Pacific Deputy Speakers meet in Australia for professional development

The inaugural Inter-Parliamentary Study Program for Deputy Speakers of Pacific Parliaments (IPSP-DS) took place from 23-28 November 2017 at Parliament House. The program was organised by the Australian Parliament’s Parliamentary Skills Centre, with input from the Clerks Assistant, Procedure and Table of the House of Representatives. The Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Deputy President, Clerk and Deputy Clerk were all involved, and a range of workshops were led by former Speaker of the House, Mr Harry Jenkins AO.

The program was initiated to offer professional development and networking opportunities to deputy speakers, a cohort that usually has less access to professional development than Speakers of Pacific Parliaments. It was a unique opportunity for participants from diverse parliaments and cultures, who had varied chairing and parliamentary experience, to come together and learn more about the role, to discuss chairing skills and relevant procedural knowledge with peers, and for them to maintain that contact afterwards.

Representatives of sixteen Pacific parliaments were invited to participate and eleven attended: the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (Papua New Guinea); Cook Islands; Fiji; Federated States of Micronesia; Kiribati; Nauru; New Zealand; Palau; Samoa; Tuvalu; and Vanuatu. Palau’s representative was from the Upper House.

The program ran over two weeks and comprised two non-sitting days and two sitting days. In addition to presentations and interactive workshops on chairing, participants viewed proceedings in the Senate Chamber. Presenters from the Australian National University, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and an executive performance specialist made additional contributions, the latter on leadership styles and techniques. The group also visited the ACT Legislative Assembly to observe the workings of a smaller unicameral parliament, and attended various social and professional networking functions.

Pacific Deputy Speakers 2017 

Participants in the Inter-Parliamentary Study Program for Deputy Speakers of Pacific Parliaments with former Speaker of the House, Mr Jenkins, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy President of the Senate, and Deputy Clerk of the House at Parliament House