Prof Nicole Haley


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Professor Nicole Haley is an academic leader and scholar with 30 years research experience and 14 years leadership and management experience. Located in the Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA) she leads and manages the Pacific Research Program (PRP): a DPA-led consortium also comprising the ANU Development Policy Centre and the Lowy InstituteThe PRP is a major research and education investment funded in partnership by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the ANU.  Professor Haley joined DPA, then the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) Program, as a post-doctoral fellow in January 2006 and served as its head from October 2008 to March 2021, transforming the program from a bespoke research unit comprising five academics into a vibrant, fully integrated, university department (with 30 salaried staff and 25 PhD students) and leading international centre for applied multidisciplinary research and analysis concerning Melanesia and the Pacific.

A leading authority on Papua New Guinea and Elections in Melanesia, Professor Haley’s ethnographic research has yielded 90 discreet research outputs including two co-edited books: Conflict and Resource Development in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea (2007) and Election 2007: The Shift to Limited Preferential Voting in Papua New Guinea (2013), a series of country specific election observation handbooks, 25 peer-reviewed academic papers, seven major published reports, 13 peer-reviewed In-Briefs, targeted to a policy audience and 30+ commissioned research reports. Highly regarded for her policy advice, research and analysis, Professor Haley has worked extensively with development partners in various advisory and consultative capacities and has demonstrated substantial influence in the areas of women’s empowerment and women’s political participation, election monitoring and electoral reform, contributing to five major aid program designs and three major program evaluations.

Career highlights

2021   Career to date research income awarded - $87 million

2020   Finalist, Clare Burton Award for Excellence in Equity and Diversity

2014   ANU Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Public Policy and Outreach

2003   G.J. Crawford Prize, ANU’s premier prize for Academic Excellence

          Awarded to the best PhD Thesis in the Humanities/Social Sciences.

2000   Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation: Steps for Reconciliation Award

2000   National Adult Learners Week: Reconciliation Learning Program Award

1994   Australian Postgraduate Research Award (APRA)

Research interests

Political Anthropology; Elections & Electoral Politics in the Pacific; Social Identity & Land Politics; Women’s Leadership & Political Participation; Conflict & Armed Violence; and the Politics of Service Delivery.

Current student projects

Eileen Bobone (Chair of Panel) - Women and the 2017 General Elections in Rigo District in Central Province: Papua New Guinea

Theresa Meki (Chair of Panel) - Campaigining in Papua New Guinea: Oro Women Candidates in the 2017 PNG National Elections

Almah Tararia (Chair of Panel) - Women's Political Participation and Descision Making in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea

Murray Thomas (Chair of Panel) - Means of ascent: Peter O'Neill's ousting of Sir Michael Somare

Anita Togolo (Chair of Panel) - Local Business Development at Ok Tedi Mine, Papua New Guinea

Natasha Turia-Moka (Supervisor_ - Decentralisation od Australia's Pacific Labour Mobility Programmes in Papua New Guinea

Mary Walta (Advisor) - Customary Land, Social Protection and Livelihoods Port Moresby: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea 

Past student projects

Kerryn Baker (Chair of Panel) – The meanings of success in gender quota campaigns in the Pacific Islands Region. 2011-2015. Research Fellow ANU Department of Pacific Affairs.

Michelle Rooney (Chair of Panel) - Nogat mani: social safety nets for Tufi migrants of ATS settlement, Moresby, Papua New Guinea. 2012-2017. Research Fellow ANU Development Policy Centre.

Colin Wiltshire (Chair of Panel) - Public expenditure, decentralisation and serivce delivery in Papua New Guinea: tracking budgets to health clinics. 2009-2017. Research Fellow ANU Department of Pacific Affairs.

Terence Wood (Supervisor) - Ties that Unbind? Ethnic identity, social rules and electoral politics in Solomon Islands. 2010-2014. Research Fellow ANU Development Policy Centre.

Stephanie Lusby (Supervisor) - Raitman olgeta: Negotiating what it means to be a ‘Good’ man in contemporary Papua New Guinea. 2011-2018. Research Fellow La Trobe University.

Kirsty Gillespie (Supervisor/Advisor) - Steep slopes: soc creativity, continuity and change for the Duna of Papua New Guinea. 2003-2008. Senior Curator, Anthropology, James Cook University.

Lila San Roque (Supervisor/Advisor) - An introduction to Duna grammar. 2003-2008. Lecturer in Linguistics, Faculty of Arts and social Sciences, University of Sydney. 


BA (UQ), BA(Hons) (Macquarie University), PhD (ANU)


Researcher's projects

Elections and Electoral Politics in Melanesia: this ongoing project examines the changing nature of political culture in the region and seeks to assess the impact and effectiveness of electoral system reform and its influences upon political culture, including money politics and women’s political participation.

Improving Women's Leadership and Political Participation in the Pacific: this ongoing project explores the barriers to and enablers of improved women's political participation in the Pacific. It recognises that throughout much of the region women do not participate in elections as equal citizens.

The Politics of Hela: this ongoing project explores social and political conflict in Papua New Guinea's Hela Province. It examines the politics of social identity from the precontact period through to modern day parliamentary politics.

Expertise Areas

  • Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Public Policy
  • Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific
  • Culture, Gender, Sexuality
  • Pacific Cultural Studies


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