Twinning bilong yumi

Page 1

Twinning bilong yumi 10 years of parliamentary twinning

Autonomous Region of Bougainville House of Representatives National Parliament of Solomon Islands Parliament of New South Wales

Celebrating 10 years of democracy and friendship It gives us great pleasure to introduce Twinning bilong yumi.1 This booklet charts the course of our 10-year twinning relationship with the Bougainville House of Representatives and the National Parliament of Solomon Islands. And what an amazing decade it has been. As you will see from the booklet and commemorative video, twinning has promoted collaboration and cooperation between our houses, fostered democratic values in our region and forged long lasting friendships. We look forward to the next 10 years of our parliamentary partnership. The Hon Shelley Hancock MP

The Hon John Ajaka MLC

Above: New South Wales Parliament Presiding Officers: the Hon Shelley Hancock, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the Hon John Ajaka, President of the Legislative Council. 1 This phrase in Tok Pisin means ‘twinning belongs to you and me.’ It has the same meaning in Solomon Islands Pijin, although ‘yumi’ is spelt ‘iumi’ and ‘bilong’ is spelt ‘blong’ in Solomon Islands. 2

What is twinning? The twinning program, initiated by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in 2007, links every Australian state and territory parliament with one or more parliaments in the Pacific region. Twinning is designed to promote collaboration and understanding between parliaments to ensure they each fulfil their legislative, representative and oversight roles. Other twinned parliaments include: § Australian Capital Territory – Kiribati § Northern Territory – Niue § Queensland – Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu § South Australia – Tonga § Victoria – Fiji, Nauru and Tuvalu § Tasmania – Samoa § Western Australia – Cook Islands. Like all strong relationships, twinning is a longterm partnership built on collaboration and understanding, and one that puts people first. In the last 10 years, our twinning relationships have grown and flourished, introducing our members and staff to new experiences and new friends, as we promote democratic values.

Bougainville kicks off the celebrations The first of several events to celebrate the 10th anniversary of twinning took place in Buka on 15 June 2017, coinciding with the annual ‘ABG Day’ which marks the establishment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in 2005. ‘Twinning has made such a difference to our parliament; we wanted to make sure it was acknowledged on one of the most important days of the year,’ says the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Simon Pentanu. The New South Wales flag flew proudly along with the flag of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, and the Speaker read a joint statement from the Presiding Officers of the New South Wales Parliament. A week later, the New South Wales Presiding Officers reaffirmed their support for twinning in a joint statement to their respective Houses.

Above: Dignitaries including the Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives, the Hon Simon Pentanu, and the Clerk, Robert Tapi, gather on 15 June 2017 in Buka to mark the establishment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in 2005.


At a glance Bougainville:

Solomon Islands:

§A n autonomous region of Papua New Guinea.

§A nation located east of Papua New Guinea.

§C omprises two main islands – Bougainville and Buka – and many assorted outlying islands and atolls.

§A scattered Melanesian archipelago extending over nearly 1,000 islands comprising nine main island groups.

§C apital: Buka. The other main town centres are Arawa and Buin.

§C apital: Honiara, on Guadalcanal, the largest island.

§P opulation: approximately 250,000.

§P opulation: approximately 600,000.

§L anguage: there are at least 19 different language groups in Bougainville; while Tok Pisin is the common language, English is widely used in government and commerce.

§L anguage: there are 63 distinct indigenous languages and numerous local dialects. English is the official language but Solomon Islands Pijin is widely spoken.

