The Parliamentarian
2020: Issue One: Centenary Issue 1920-2020 – A century of publishing

The Parliamentarian is the quarterly Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments published by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and features articles and news written by Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff across the Commonwealth about international issues.
When this journal was first published in January 1920 as the ‘Journal of Parliaments of the Empire’, the world was a very different place and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), which had been founded in 1911, was a small group of nations and territories. The last 100 years have seen the CPA’s membership grow to 180 Branches in 54 Commonwealth countries and includes more than 125 sub-national states, provinces and territories, all with their own Parliaments or Legislatures.

Through this period, the journal has evolved from the 
Journal of Parliaments of the Empire’ to the ‘Journal of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth’ to today’s title as ‘The Parliamentarian’, yet it has continued to be the journal of record of the activities of the CPA, reporting on its membership of Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures. The Parliamentarian provides reporting on advances in democratic governance and is a forum for the sharing of best practice amongst its membership, with the continuing ethos of articles written by Parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and experts from international organisations for the benefit of their peers and the wider parliamentary community. At the same time, the CPA would take on the professional development role, not just for new Parliamentarians in emerging Assemblies, but for all Parliamentarians throughout the Commonwealth.

As outlined by the Acting CPA Secretary-General, Mr Jarvis Matiya in his View article in this issue: “Over the years the publication has continued to be a mouthpiece for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and a forum for Parliamentarians to articulate and discuss developments on parliamentary procedures and practices, democracy, good governance and human rights.”  These Commonwealth values have developed over many years and are codified in the 2012 Commonwealth Charter and the CPA has continued to demonstrate its commitment to promote and ensure that these Commonwealth democratic principles and values are “upheld, nurtured and implemented to the highest standards.”

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC writing in this issue of The Parliamentarian recognises the role of the CPA and its journal in promoting the values of the Commonwealth: “With such depth of connection comes fruitful cooperation: nations growing together and encouraging one another towards higher attainment, with firmer fulfilment and closer adherence to the values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter. This edition of The Parliamentarian, marking the 100th anniversary of the first publication of the Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments, reminds us of the long record of cooperation and sense of collegiality among the Parliaments and Legislatures of our member countries. Valuable bilateral exchanges and international meetings of those elected or appointed to represent our citizens, and of officials who serve Parliaments and Legislative Assemblies, are augmented by journals, periodicals and other publications which help to disseminate news of progress and innovation.”

The Parliamentarian is vital not only for sharing information amongst Parliamentarians and other stakeholders, but it is also instrumental in enabling the CPA to fulfil its statement of purpose to “connect, develop, promote and support Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth.” Through the publication, Members exchange views and deepen their understanding of contemporary democratic and development issues, as well as their roles and responsibilities as peoples’ representatives.

Today, The Parliamentarian continues to be published for the benefit of the Association, reaching around 17,000 Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff in the CPA’s 180 Parliaments and Legislatures in both print and digital format. Subscribers also include academia interested in political science, research libraries and global organisations.

In this issue of The Parliamentarian, the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Executive Committee, Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP (Cameroon) in her View article writes about looking to the Commonwealth’s future and the importance of youth engagement following her visit to the 10th Commonwealth Youth Parliament at the Delhi Legislative Assembly in India.

The recently elected Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), Hon. Shandana Gulzar Khan, MNA (Pakistan) in her first View article for The Parliamentarian writes about creating a new vision for Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.

The recently elected CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Hon. Niki Rattle, Speaker of the Parliament of the Cook Islands writes about the work of the CPA Small Branches network and asks ‘how can the small Parliaments of the Commonwealth deliver with limited resources to deepen democratic governance in the 21st century?’ in her first View article for this publication.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC also looks ahead to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2020 in Rwanda later this year and its theme of ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’.

The Deputy Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Hon. Dr Joseph Garcia, MP writes about future links being built in the Commonwealth in the post-Brexit world.

The Llywydd (Presiding Officer) of the National Assembly for Wales, Elin Jones, AM writes about the introduction of a historic Act in the Welsh Assembly that will bring institutional changes including votes for 16 and 17 year olds.

Many Parliaments around the world are introducing reforms designed to re-engage with their communities and one key reform is the modernisation of parliamentary petition systems. Chris Angus, Research Officer at the New South Wales Parliamentary Research Service, writes about the petition system reforms being introduced at the Parliament of New South Wales, Australia.

Former Parliamentarian, Rt Hon. Nick Herbert is the Chair of the Global Equality Caucus and writes about its work in promoting global equality for LGBT+ citizens.

Researchers Siphelo Mbeki and Shanelle van der Berg from the South African Human Rights Commission write about the need to eradicate inequality in South Africa and look at the role that Parliamentarians can play in meeting social, pollical and economic targets.

News and reports of many activities across the nine regions of the CPA and CWP network are included in this issue. The Parliamentary Report and Third Reading section in this issue includes parliamentary and legislative news from Canada, British Columbia, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and Australia Federal. 

We look forward to hearing your feedback and comments on this issue of The Parliamentarian, on the issues affecting Parliamentarians across the Commonwealth and to receiving your future contributions to this publication.

Print and digital copies of The Parliamentarian are available to Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff - please contact your CPA Branch Secretary for details.

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Updated 05/03/2020/CPAHQ