Chimbu in particular.
News – Was there any sign of grouping along party lines by any members?
Pople – I did not notice any. Rather, people with similar ideas on specific questions grouped together.
News – How long do you think it will be before official political parties come into being?
Pople – I do not know. I don’t think that anybody could foresee that successful formation of political parties for years to come.
News – Do you think your plans for Gumine development will have any effect on boosting thje present rat of progress?
Pople – I feel that I have a wonderful opportunity to bring to the notice of the population of the Territory the shocking lack of development in the Gumine area. I also feel that many people are unaware that Gumine has been neglected for so long and also that they are under the impression that Gumine has greater development than it actually has. I feel that by continually bringing the lack of development to public notice this will eventually have a beneficial effect and Gumine development will increase.
News – To your knowledge, has your point about announcing plane departures in Pidgin and Motu as well as English been implemented anywhere?
Pople – When leaving Moresby on my return I did hear Patair make an announcement in Motu informing passengers of a flight about to leave for the Milne Bay area.
News – Could you answer frankly, did you take the green tree snake into the House?
Pople – No comment.
News – Were your constituents pleased with your speech in the House?
Pople – They agreed with the ideas I brought up in my speech, namely those on agriculture, education and public works.
News - When will you be returning to Moresby again?
Pople – I believe the next sitting, the Budget sitting, will take place in September but no definite date has as yet been fixed. It depends largely on the Budget session of the House of Representatives [in Canberra].