• Offered by Department of Pacific Affairs
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Pacific Studies
  • Areas of interest Pacific Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Nicole Haley
    • Thiago Cintra Oppermann
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Summer Session 2024
    See Future Offerings

This course examines the political economy of elections in Melanesia (PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Bougainville). It considers the factors shaping the conduct of elections across the region, and implications of elections for democracy, governance, development and security. Incorporating insights from comparative politics, anthropology and development studies, the course explores how elections in the region differ from developed country electoral experiences and what this means for efforts to support electoral processes. Implications for the development of electoral support programs that respond to the specific Melanesian context are also considered.

The focus of the readings is to provide a deeper grounded and contextual understanding of elections, drawing heavily on applied research conducted in Melanesian countries. Regional case studies are used to elucidate key aspects of elections.

Topics of study include:

  • The political economy of elections in Melanesia
  • Elections and (in)security
  • Elections, governance and development
  • Money politics and electoral competition in Melanesia
  • Political parties and campaigning
  • Elections, ICTs and social media
  • Women and elections
  • Electoral administration and electoral integrity in Melanesia
  • Elections in PNG
  • Elections in Solomon Islands
  • Elections and external actors
  • Supporting elections in Melanesia

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand and identify the contextual factors that condition how elections in Melanesia work.
  2. Critically evaluate the relationship between elections and security, governance, development and stability
  3. Examine the challenges faced by key political and social actors such as women and civil society in participating in elections in Melanesia
  4. Demonstrate a good understanding of the policy challenges involved in administering elections in Melanesia
  5. Demonstrate an appreciation of the distinctiveness of Melanesian elections in a comparative context

Indicative Assessment

  1. Risk assessment and stakeholder analysis (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Election support design project (70) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


This course comprises some 130 hours of activity over 12 weeks, both interactive/seminar based and independent research. The course comprises a maximum of 6k words of assessment or the equivalent. Please note this is a general guide, averaged over the semester and the final hours ultimately depend on the individual's ability in reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

None required

Preliminary Reading

1.    Barbara, J. with Baker, K., Improving the Electoral Chances of Pacific Women through an Evidence-Based Approach: A Synthesis Report prepared for the Centre for Democratic Institutions and the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program, December (23 pages)

2.    Haley, N. and Zubrinich, K. (2019), Papua New Guinea General Elections: Election Observations Report, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU:

3.    Hou, Rick. 2016. A Day in the Life of a Member of Parliament in Solomon Islands. State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Discussion Paper 2016/2. Canberra: Australian National University.

4.    Corbett, Jack. 2015. Democracy in the Pacific: Comparable Practices, Contested Meanings. Democratic Theory 2 (2): 22—40.

5.    Fraenkel, Jon. 2010. Oceania’s Political Institutions and Transitions. State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Discussion Paper 2010/5. Canberra: Australian National University.

6.    Lawson, Stephanie. 1993. The Politics of Tradition: Problems for Political Legitimacy and Democracy in the South Pacific. Pacific Studies 16 (2): 1—29.

7.    Logan, Sarah. 2012. Rausim! Digital Politics in PNG. State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Discussion Paper 2012/9. Canberra: Australian National University.

8.    May, R. J. 2003. Disorderly Democracy: Political Turbulence and Institutional Reform in PNG. State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Discussion Paper 2003/3. Canberra: Australian National University.

9.    Steeves, Jeffrey S. 1996. Unbounded Politics in the Solomon Islands: Leadership and Party Alignments. Pacific Studies 19 (1): 115—138.

10. Wood, T. (2019), Development and the 2019 elections in Solomon Islands, DevPol Blog, April 23, 2019.

11. Wood, T. 2017, ‘What can Australia do to help with elections in PNG?’ DevPol Blog, September 15, 2017.

Wood, T. (2015), ‘The three political economies of electoral quality in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands’, Crawford School of Public Policy Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 43


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Summer Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1497 01 Feb 2024 31 Jan 2024 09 Feb 2024 29 Feb 2024 In Person N/A
1539 01 Feb 2024 31 Jan 2024 09 Feb 2024 29 Feb 2024 Online N/A

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