Sir Paul Hasluck Books

A Time for Building

An account of Paul Hasluck's administration of Papua and New Guinea, 1951-1963, published by Melbourne University Press, 1976.
by Paul Hasluck

Publication Details:
Melbourne University Press, 1976
Hardback 452 pp
ISBN: 0 522 84091 4

Cover notes:
"Upon several scores, this is one of the most remarkable Australian books ever published. It is the first-hand account of a Minister of the Crown who held the Territories portfolio for an unprecedented thirteen years.

In general, Australia's cabinet ministers have not been especially distinguished for intellectual drive or literary capacity. Paul Hasluck is one of the exceptions.

In clear and measured style he describes the appalling problems of post-war reconstruction in devastated Papua New Guinea; the crippling shortages of material resources and human talent; the natural impediments of terrain and tribalism; the apathy and ignorance of the Australian public; and the frequently gratuitous interventions of international opinion as Papua New Guinea was maturing in the twentieth century.

The author does not claim unlimited ministerial success, but the reader cannot but be impressed by the devoted effort needed to achieve what he did. The work he describes by the 'outside men' - the administrative officers in the field - will eventually be recognized as a shining Australian accomplishment.

The merits of Hasluck's policies were always hotly debated, and though Papua New Guinea is now an independent country, it bears many deep imprints of his long and energetic administration. Many will continue to disagree with the author's opinions, but no one can understand Papua New Guinea without reading this book.

It has also another dimension, for it gives a unique insight into the workings of Australian politics and government. Hasluck's sharp observations and sometimes tart comments illuminate Canberra as much as they reveal our colonial past."

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