Pacific Speakers meet in Australia for professional development

Participants of the Inter-Parliamentary Study Program for Speakers of Pacific Parliaments 
Participants of the Inter-Parliamentary Study Program for Speakers of Pacific Parliaments 

The Inter-Parliamentary Study Program for Speakers of Pacific Parliaments took place from 22 to 27 November 2018 at Parliament House.

Organised by the Australian Parliament’s Parliamentary Skills Centre, the program was dedicated to the professional development of Speakers from Pacific Parliaments. It built on the success of last year’s inaugural Inter-Parliamentary Study Program for Deputy Speakers of Pacific Parliaments, and was similarly designed by senior staff of the Department of the House of Representatives.

The Speaker had significant involvement in the program, and the President of the Senate, together with Clerks from the House of Representatives and Senate were all also involved. A range of workshops were led by former Speakers of the House, Mr Harry Jenkins AO and Hon. David Hawker AO.
Speakers and Deputy Speakers from seven Pacific Parliaments attended the program: the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (Papua New Guinea); the Cook Islands; the Republic of Nauru; New Zealand; Niue; Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

The program comprised two non-sitting days and two-sitting days. It provided a unique opportunity for Speakers from diverse parliaments and cultures to meet together to share their chairing approaches and experiences, and discuss the issues and challenges that Speakers commonly face in their respective Parliaments.

In addition to presentations and inter-active workshops, participants viewed proceedings in the House and Senate Chambers. Presenters from the Australian National University, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and YellowEdge Performance Architects engaged participants on discussions covering culture, Australia’s Pacific relationships and leadership in today’s rapidly changing world.

The group also visited the ACT Legislative Assembly to compare the workings of a smaller unicameral parliament and met with Acting Speaker Vicki Dunne MLA. Various social and professional networking functions complemented the program.

The group determined to maintain contact after the program to continue its momentum.