The Parliamentarian 2017: Issue Three

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 has often been said that the Commonwealth highlights the things that unite us and our mutual understanding across the world and this issue of The Parliamentarian features articles and news that demonstrate the common interests that we share. Indeed, the 2013 Commonwealth Charter highlights our shared interests, principles and values when it states:

“Recalling that the Commonwealth is a voluntary association of independent and equal sovereign states, each responsible for its own policies, consulting and co-operating in the common interests of our peoples and in the promotion of international understanding and world peace, and influencing international society to the benefit of all through the pursuit of common principles and values.”

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 a number of articles from the CPA’s network of Small Branches. Of the over 180 Branches of the CPA, forty-three Branches are classified as Small Branches, which are defined as jurisdictions having a population below 500,000 people. The articles in this issue highlight their unique needs and requirements in parliamentary strengthening, development and cooperation.

Hon. Anġelo Farrugia, MP, Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches and Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Malta writes about the opportunities for CPA Small Branches in the ‘post-Brexit’ era which was the main theme at the recent 47th CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference. Hon. Dr Joseph Garcia, MP (Gibraltar) also focuses on this theme in his article on ‘Brexit’ and the Commonwealth.

The many similarities between two CPA Small Branches in remote jurisdictions in Canada and Australia are examined by Hon. Kezia Purick, MLA, Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly and Hon. Jackson Lafferty, MLA, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Northwest Territories.

One of the emerging themes that Members of the CPA Small Branches have highlighted is the role of parliamentary ethics and its regulation in Parliaments and Legislatures.

Hon. Juan Watterson, SHK, Speaker of the House of Keys (Isle of Man) examines the role of the Member in parliamentary ethics in the light of the 2017 Commonwealth theme of ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’. Deputy Dawn Tindall (Guernsey) looks at the unique challenges of conflicts of interests that Members’ face in a small jurisdiction while Greffier Mark Egan (Jersey) provides a case study from his jurisdiction on the regulation of parliamentary ethics. Tom Duncan (Australian Capital Territory) provides a review of the CPA’s Recommended Benchmarks for Codes of Conduct applying to Members of Parliament and how they have been applied in his legislature.

Although not from a Small Branch of the CPA, Hon. Shyam Rajak, MLA (Bihar, India) brings another view of the importance of the regulation and discipline of parliamentary ethics and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr Akbar Khan in his View article looks at giving a voice to the Small Branches of the CPA.

As the Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee, Hon. Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP (Bangladesh) comes to the end of her three year term in office, we provide a gallery of photographs of her past and recent CPA activities over the last three years.

Many different issues are examined in this issue of The Parliamentarian. Hon. Dr Dato’ Noraini Ahmad, MP, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) and Member of the Parliament of Malaysia writes about the networking opportunities between Parliaments, the possibilities of creating alliances and how the ASEAN network has used networking to further women’s participation.

Hon. John Ajaka, MLC (New South Wales) writes about ‘Re-engaging the disengaged’ and why parliamentary education and community engagement is Parliaments’ core business. Baroness Manzoor (United Kingdom) discusses the role of Parliamentarians in building intercultural bridges for dialogue following her participation in the 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue in Azerbaijan.

Hon. Yasmin Ratansi, MP (Canada Federal) celebrates the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation and looks at Canada’s recognition of its indigenous peoples while Dr Chris Bourke, MLA (Australian Capital Territory) observes how recent diversity management theory can be applied to the goal of increasing the number of indigenous Parliamentarians in the CPA Australia Region.

Hon. Sylvain Gaudreault, MNA (Québec) is the Chairman of the Committee on Public Administration, the equivalent of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in many Commonwealth jurisdictions and he celebrates its achievements as it reaches its 20th anniversary.

Election observation expert, Dame Audrey Glover (OSCE) shares with readers why elections and their observation are important and what the main challenges are for observers from her many years of experience.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Democracy in 2017, Martin Chungong, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) writes in defence of democracy while Ms Neelofur S. Hafeez (Pakistan) shares the experiences of democracy in transition from the Senate of Pakistan.

Jon Breukel from the Parliamentary Library and Information Service at the Parliament of Victoria in Australia, provides us with an analysis of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles and the separation of powers. Vivek K. Agnihotri (Rajya Sabha, India) writes about the role and responsibilities of the Governor of a State in India and the curious case of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

This issue features a report of the third lecture in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s international lecture series and the first for the CPA Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region, with the keynote address given by the Head of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements Unit of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Kishan Kumarsingh. The lecture, hosted by the CPA Trinidad and Tobago Branch on behalf of the CPA Caribbean Region, reflected on ‘the geo-political response to climate change’.

This issue also features reports of recent regional conferences with CPA Members - the 16th Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference for the CPA Africa Region; the 48th Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference for the CPA Australia and Pacific Regions; and the 18th Biennial Conference of Presiding Officers and Clerks of the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic (CAA) Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

This issue of The Parliamentarian also features reports of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) recent activities including the CWP Canada Regional Steering Committee meeting in Manitoba; reports of CWP activity in the CPA Pacific Region; and the Regional Conference and Sub-Regional Women and Girls’ Forum of the CWP Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region in St Kitts and Nevis.

The Parliamentary Report and Third Reading section in this issue includes parliamentary and legislative news from Canada Federal, Québec, India, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia, both the States and Territories and the Federal Parliament. 

Ahead of the one of the largest annual gatherings of Commonwealth Parliamentarians at the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) hosted by the CPA Bangladesh Branch and the Parliament of Bangladesh from 1 to 8 November 2017 (inclusive of arrival and departure dates) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we are delighted to provide a supplementary publication to this issue of The Parliamentarian. The supplement features articles by Members of Parliament in Bangladesh and the United Kingdom that examine many different areas of the political and cultural life of Bangladesh.

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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