Tongan Speaker’s study visit a sound investment
Democratic development focus of program
The live broadcast of parliament is one of the most popular radio programs in the Kingdom of Tonga.
While in Australia recently new Tongan Speaker, Lord Fakafanua, the youngest presiding officer in the world, investigated many aspects of parliamentary technology including the Australian Parliament’s sound and vision systems. Lord Fakafanua aims to improve the Tongan sound system to support the public’s understanding of democratic processes. The Australian Parliament will assist the Tongan Legislative Assembly with the project as part of an ongoing Pacific Parliamentary Partnerships program which is supported by AusAID.
The Speaker’s visit included two days of meetings with counterparts in Canberra which included mentoring by former Australian Speaker and current member for Scullin (VIC), Harry Jenkins. Lord Fakafanua also met with the Tongan community in Sydney and visited Adelaide for a study program at the South Australian Parliament; which is twinned with the Tongan Legislative Assembly under the Pacific Parliamentary Partnerships.
South Australian Speaker, Lyn Breuer, said that she looked forward to working closely with the Tongan Parliament and learning more about the island nation. Lord Fakafanua attended both chambers, met with Hansard and Library research services and also viewed a committee hearing dealing with issues relating to bushfire threat. The Speaker noted that this type of community consultation would be useful for assisting Tongan legislators with developing strategies for dealing with the threat of tsunamis.
Tongan Speaker, Lord Fakafanua in the South Australian Legislative Assembly