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The last of Australian imperial dreams for the Southwest Pacific: Paul Hasluck, the Department of Territories and a Greater Melanesia in 1960
journal contributionposted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Christopher WatersChristopher Waters
This paper is a study of the vision held at the beginning of the 1960s by Paul Hasluck, the minister for external territories, and his department of the path to decolonisation for Melanesia. Faced by the ongoing West New Guinea crisis, Hasluck and his officials proposed to keep the western part of New Guinea out of Indonesian hands by expanding Australia’s empire, step by step, to include most of Melanesia. This greater Melanesian empire would eventually be guided to self-government. The proposal stood in a long line of ideas by Pacific-minded Australians going back for 100 years for an expanded Australian empire in the southwest Pacific. Consequently the Menzies cabinet’s rejection of Hasluck’s proposal was not just an important step towards changing its policy towards WNG; it marked the end to a century of Australian dreams and designs of a greater formal empire in the southwest Pacific.