Parliamentary Strengthening

Supporting democratic development

Australian Parliament supports the ongoing development of parliamentary democracy through parliamentary strengthening programs which may include study visits, seminars, workshops and broader projects. These are coordinated by the Parliamentary Skills Centre (PSC) for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff. Programs are delivered in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), international parliamentary associations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), and other international bodies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Pacific Parliamentary Partnerships Fund

Pacific parliaments are supported through an Education Trust Fund administered by the Parliamentary Skills Centre (PSC) on behalf of the Australian Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). It provides information technology and broadcasting equipment, as well as procedural upskilling and technical training in Hansard and drafting legislation.

The program builds on established twinning arrangements between Australian and Pacific parliaments which are members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). The following Australian parliaments currently participate in the program through their links with Pacific parliaments:

  • Australian Capital Territory – Kiribati
  • New South Wales – Solomon Islands and Bougainville House of Representatives
  • Northern Territory – Niue
  • Queensland – Papua New Guinea; Vanuatu
  • South Australia – Tonga
  • Tasmania – Samoa
  • Victoria – Fiji; Nauru; Tuvalu
  • Western Australia – Cook Islands

Pacific Parliamentary Partnerships are coordinated by the Parliamentary Skills Centre (PSC). 

Inter-Parliamentary Study Program

The Inter-Parliamentary Study Program (IPSP) brings together parliamentary staff from around the world to:

  • Learn about the procedures and practices of the Australian Parliament
  • Share knowledge, ideas and experiences of parliamentary processes and administration
  • Reflect on their own parliamentary practices and how they can be developed
  • Establish networks for ongoing information sharing among parliamentary staff

The annual program runs for two weeks, typically late February – early March.

Week one involves a series of presentations by senior Australian parliamentary officers outlining the history, structure, procedures and operations of the Australian Parliament, including its two chambers – the House of Representatives and the Senate – along with the departments which support the parliament: Department of the House of Representatives, Department of the Senate, Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliamentary Budget Office.

Week two is scheduled for participants to view the Parliament in session and observe processes in practice. Visits to key sections of the Parliament enable in-depth exploration of procedures and administration. Participants also meet with specialists to allow for detailed discussion around matters of special interest.

IPSP can accommodate up to 16 participants. The program is designed for senior parliamentary officials with sufficient employment experience in their home parliaments to make the program worthwhile. Information is often of a technical nature and is therefore better suited to those who are so inclined.

The program is conducted at Australian Parliament House in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

Below: Inter-Parliamentary Study Program participants at Parliament House.

Inter Parliamentary Study Program participants at Parliament House