Our twinned parliaments Bougainville House of Representatives

National Parliament of Solomon Islands

Parliament of New South Wales




41 members

50 members

135 members, 93 in Legislative Assembly

(including a Speaker)

(and a Speaker)

(including a Speaker)

42 in Legislative Council (including a President)








Twinning has promoted collaboration and cooperation between our houses, fostered democratic values in our region and forged long lasting friendships. – New South Wales Presiding Officers


A two-way street From the earliest days of twinning it was obvious that even an established legislature could learn from its younger counterparts. In 2009, Julie Langsworth, former Clerk Assistant – Procedure in the Legislative Council, spent three weeks working in Solomon Islands, and soon discovered that when it comes to twinning, the benefits go in both directions. Julie, now the Deputy Executive Manager of the Department of Parliamentary Services, worked on an inquiry into the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and travelled with the committee across the Solomons to conduct regional hearings over a two-week period. ‘Given the nature of the inquiry, committee members thought it was extremely important to hear directly from citizens, especially those living in the provinces,’ she says.


As Julie recalls, the logistics were incredibly complex and this was the first time staff had organised such extensive hearings. The hearings were a great success, despite the challenges. ‘The secretariat had to organise venues, accommodation, catering and all transport, which included arranging for witnesses to come from the outer islands, usually by boat. They even had to negotiate funding for each leg of the journey during the trip. I just watched on in awe,’ says Julie. ‘While the venues were simple, local structures, beautifully decorated by the local community, the staff had sourced all the mod cons, including mics and recording equipment.’

Above: The Committee inquiring into RAMSI takes evidence during a regional hearing.

I gained valuable insights into how to be flexible and agile when faced with challenging issues. – Julie Langsworth, Deputy Executive Manager of the Department of Parliamentary Services

Left (L to R): With twinning, the learning goes both ways. Julie and her colleagues from NPSI: Arol Kimi, Jean Resana, Ellen Rii and Julie Langsworth.

Piggy-back workshops for children Julie was especially impressed with how the Parliament’s Education team “piggy-backed” on the committee hearings. ‘While we were setting up and conducting the hearings, the Education Team conducted awareness workshops with school children about the role of Parliament and the work of the committee, running 32 workshops in total. It was a brilliant idea – why hadn’t we thought of it!’ Back home, Julie promoted the education outreach work to her colleagues and the Department of the Legislative Council soon commenced a similar program – ‘and they’ve been doing it ever since!’ says Julie. David Kusilifu, Deputy Clerk of the National

Parliament of Solomon Islands, is proud that the New South Wales Parliament could learn from their Pacific counterparts: ‘We have been proud of that and we brag about it a little bit in terms of – “Look, it’s not just about them coming; it’s also them learning our practices.”’ For Julie, her time working with the Solomon Islands Parliament was a highlight of her career. ‘I was able to offer advice and support based on my many years of organising parliamentary committee inquiries and writing complex reports. But it was also a development opportunity for me. I gained valuable insights into how to be flexible and agile when faced with challenging issues, as well as exposure to initiatives such as the education program. It was most definitely a two-way street!’ 7

The ‘joy’ of procedure: making the standing orders work for Bougainville ‘Joy’ is not a word usually associated with the detailed and exacting work of a parliamentary clerk. But for Bougainville’s First Clerk Assistant Peter Topura, and his colleague, the Deputy Clerk Edwin Kenehata, it is synonymous with a successful twinning partnership. In 2010 the Bougainville House of Representatives (BHOR) had only been in existence for five years. Edwin, then Education Officer in the BHOR, spent three months observing the Legislative Assembly in New South Wales, the first attachment under the twinning partnership between New South Wales and Bougainville. On the conclusion of his visit, Edwin recommended the establishment of a Procedure Office in Bougainville: ‘I could see from observing the operations in New South Wales that a dedicated Procedure Office would improve support to members of the House, including administrative and procedural services.’ Later in 2010, Susan Want, then Director of the Procedure Office in the Legislative Council, was one of four staff members from New South Wales to visit Bougainville. Susan’s main goal was to focus on the House and its procedures and to assist

