Commonwealth Parliamentarians from the CPA Pacific and Australia Regions focus on enhancing parliamentary effectiveness at 50th Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference in Queensland

Over 50 Commonwealth Parliamentarians from the Pacific and Australia Regions of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) have attended the 50th Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference (POCC) at the Parliament of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia from 8 to 10 July 2019.

Hon. Curtis Pitt, MP, Speaker of the Queensland Legislative Assembly said: “It was a great honour for the Queensland Parliament to host the 50th Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference (POCC). Each year, POCC is the annual peak event for Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in the CPA Australia and CPA Pacific Regions. It is an event where officers of the various Parliaments learn from each other and we strengthen the bonds between our respective Parliaments.

In Queensland, we greatly value our membership in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The Queensland Parliament has strong twinning arrangements with Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu which have both been recently renewed. We were more than happy to roll out the welcome mat for this great occasion to ensure the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association fulfils its purpose in the CPA Australia and CPA Pacific Regions.”

The annual conference is for Presiding Officers (Speakers) and Clerks from Parliaments from the CPA Pacific and CPA Australia Regions and is hosted by a different Parliament or Legislature each year with the Queensland Parliament taking up the honour in 2019. The conference also saw the continuation of the successful twinning programmes for Parliaments in the two Regions with meetings taking place between twinning partners.

The keynote address for the conference was given by Rt Hon. Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, Deputy Speaker of the United Kingdom House of Commons. Key topics on the agenda for the delegates included the role of a Speaker in determining an Opposition; impressions of a newly elected Speaker; reviewing and enhancing parliamentary effectiveness; and the administration of Parliaments. The delegates at the POCC also discussed the CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures and measuring Parliaments effectiveness against them.

Conference papers revolved around many different themes with presentations delivered by a wide range of speakers including: Hon. Kezia Purick, MLA, Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly; Hon. Leslie Williams, MP, Deputy Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly; Hon. Trevor Mallard MP, Speaker of the New Zealand Parliament; Hon. Togiavalu Pihiga, Speaker of the Parliament of Niue and Ms Cherie Morris-Tafatu, Clerk; Hon. Joy Burch, MP, Speaker of the Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory and Tom Duncan, Clerk; Hon. Peter Watson, MLA, Speaker of the Western Australia Legislative Assembly and Hon. Kate Doust, MLC, President of the Western Australia Legislative Council; Hon. Colin Brooks MLA, Speaker, Victoria Legislative Assembly; and Neil Laurie, Clerk of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.

Guest speakers at the conference included former Parliamentarian at the Victorian Legislative Assembly, Professor Ken Coghill who spoke about the CPA Codes of Conduct for MPs.

There was a diverse range of Parliaments and Legislatures represented at the conference, with Presiding Officers and Clerks from Australia (both the Federal Parliament and the State Legislatures), the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, New Zealand, Niue, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

For images of the 50th POCC please click here or visit

Updated 15 July 2019.


The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. 
For further information about the CPA, please contact:

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
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