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Parliamentary democracy on conference agenda

Media Release

14 August 2006

Parliamentary democracy on conference agenda

The 28th regional conference of the Australian and Pacific regions of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meets in Wellington this week.

Fifty-three delegates from eight countries will meet in the debating chamber at Parliament from tomorrow through to Friday. The conference will be chaired by the Speaker, Hon Margaret Wilson, who is also President of the New Zealand branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).

Ms Wilson said the CPA, irrespective of the gender, race, religion or culture of its members, promoted knowledge and understanding of parliamentary democracy and respect for the rule of law, individual rights and freedoms.

‘This interchange of views under the CPA’s umbrella is something to be treasured,’ she said.

‘As recent world events graphically illustrate, parliamentary democracy is a fragile concept. Those of us lucky enough to live and work in countries which, irrespective of gender, race, religion or culture, are united by a community of interest and respect for the rule of law and individual rights and freedom, must continue to pursue and promote the positive ideals of parliamentary democracy.

‘Forums such as this offer members from various political parties the opportunity to come together for formal and informal discussion and debate on issues that affect us all.

‘It is through these exchanges that we grow to understand each other’s perspectives on a particular issue.

‘Such understanding is essential if conflicts are to be resolved peacefully.’

The keynote address ‘Stable Government and the Role of Parliament’ will be presented tomorrow morning by Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer, President of the New Zealand Law Commission. Foreign Affairs Minister Rt Hon Winston Peters will speak on ‘Influences in the Pacific’ on Wednesday morning.

Other papers to be presented range from ‘Multi-Party Government in Fiji’ and ‘Global Warming and Sea Level Rise’ to ‘Can Indigenous Cultures be recognised in a Parliamentary Democracy?’.

Once the conference agenda has been agreed, members of the public and the media are welcome to attend.


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