We borrowed from procedures in use around the world – from New South Wales, the Australian Parliament, New Zealand and even the House of Commons. –P eter Topura, First Clerk Assistant, Bougainville House of Representatives


in the establishment of the Procedure Office. Of this visit Susan says: ‘The House of Representatives was sitting and it was fascinating to see it in session – it was clearly a Westminster-style parliament, but it was so different to what I knew. Being a consensus parliament, there was no sign of the adversarial approach that I was used to, which made a big difference to the culture of the House.’ Susan’s role in Bougainville was to work mostly with Peter Topura and Edwin Kenahata, who comprised the newly established Procedure Office. ‘We spent a lot of time talking about the rules of procedure and about the practices that had developed in the House, how some didn’t seem to suit the culture or nature of the House and how others didn’t operate as the rules intended.’ Peter Topura recalls the practice of the House at that time: ‘A lot of time of the House was taken up by statements by the President and Ministers, question time was not working properly and members had little opportunity to speak about their constituencies. I felt that our procedures weren’t helping members to fulfil their role in scrutinising the executive or representing their constituencies.’ After the visit, Susan recommended that Peter spend some time in the New South Wales Parliament under the twinning partnership. Tapping into the experience and knowledge of New South Wales staff allowed Peter to gain skills and experience in parliamentary procedure, to better address the challenges that he had identified in the operations of the House.

Edwin Kenahata and Peter Topura consolidate their skills and knowledge in the Procedure Office of the BHOR.

After two months in Sydney in 2011, working closely with Susan and Jenelle Moore in the Legislative Council Procedure Office, Peter better understood the work of a busy Procedure Office and how they managed papers, databases and preparations for the House. ‘It was also great to talk about ideas and prepare options that the Standing Orders Committee could consider. We borrowed from procedures in use around the world – from New South Wales, the Australian Parliament, New Zealand and even the House of Commons,’ explains Peter. ‘These included new procedures to regulate debate on statements made by the President and ministers; new opportunities for members to table reports and speak to constituency or other topical matters; and new provisions relating to the role and powers of committees,’ he said.

Upon his return, Peter presented a report to the BHOR Standing Orders Committee proposing a limited number of changes to the standing orders. The committee welcomed Peter’s suggestions and subsequently developed further revisions, ably supported by Peter and the Clerk, Robert Tapi. Over the next three years, during attachments, teleconferences and email correspondence between Peter, Susan, Jenelle and Simon Johnston, then twinning coordinator, further revisions to the standing orders were workshopped and redrafted. Throughout this process Peter regularly briefed the Clerk and the Chair of the Standing Orders Committee, ensuring he was on the right track to meet their expectations. A comprehensive report containing wide-ranging and innovative reforms was submitted to the Standing Orders


Committee, accompanied by explanations and background information. The Committee adopted the report and, on its recommendation, the revised procedures were subsequently adopted by the House. The result? ‘Now the standing orders work for the people!’ enthuses Peter. ‘The revised standing orders have had a noticeable impact on the House. Members report feeling that they are more effectively meeting their responsibilities as representatives of their constituencies and have an increased ability to hold the government accountable.’

I feel that the members are much more confident in the advice provided by the Clerks. – Edwin Kenehata, Deputy Clerk, Bougainville House of Representatives

The Clerk, Robert Tapi has no doubts that the grow,’ observes Peter. ‘The Autonomous collaboration between parliaments under the Region of Bougainville is taking on more twinning arrangement has been of great benefit. and more responsibility for the delivery of ‘The attachment program has not only assisted services to the community, and the House us to improve and develop parliamentary of Representatives will play a key role in practice here in the House of Representatives, assisting the Government by holding it and but really developed the knowledge and skills the public sector to account.’ of the procedure team. The roles Peter and Edwin played in researching and drafting ‘Joy’ is not a word usually associated the new standing orders, supporting the with the detailed and exacting work of committee, delivering an education program a parliamentary clerk. But this was the to members and implementing change has adjective used by Peter Topura, in his report firmly cemented the role of the Procedure to the clerks of the twinned parliaments Office in the minds of members.’ following his 2011 attachment: ‘The joy of procedure is when a procedure team has the Edwin, now the Deputy Clerk, agrees with capacity and expertise to support honorable this view: ‘I feel that the members are much members, and the rules of the House work more confident in the advice provided by the for the members in representing their Clerks,’ he adds. constituencies,’ says Peter. This will be all the more important as Bougainville seeks to demonstrate a stable and effective parliament as it moves toward a referendum on independence in 2019. ‘The standing orders must evolve as Bougainville grows, and as the expectations of the people

Top twinning takeaways: § The objectives of an attachment need to originate from the Pacific parliament and be as practical as possible. § Repeat attachments, and ongoing contact between attachments, allow staff to maintain focus on goals and to build on relationships.


