The Parliamentarian
2019: Issue Three: The Commonwealth: Adding political value to global affairs in the 21st century

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.
It was stated nearly fifteen years ago that “the Commonwealth will continue to be a major player on the global scene. The challenge now is to consolidate its inherited strength, the achievements of the past, and use these as a basis for planning towards a better and more fulfilling future. In doing this, we must strengthen the organisation and its structures, deepen our bonds, expand the scope of our activities, build more viable networks within the organisation and with other partners, and define our priorities clearly at all times. The strength of the Commonwealth lies in its origin, its tradition, its diversity, as well as its modus operandi.”  

This statement is still relevant today in 2019 and the Commonwealth continues to strive to make an impact on global affairs in the 21st century. The Commonwealth is the only international organisation that has members on every continent and region of the world and representation in every global forum. Since the ‘modern’ Commonwealth came into existence, the relevance and value of the relationships within the Commonwealth have been reaffirmed and consolidated. For the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), its membership expanded across the CPA’s nine Regions and to over 180 Branches including national, state, provincial and territorial Parliaments and Legislatures. 

The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Executive Committee, Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP (Cameroon) in her View article examines the role of the CPA in adding political value to global affairs in the 21st century.

In this issue of The Parliamentarian, the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), Hon. Dr Dato’ Noraini Ahmad, MP (Malaysia) writes about the wider Commonwealth and its role in adding political value to global affairs in the 21st century through political will and operationalisation.

The CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Hon. AnÄ¡elo Farrugia, MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Malta writes about ‘The Commonwealth Effect’ in his View article and its impact on the CPA Small Branches.

Following a recent visit to Rwanda to speak at the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Conference, the CPA Secretary-General, Mr Akbar Khan, celebrates the Geneva Conventions and building respect for International Humanitarian Law in the Commonwealth in his View article.

This issue of The Parliamentarian features two papers from the 50th Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference for the CPA Australia and CPA Pacific Regions held in Queensland - Rt Hon. Trevor Mallard, MP, Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives provides a detailed case study of the Parliament of New Zealand as he examines ‘fit-for-purpose Parliament: reviewing and enhancing parliamentary effectiveness’; and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons in the UK Parliament, Rt Hon. Sir Lindsay Hoyle, MP writes about the emerging security issues for Parliamentarians and the impact on democracy.

Jersey’s Minister for International Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey reports on an innovative project linking Jersey and Rwanda which demonstrates how the Commonwealth can connect vastly different places.

Commonwealth Parliamentarians gathered in London, UK for the first Global Conference for Media Freedom in July 2019 to scrutinise how freedom of expression is being stifled and barriers are preventing the functioning of an independent media in many countries. The global conference was co-hosted by the UK and Canada and is part of an international campaign to shine a global spotlight on media freedom and to increase the cost to those that are attempting to restrict it. In this issue of The Parliamentarian, Rt Hon. Jeremy Hunt, MP, at the time UK Foreign Secretary, speaks about Commonwealth countries showing leadership in defending media freedom and Hon. Chrystia Freeland, MP, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, herself a former journalist, writes about defending media freedoms in the Commonwealth.

Continuing the theme of media freedom in the Commonwealth, Professor Victoria Nash from the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford looks at the policy responses to disinformation and asks if a public health approach is required. Historian and commentator on international affairs, Victoria Schofield writes about fake news and the phenomenon of ‘no platforming’.

UK Parliamentarian, Helen Goodman, MP is the UK Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and she writes a defence of multilateralism.

The Commonwealth Road Safety Initiative has recently launched with the aim of halving road fatalities and serious injuries by 2030 and leading advocate for the campaign, Jim Fitzpatrick, MP (United Kingdom) writes about the new initiative and how Members of Parliament can become involved.

The importance of building a ‘future-ready’ parliamentary workforce in the context of the Professional Development Programme for Parliamentary Staff with McGill University in collaboration with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is observed by Ms Inna Popova-Roche (McGill University’s School of Continuing Studies) and Ms Bénite Dibateza (CPA Headquarters Secretariat).

This issue of The Parliamentarian also features news and reports of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) activities.

The Parliamentary Report and Third Reading section in this issue includes parliamentary and legislative news from Canada Federal, Trinidad and Tobago, India, New Zealand, Uganda, United Kingdom and Australia Federal. 

In 2019, The Parliamentarian is celebrating its 100th year of publishing and we will be publishing our centenary issue of the publication in early 2020 to mark 100 years since the first issue. If readers have any memories of the publication that they would like to share for an upcoming feature on the publication’s centenary, then please contact the Editor.

Ahead of one of the largest annual gatherings of Commonwealth Parliamentarians at the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) hosted by the CPA Uganda Branch and the Parliament of Uganda from 22 to 29 September 2019 (inclusive of arrival and departure dates) in Kampala, Uganda, the CPA is delighted to publish the Uganda supplement to The Parliamentarian. The supplement features articles by Members of Parliament in Uganda who examine many different areas of the political and cultural life of Uganda. Please click here to read the Uganda supplement.

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 14/08/2019/CPAHQ