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CPA gives evidence to Australian codes of conduct committee

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has provided oral and written evidence to the Parliament of Australia’s Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary Standards.

The Committee is conducting an inquiry into the development of codes of conduct for the Parliament of Australia. At a public hearing on 29 September 2022, the CPA’s Head of Programmes, Matthew Salik, gave evidence to the Committee and answered questions on the CPA’s experience in the field of parliamentary codes of conduct, ethics and standards.

He noted the CPA’s previous work in developing benchmarks for codes of conduct and supporting Parliaments in this field, providing evidence on the importance of comprehensive ethics training for Members and staff and the need to be forward-thinking, not reactive, when developing codes of conduct.

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Recommended Benchmarks for Codes of Conduct applying to Members of Parliament:

The Recommended Benchmarks for Codes of Conduct for Members of Parliament are designed to be used by individual houses of parliament or other legislatures to assist in them to revise and strengthen existing provisions affecting the conduct of their Members or to develop new codes of conduct.

The CPA’s written submission to the committee provided further insight into key principles and standards that should be incorporated into parliamentary codes of conduct. The submission referenced several CPA publications* produced to support Commonwealth Parliaments to establish, update and uphold codes of conduct and the highest ethical standards of governance. The submission also included codes of conduct benchmarking case studies from Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The submission concluded:

“Whatever the content of the codes, there are key principles and elements that should be included as a minimum standard. These minimum standards have been developed by the CPA and highlighted in this submission. Finally, the CPA would wish to emphasise that, as part of its deliberations, the Committee looks to many of its international and domestic parliamentary counterparts in identifying examples of good practice.”

The Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary Standards for the 47th Parliament was established in July 2022 “to inquire into and report on matters relating to the development of codes of conduct for Commonwealth (of Australia) parliamentary workplaces.” The Committee has been tasked with developing codes of conduct to ensure safe and respectful behaviour in parliamentary workplaces and recommend options for enforcing and reviewing the codes.

The CPA’s submission was given alongside a number of other organisations including the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards UK; the Australian Services Union; Parliamentary Service at the New Zealand Parliament; Transparency International Australia; Governance Institute of Australia; The Global Institute for Women's Leadership.

In addition, Adjunct Professor Kenneth Coghill (Swinburne University and the author of the CPA’s ‘Recommended Benchmarks for Codes of Conduct applying to Members of Parliament’) and Professor Charles Sampford (Griffith University) also gave evidence to the Committee on behalf of ‘The Accountability Round Table Ltd’.

-ENDS-

* The publications referenced by the submission are: the CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures, the CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Codes of Conduct Applying to Members of Parliament, and the CWP Anti-Harassment Policy Guidelines.

Download the CPA's written submission to the Committee ->

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 media enquiries, please contact communications@cpahq.org.

Related Resources

Recommended Benchmarks for Codes of Conduct applying to Members of Parliament

The Benchmarks set out best practice in designing an effective set of codes of conduct for Members of Parliament to uphold.

CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures

Building on the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles on the separation of powers, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures provide a framework for excellence in Commonwealth parliamentary and legislative practice.

Field Guide: CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures

The Field Guide is a useful resource to support legislatures to conduct their own internal self-assessment against the CPA Recommended Benchmarks. 

CWP Anti-Harassment Policy Guidelines: A Toolkit for Commonwealth Parliaments

The CWP Anti-Harassment Policy Guidelines support Parliaments across the Commonwealth in the effort to both address and remove all traces of harassment across parliamentary workplaces.

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