Secretariat staff at work on the Bougainville Public Accounts Committee’s first report: from left to right, Ignatious Hamal, Pais Otimo and Douglas Pisi.

A strong Public Accounts Committee One of the first priorities for twinning was to build capacity in key areas, including committees. It soon became clear that Pacific legislatures could learn from their Pacific neighbours as well as their Australian twins.

Building capacity in the committee system has been a priority area for our Parliament since the early days of twinning. We wanted to become a committee-oriented parliament,’ says Robert Tapi, Clerk of the Bougainville House of Representatives. As Robert explains, members felt that having a strong and active PAC was particularly important given Bougainville didn’t have its own Auditor-General or Ombudsman: ‘Members were aware that allegations about the misuse of public money were not being properly investigated and that this was troubling the community.’ Former New South Wales Parliament twinning coordinator, Simon Johnston, worked with his twinning colleagues to develop a plan. 11

A third attachment in 2011 focused on preparing the second report for the Bougainville Public Accounts Committee. Rachel Callinan and her secretariat colleagues Douglas and Barbra Kova.

‘We needed to understand why the committee had not completed any inquiries before we worked out how to address the issue,’ says Simon. So in 2011, after completing the Centre for Democratic Institutions’ Effective Parliamentary Committee Inquiries Course in Sydney, two staff from the Bougainville PAC spent time with their counterparts from the Solomon Islands and New South Wales Parliaments discussing the challenges they were facing. According to Simon, it was not surprising that a new legislature like Bougainville would look to its Pacific neighbours for ideas about developing the committee system. ‘As a near12

It was a privilege to spend time with my parliamentary colleagues in Buka who made me feel so very welcome. – Rachel Callinan, Clerk Assistant (Table), Australian Senate

neighbour example of an active PAC that had faced some of the same problems in the recent past, the Solomon Islands staff were able to offer valuable, practical solutions.’ ‘One of the key barriers we identified was that while committee staff had a good understanding of the principles of committee inquiries, they had very little practical experience of conducting them, and so their confidence levels were quite low.’

A plan for success The New South Wales and Bougainville Parliaments agreed to organise a series of attachments over the following year where experienced New South Wales committee officers would spend up to a month working with PAC staff in Buka. During the first attachment in March 2011, Vicki Buchbach, then Committee Manager to the Legislative Assembly’s PAC, assisted the Bougainville secretariat to prepare draft terms of reference for an inquiry into public housing, and these were subsequently adopted by the committee.

a distance and through the lens of essential parliamentary processes. And on a personal level, it was a privilege to spend time with my parliamentary colleagues in Buka who made me feel so very welcome.’ Since that attachment, the PAC has successfully undertaken and concluded two further inquiries: one into the use of government vehicles, and the other examining claims of misuse of public funds on a government impact project.

PAC staff organised two public hearings for the new inquiry before the arrival of the next officer from the New South Wales Parliament, whose main role was to assist them to prepare the draft report. The committee adopted the report, and at the same meeting, resolved to conduct their second inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the sale and purchase of two inter-island ferries.

The Director of Committees, Donald Misang, believes that the attachments (including his own with the New South Wales Parliament) not only helped to improve officers’ confidence in parliamentary procedure, they also helped staff to develop effective administrative systems. ‘The outstanding benefit that we gained from the attachments was the development of templates and administrative processes to deal with day to day PAC business, which was also embraced by other committees,’ he says.

