PNG | “I see, I remember”: a visit to Parliament House by the Speaker and Clerks of the PNG Parliament | Canberra | 3-4 June 2013
Since August 2012, the Centre for Democratic Institutions has been supporting the Speaker of the PNG Parliament and his senior management team, as they undertake the daunting task of restoring, reforming and modernising the PNG Parliament. Joint activities have included an Induction program for new and returning MPs after the 2012 elections, a workshop for Committee Chairs (and another one for Committee Secretaries), retreats to discuss the role of the Speaker, consultative workshops to develop a Corporate Plan for the Parliamentary Service, and visits to other Parliaments - see the table below for links to these activities.
CDI worked with the International and Community Relations Office (ICRO) at the Australian Parliament to develop a two-day program for the PNG Speaker and members of his management team, including his newly appointed Clerk, Mr Vela Konivaro.
The program focused on areas of interest for the Speaker, including:
- Speaker – Clerk relations
- Chamber support services
- The role of the Speakers Panel
- Parliamentary administration
- The operation of House committees; and
- Community engagement.
When Mr Konivaro arrived in Canberra for the visit, he had been Clerk of the National Parliament of PNG for just three weeks. Other members of the group included the Deputy Clerk, Mr Simon Ila; the Serjeant-at-Arms, Mr Lalai Vali; and First Secretary to the Speaker, Mr Danny Puli. CDI Program Manager, Bronwen Harvey, accompanied the group throughout the visit.
The PNG group received a warm welcome from everyone they met at the Parliament. Although it was a sitting week, the Speaker, the Hon Anna Burke, other MPs and the Clerk and staff were generous with their time and happy to answer questions and share their parliamentary experiences.
Again and again the Papua New Guineans commented on how valuable it was to see examples of good parliamentary and administrative practice, and talked about their desire to “try this at home”.
The Program included:
- Observation of Speaker’s meeting with the Clerk at the beginning of a sitting day
- Meeting with the Table Office and with Hansard
- Lunch with members of the Speakers Panel
- Observation of Question Time (during which Speaker Zurenuoc was invited to take a seat in the Chamber)
- Tour of Broadcasting facilities
- Meeting with Chair of the Privileges Committee
- Observation of the Clerk’s weekly management meeting
- Discussions with the Clerk and Deputy Clerk
- Meeting with Secretary of Department of Parliamentary Services, followed by a tour of Parliament House and the ABC studios
- Lunch with Senator Thistlethwaite, Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs
- Observation of Senate Estimates
- Meeting with Senior Adviser to the Speaker
- Meeting with Chair and Deputy Chair of the Procedure Committee
- Call on the Speaker and A/President of the Senate, followed by dinner in the Speaker’s Suite
The staff from ICRO were extremely supportive and happy to accommodate last minute requests. As a result the PNG group were also able to observe the Federation Chamber as well as have an impromptu meeting with Mr Richard Marles, MP, who has an ongoing interest in PNG politics. CDI would like to extend our thanks to Speaker Burke, Clerk Bernard Wright, Ms Onu Palm and the ICRO team and all the MPs, Senators and staff who made the visit such a success.
Click on the links in the sidebar for more on this activity and related work with the PNG National Parliament: