Speaker and Clerk of the House to meet regional counterparts
Speaker Rt Hon Trevor Mallard and Clerk of the House David Wilson will join their counterparts from around the Pacific and Australia for the 50th Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference. Taking place from 8 to 13 July, this year’s conference will be hosted by the Parliament of Queensland.
The programme includes a keynote address from Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Harvey Hoyle MP, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, United Kingdom; jurisdiction reports from across the region; and a special panel of eminent former Speakers and Clerks to mark the conference’s 50th anniversary.
Trevor Mallard said, “The annual gathering is an excellent opportunity to hear about different ways of doing things, challenge our assumptions, and test new ideas. New Zealand is looked upon as having policies and practices that are useful models for others, such as our select committee system and our innovative approaches to making Parliament an inclusive and diverse institution. However, we are also constantly evolving and I am always looking for ways to make the New Zealand Parliament a more effective, inclusive and engaging institution.”
Papers will be presented on a variety of themes including the administration of Parliament and precincts; balancing security and access to the House; and Parliament’s education and communication functions.
The Speaker will present a paper titled "Fit-for-Purpose Parliament: reviewing and enhancing parliamentary effectiveness", in which he will encourage other Presiding Officers and Clerks to ensure their Parliaments regularly update and improve their procedures and operations. He suggests that while there are important traditions to maintain, and parliamentary rules are constitutional in nature and should be amended only with broad support, a regular review process enables Parliaments to remain relevant and effective.
The Speaker noted that the annual conference is also an opportunity to further commitments to strengthen parliamentary democracy in the Pacific. Meetings of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) regions are held at the conference. Following the conference, a workshop for Pacific Presiding Officers – an initiative started in Tonga in 2016 – will again be run in parallel to a workshop on Technical Assistance to Parliaments.