Rachel Callinan, now the Clerk Assistant (Table) in the Australian Senate, then worked with the team during a third attachment to finalise the committee’s second report. Rachel has fond memories of her time in Buka.

And like most effective twinning initiatives, it is important for members to see that the arrangements are good for their legislature, which is clearly the case for the Hon Cosmos Sohia, Former PAC Chairman.

‘In addition to assisting the secretariat to consolidate the skills they had developed during the first two attachments, I gained a lot from the experience myself, both professionally and personally,’ she says. ‘It provided a rare opportunity to consider my own knowledge base and work practices from

‘Staff in Parliament today who received committee training through the twinning arrangement are contributing to knowledge as far as committee work is concerned. And they are doing it with confidence thanks to your professional coaching,’ he said.

Top twinning takeaways: § One-off attachments are rarely as productive as a series of attachments which allow for staff from each of the legislatures to get to know each other and to monitor progress on a project or professional objective. § Pacific legislatures have much to learn from their Pacific peers, not just from their Australian twins.


Shaking things up and sharing the lessons It’s not often you can describe an event as truly earth-shaking, but the July 2012 Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference held in Honiara, Solomon Islands was exactly that when a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Solomon Islands on the evening of 25 July. Fortunately there was no loss of life, and minimal damage throughout the nation, but it certainly focused participants’ attention in a way no conference ice-breaker could. By 2012, the three parliaments had years of successful activities behind them and strong relationships had developed, especially between the senior staff of all three organisations as they managed collaborative projects and attachments of staff between the jurisdictions. ‘We thought to ourselves, “How can we share what we have learnt with other parliaments in the same situation?” Then we realised we could use the Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference as a platform,’ says former Solomon Islands Clerk, Taeasi Sanga. The timing was perfect. The Australian Parliament had recently secured funding to support twinning arrangements between the other Australian states and Pacific nations, so Presiding Officers and Clerks from those parliaments were receptive to the lessons learnt from the pioneering parliaments of Solomon Islands, Bougainville and New South Wales. Here was an opportunity for other twinned parliaments to meet face-to-

The Twinning workshop brought all those people together in the one place, an incubator of ideas and enthusiasm. –S imon Johnston, former twinning coordinator, Parliament of New South Wales


face to kick-start their relationship, in a Pacific setting, and to plan future activities to make the best use of the new funds. A stand-alone twinning conference was held immediately after the Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference. Delegates from Solomon Islands, Bougainville and New South Wales led the participants through the projects undertaken up until that point, demonstrating how crucial communication and collaboration had been to the methodology underpinning the twinning model, which included: § identifying the Solomon Islands and Bougainville parliaments’ priority areas § building relationships and understanding over the long-term § initiating activities to build on the priority areas and consolidate lessons learned. ‘Twinning between parliaments can work, and by 2012 we’d demonstrated that. You need understanding – of the needs of the developing parliaments, of the expectations of all parties and the differing context within which each parliament operates. But at its centre is a good relationship between the Clerks, and the support of the Presiding Officers,’says the Deputy Clerk of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, David Kusilifu. ‘For smaller parliaments like ours, one of the benefits of the twinning arrangement is knowing that you have a friend who you can talk to for advice and support,’ David adds. Subsequent Presiding Officers and Clerks Conferences have incorporated a session in which twinned parliaments can meet and discuss progress and future activities – a lasting legacy of the twinning conference.

Representatives of the three twinned parliaments participate in a 2012 workshop in Honiara which provided an opportunity to share twinning lessons.

Sharing the lessons Following the conference in Honiara, a threeday twinning workshop was held for staff of the three twinned parliaments.

Parliament staff stayed on to work with their Solomon Islands counterparts on procedure, committees and information technology.

‘Good coordination of activities is important – to ensure there is a good match between personalities, capacities and priorities,’ comments then twinning coordinator, Simon Johnston. ‘The twinning workshop brought all those people together in the one place, an incubator of ideas and enthusiasm.’

