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Kedgley calls for cross-party no-bullying pact

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling for a cross-party working group to end violence and bullying in Parliament, following a children's report condemning the aggressive culture of Parliament.

The report by a group of Wellington High School students, which visited Parliament on November 5 during the YWCA Week Without Violence, urges parliamentarians to take responsibility for their own behaviour and put a stop to violence in the House.

Ms Kedgley said she supported this recommendation 100 per cent and would be urging all MPs to join her in rising to the challenge.

Ms Kedgley has today written to the leaders of all parties seeking their support for a notice of motion she intends to table on Tuesday November 19, which will call for a cross-party working party to examine ways of improving the culture of Parliament The draft notice of motion also calls for [NB:paraphrased - see notice of motion below for full text]:

- All MPs to lead by example and take personal responsibility for their own behaviour and put a stop to violence in the House, and - MPs to take peer mediation training and a course on effective problem resolution, and put these skills to use.

Ms Kedgley said today the report by the Wellington High School Parliamentary Observer Team confirmed everything she had ever felt about the behaviour in the House.

"It's a sad indictment that instead of looking to Parliament as a role model and inspiration, young people see it as a hostile, adversarial and bullying environment. Verbal violence can be as destructive and damaging as physical violence. We have to be very conscious we are role models. Children observe the House most days on tours," Ms Kedgley said.

"In some areas, such as select committees, there is often excellent cross-party work and a constructive, positive working environment. It is sad that this seems to break down as soon as MPs enter the debating chamber."

Ms Kedgley stressed that her initiative was not aimed at any particular MPs or parties: "We all have to take responsibility. I am calling on all MPs to support our draft motion," she said.

* Wellington High School Parliamentary Observer Team Report attached as a Word document

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