Primitive tribesmen in Papua/New Guinea have been voting for the new House of Assembly -- a House that is expected to demand immediate progress towards independence from Australia, the administering authority for the area.
GV Village near Goruka in Eastern Highlands
GV Pig wanders outside voting booth
GV Crowd outside hut
CU Woman votes
GV Crowd and pig
GV Second village
GV Voting hut
Clerks at desk
CU People voting
CU Warrior from mountains
CU Showing how to vote
CU Votes into ballot box
CU Party representative chairs meeting
CU Girls looking
GV Characters at meeting
CU Boy with American style singlet
GV Scene of village
Initials ES. 1410 ES. 1600
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Background: Primitive tribesmen in Papua/New Guinea have been voting for the new House of Assembly -- a House that is expected to demand immediate progress towards independence from Australia, the administering authority for the area.
Twelve candidates are standing for election to the ninety-four member House -- eight farmers, one businessman, one truck driver, a missionary and a local government councillor. They represent three parties -- Pangu, United, and People's Progress -- all committed in varying degrees to independence. Many Australians feel that independence must come soon in order to avoid the growth of separatism in a country with no railways and very few roads.
Allocated a budget of a quarter of a million pounds sterling, the election has been run like a military campaign, with officials using helicopters, canoes, and four-wheel drive vehicles to get to every village in this difficult terrain. Many of the one and a half million electorate have never encountered modern political methods, and this has presented many strange problems. Often the voters use more than one name, and Identification Tribunals have been organised. A stone-age community was discovered only last month, and reports of cannibalism still filter through from the remoter areas.
SYNOPSIS: In the jungles and mountains of Papua and New Guinea, villagers have been voting in elections for the new House of Assembly -- a House expected to ask for independence.
Simple voting-booths have been set up in every corner of this Australian-administered territory, and they attract villagers and tribesmen down from remote areas. For many it's their first brush with electoral procedures, and often it gives them a welcome opportunity for festivities and laughter.
But the outcome of this election -- due to end on the eleventh of March -- may change the lives of these simple people dramatically. For in effect the one and a half million voters of Papua and New Guinea will be voting for their independence. The three parties for whom they are voting differ as to how soon they should ask for independence from Australia.
Many of the voters are primitive stone-age peoples, and this has presented many strange problems for he administration. The voters live in inaccessible areas, and organisers have used helicopters and canoes to reach them Photographs of the candidates help them in their choice, and the illiterate are allowed to vote verbally. Mysticism complicates matters further and has been used to exert pressure on the superstitious voters.
One cult claims that the possession of war-time relics found in the jungles will bring wealth to its followers -- the wealth that the Government has now. The sooner the government goes, they say, the sooner their followers can claim this wealth. The voting age has recently been lowered from twenty-one to eighteen, and a sixth of the population will be voting for the first time. They will return a hundred members to the new House.