The workshop was also an opportunity for staff of the two Pacific parliaments to compare and contrast their experiences over the previous two years. Activities in both parliaments had proceeded in slightly different ways, but the principles applied were the same, so there was plenty of common ground.

The workshop was an intensive event with practical outcomes that formed the basis for attachments and exchanges in priority areas for years to come. It drew on the activities conducted in the previous two years – particularly in the areas of Committees and Procedure – and saw already strong relationships strengthened further, and new relationships and understandings developed between staff of the two Pacific neighbours. Following the workshop, New South Wales

‘The workshop – and the twinning relationship generally – provides an environment to step back and assess your own parliament, to appreciate the work we do and understand that each parliament has its own unique challenges,’ says David Kusilifu. ‘With three parliaments involved, there are different minds and different experiences able to look at challenges from different perspectives, a very useful thing!’

Top twinning takeaways: § Successful twinning requires leadership from the Presiding Officers and Clerks. § Building understanding and respect between twinned parliaments takes time.


The CWP Australian region has had a specific focus on Pacific Women since 2014. Attendees at its July 2015 conference in Sydney included, from left to right, Rose Brown MP (Cook Islands), Catherine Cusack MLC, Liz Behjat MLC (Western Australia), Linda Burney MP and Rosie Batty.

Women at work Bougainville

Solomon Islands

§B ougainville has the Pacific’s only system of reserved parliamentary seats for women.

§S ince Independence in 1978, only three women members have been elected to the 50seat National Parliament of Solomon Islands:

§U nder the constitution, women are reserved three parliamentary seats and one Cabinet position in the 41-seat House of Representatives. §T he four current female members are: the Hon Francisca Semoso, the Hon Marcelline Kokiai, the Hon Isabel Peta and the Hon Josephine Getsi. § I n 2015 the Hon Josephine Getsi was the first woman to win an open seat, a significant milestone in Bougainville’s political history.

§ the Hon Hilda Kari in the 1980s § the Hon Vika Lusibaea in 2012 § the Hon Freda Soria Comua in 2014, currently the only female member in the parliament. § Attempts to introduce a reserved seats system for women in the National Parliament have so far been unsuccessful.

New South Wales § One of the first places in the world to give women the right to vote and stand as political candidates, however the representation of women in both houses is only 27 per cent. § The 27 female members in the 93-seat Legislative Assembly include the Premier, four ministers, one parliamentary secretary and two deputy whips. § The nine female members in the 42-seat Legislative Council include one minister, one parliamentary secretary and a whip. 16

Women everywhere face challenges to get elected… but these challenges are so much greater for women in the Pacific. – The Hon Catherine Cusack, former Chair of the CWP Australian Region

Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians working with their sister twins The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (Australian Region) is a network of women parliamentarians committed to increasing women’s representation in politics, including the number and capacity of female members in Pacific parliaments. ‘Women everywhere face challenges to get elected,’ says the Hon Catherine Cusack MLC, the former Chair of the CWP Australian Region. ‘These include economic and educational barriers as well as entrenched views about gender roles. But these challenges are so much greater for women in the Pacific, which has the lowest rate of female Parliamentary representation in the world.’ The CWP Australian Region established a sub-committee in 2014 with the aim of increasing the focus on Pacific women and their political involvement, a goal which is

also captured in the CWP Strategic Plan for 2014-18, and expressed in numerous initiatives supported by the CWP. ‘A recent initiative occurred in June 2016, when we organised a delegation of four women parliamentarians from Bougainville’s House of Representatives: the Hon Francesca Semoso, the Hon Josephine Getsi, the Hon Marcelline Kokiai, and the Hon Isabel Peta,’ Catherine recalls. According to Jenny Aitchison, Chair of the New South Wales Branch of the CWP who hosted the visit, the experience was unique:

Rosie Batty and Hon Francesca Semoso. 17

‘It was a bit different from some of our other activities because we [the CWP] partnered with non-parliamentary organisations such as the Lowy Institute and the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Program. I think reaching out to a range of different partners meant the experience was even more valuable for our twinned parliaments,’ says Jenny.

