The Parliamentarian 2017: Issue Two

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.

In the difficult times that the global community is facing today, a renewed focus on peace-building and combatting global inequalities is of the greatest importance across the Commonwealth.

The 2017 Commonwealth theme of ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’ gives Commonwealth Parliaments and Parliamentarians the opportunity to promote international peace and security, sustainable economic growth and development and the rule of law which are all essential to the progress and prosperity of the Commonwealth and beyond. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is taking positive steps in this important work through its membership, outreach and programmes work. 

This issue of The Parliamentarian features the wide range of celebrations and activities that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Regions and Branches as well as the CPA Headquarters Secretariat undertook for Commonwealth Day 2017, all united by the common theme of ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’. The CPA Branches featured include: Zambia; St Helena; Fiji; Jamaica; Scotland; Guyana; Trinidad and Tobago; Malaysia; Canada Federal; Solomon Islands; Malta; Cayman Islands; Nevis; Kenya; Balochistan; Falkland Islands; Victoria, Australia.

The Commonwealth Day events in London, UK were attended by the Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee, Hon. Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP (Bangladesh) who writes in this issue of The Parliamentarian about addressing global inequalities, which was the main theme of the 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, hosted recently by the Parliament of Bangladesh.

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr Akbar Khan shares his views on this year’s theme of ‘A Peace-Building Commonwealth’ following his attendance at the Commonwealth Day 2017 Observance in Westminster Abbey. 

The Connected Commonwealth: A Patchwork of Peace’ is examined by Rt Hon. Lord Howell of Guildford (United Kingdom), who is the Chairman of the House of Lords International Relations Committee and President of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

Two new regular columnists are welcomed to The Parliamentarian for this issue. Hon. Anġelo Farrugia MP, Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches and Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Malta writes his first View article for the publication and shares his vision for a new strategic direction for CPA Small Branches.

Hon. Dr Dato’ Noraini Ahmad, MP, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) and Member of the Parliament of Malaysia contributes two articles to this issue. The CWP Chairperson’s View for The Parliamentarian focuses on job creation and growth and provides some solutions to inequality with a focus on gender.

This issue also features a speech given by Hon. Dr Dato’ Noraini Ahmad, MP in her role as Chair of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and representing the CPA Headquarters Secretariat on the subject of ‘Trade as a vehicle of social progress: The Gender Perspective’ which was given at the annual session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO last year.

This special issue of The Parliamentarian features a number of articles by Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) on gender topics. Hon. Santi Bai Hanoomanjee, GCSK, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Mauritius, writes about establishing a parliamentary gender caucus in Mauritius and its launch attended by the CPA Secretary-General.

This issue features the presentation given by Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP (United Kingdom) on ‘Legislating effectively to protect Women from Political Violence’ at the 62nd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. She focuses on the role of Parliament in promoting good practice in legislating to protect women from political violence and working with Parliaments across the Commonwealth to raise awareness of women’s issues.

Hon. Linda Reid MLA (British Columbia, Canada) celebrates the achievements of women in Canada as British Columbia marks the 100th anniversary of women and the vote. Hon. Angela Thoko Didiza, MP (South Africa) writes about increasing women’s participation and representation in Parliament and Joyce Watson AM (Wales) contributes an article on ‘Promoting Women and Economic Empowerment’. This was also the theme of the recent Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference held at the Welsh Assembly which is reported on in this issue.

This issue of The Parliamentarian also features reports of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) recent activities including the CWP South-East Asia Regional Seminar in Malaysia on ‘Closing the gender gap and promoting equality in social, economic and political issues’; the CWP three year strategy session at Wilton Park; and Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians activities to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 on the theme of ‘Be Bold for Change’.

Members of the CPA report on Commonwealth Parliamentary Association activities and programmes. Glen Elmes MP (Queensland, Australia) reports on his experience of delivering parliamentary media training to Members of the National Assembly of Mauritius as part of a CPA Technical Assistance Programme and its effect on accelerating the democratic process.

This issue also features a report on the 2017 OECD Global Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum that was attended by Hon. Len Isleifson MLA (Manitoba, Canada); Hon. Sandra Nelson MLA (Northern Territory, Australia); and Hon. Alando Terrelonge MP (Jamaica) through CPA Headquarters Secretariat funding.

This issue features a report of the second lecture in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s (CPA) international lecture series and the first for the CPA Pacific Region, with the keynote address given by former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Sir Don McKinnon ONZ, GCVO. The lecture, hosted by the CPA New Zealand Branch and the New Zealand Parliament on behalf of the CPA Pacific Region, reflected on ‘silver linings in dark clouds hanging over democracy’.

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

This issue contains an obituary report about Rabi Ray, the quintessential Speaker of India (1926 – 2017) and an article reporting on the rare examples of Private Member’s Bills in the Second Chamber of the Indian Parliament containing features of Money and Financial Bills and the legislative developments and behaviour that it demonstrates.

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

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