Celebrating Regional Twinning between Parliaments at the 48th Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia    

The Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Hon. Shelley Hancock, MP and the President of the New South Wales Legislative Council, Hon. John Ajaka, MLC were delighted to host the 48th Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference for the CPA Australia and Pacific Regions at Parliament House in Sydney, Australia from 2 to 7 July 2017.

The conference provided a unique forum for the Presiding Officers and Clerks of eight Australian Parliaments, the Parliament of New Zealand and eight Pacific Island Parliaments to discuss their pivotal roles and experiences in the Parliamentary and Legislative institutions from the region and to celebrate their work together.

Delegates to the conference were welcomed with a reception at Government House where they were warmly welcomed to New South Wales by the Governor of New South Wales and the New South Wales Presiding Officers.

The following day, the conference commenced with the formal opening ceremony outside Parliament House which began with a welcome to country address delivered by aboriginal elder Uncle Chicka Madden followed by a traditional indigenous smoking ceremony. Delegates were then welcomed into Parliament House and the Legislative Assembly Chamber with a traditional Pacific welcome by a local Cook Islands performance group.

Once settled after a rousing opening ceremony, Hon. Shelley Hancock, MP was elected as Chair of the conference and Hon. Chester Borrows, MP, Deputy Speaker of the New Zealand Parliament was elected as the Deputy Chair. The opening address was delivered by Hon. Professor Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO, former Governor of New South Wales

The formal proceedings of the conference culminated in a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Twinning programme between Australian and Pacific Islands Parliaments, which took place in the Legislative Council Chamber and was presided over by the President of the Legislative Council, Hon. John Ajaka, MLC.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Secretary-General, Mr Akbar Khan had recorded a video address commending the regional twinning programme, which was played to the delegates at the commencement of the celebrations. Representatives of the respective Australian State and Pacific Island partnerships discussed the experiences and benefits of their twinning relationships and the twinning programme was universally acclaimed by all delegates.

Formal meetings arranged throughout the conference provided further opportunities for the Presiding Officers to share experiences, announce plans and agree to various interparliamentary matters. Delegates shared experiences and information on a variety of topics relevant to the role of Presiding Officers, Clerks and the administration of Parliament which included: public engagement, parliamentary security, statutory accountability and procedural innovation. 

A highlight of the week was the official conference dinner where delegates were able to take a well-earned break from the intensive conference programme over a meal served by the New South Wales Parliament’s world class catering department while they were entertained by the New South Wales Young Women’s Jazz Band and the Cook Islands performance group. 

The conference programme included tours and lectures about the unique structure and history of the New South Wales Parliament. Emeritus Curator of the New South Wales State Library, Mr Paul Brunton OAM delivered a lecture about the 200th Anniversary of the Rum Hospital which was refurbished to form the front section of the parliament building.

Delegates were taken on a day excursion to showcase some of the unique beauty of Sydney and the western New South Wales landscape with visits to the Featherdale Wildlife Park to view native Australian animals and the famous Blue Mountains.

The conference was formally closed by Hon. Shelley Hancock, MP who conveyed a sincere thank you from the host Parliament to all the delegates for participating in an incredibly valuable week. This year’s Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference was heralded by all as an incredibly informative, insightful and above all enjoyable event. The Presiding Officers, Clerks and Officers of the New South Wales Parliament enjoyed hosting the event and the valuable friendships made throughout the week.

Adapted from text provided by Brett Rodgers, Department of the Legislative Council, Parliament of New South Wales.

Published on Thursday 17 August 2017.


Notes to Editors

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), now in its 106th year with HM The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth as its Patron, exists to develop, promote and support Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and to implement the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of over 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. Parliaments, their Members and officials learn from each other through CPA activities: Annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conferences, Regional Conferences and other symposiums; Interparliamentary visits; Parliamentary Seminars and Workshops; Publications including The Parliamentarian, the Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments; and the Parliamentary Information and Reference Centre. 

For further information about the CPA, please contact:

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Secretariat, Westminster House, 
Suite 700, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA, 
United Kingdom  T: 44-20-7799-1460 
F: 44-20-7222-6073 
Email hq.sec@cpqhq.org

For media enquiries, please contact