I am also delighted to report that 50 per cent of members elected at the Community Government elections in March 2017 were women. I believe that we will continue to progress in our endeavours as women leaders of Bougainville.’

‘I remember the fascinating discussion between the Bougainville MPs and the panel of women we arranged to workshop ideas. They were particularly interested to hear from Ann Sherry, the CEO of Carnival Cruises, whose extensive experience in the tourism industry meant she was the perfect person to brainstorm how Bougainville might seek to develop its infrastructure to attract tourists.’ The Hon Isabel Peta recalls: ‘During our visit I learnt and experienced a lot of things I can do to help build women’s leadership capacity… After our visit we established a Parliamentary Gender equality committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker, the Hon Francesca Semoso.

It was … different from some of our other activities because we [the CWP] partnered with non-parliamentary organisations such as the Lowy Institute and the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Program. –M s Jenny Aitchison, Chair of the NSW Branch of the CWP


Women members from Bougainville at a CWP event in June 2016 gain inspiration from meeting with other MPs and community leaders. From left to right: Jonathan Pryke, Hon Marcelline Kokiai, Hon Isabel Peta, Hon Josephine Getsi, Ann Sherry, Jessica Siriosi, Jenny Aitchison MP, the Hon Francesca Semoso, Trish Doyle MP and Rachel Simpson.

A year earlier, in July 2015, the region hosted a Conference which brought together Members of Parliament from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. The Hon Catherine Cusack, who was one of the conference co-patrons, along with the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP and the Hon Linda Burney MP, recalls a memorable couple of days. ‘Conference attendees participated in various sessions and panels on women’s representation in Parliament and life after politics. We also organised for the visiting MPs to meet with some of our own members, as well as staffers from the Department of Family and Community Services to discuss domestic violence, which I think they found very useful. And of course none of us will forget the particularly moving moment between Bougainville MP Francesca Semoso and former Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, during Rosie’s presentation,’ says Catherine.

Kicking goals (on and off the field)

Keen netballers participate in a coaching clinic organised as part of a July 2017 leadership seminar on Sport and Elections in Honiara.

A girl can learn a lot on the sports field: teamwork, resilience, mental and physical fitness – all important elements of effective leadership. As Shadow Minister for Sport in the New South Wales Legislative Council, the Hon Lynda Voltz MLC is only too aware of the link between sport and gender equality: ‘A lot of international and national organisations, including the UN, are using sport to address gender barriers and develop women’s leadership potential,’ says Lynda. So Lynda’s ‘brainwave’ while visiting Honiara in 2016 under the auspices of the twinning program was not entirely left field. ‘I met up with some fantastic women through the Young Women’s Leadership program and the link was instantly made between leadership qualities and sports involvement. Given the low level of women’s representation

across the Pacific including the Solomons, there was an obvious opportunity to promote and empower women and girls into leadership roles through sport,’ Lynda recalls. Given her passion for and background in sport, and being a member of parliament, Lynda decided to organise a women’s leadership seminar on Sports and Elections. ‘My colleagues in the New South Wales Branch of the CWP were really keen, as was the Australian High Commission, so I was able to enlist some very impressive women to present at the seminar,’ she says By July 2017 the logistics were in place for Lynda and the team to head to Honiara. 19

‘And what an amazing team they were, including CWP Deputy Chair and member for Maitland, Jenny Aitchison MP; marathon runner, Jane Fardell; the President of the Bankstown Touch Football Association, Kylie Mazloum; Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and the Hunter, Kate Washington MP; former Deputy Mayor of Leichhardt Council, Linda Kelly; and Netball New South Wales Head Coach, Pate Cooper.’ By all accounts, the seminar hit the mark: ‘All sorts of women came along, with varying levels of political or leadership experience. We focused on how to run low cost campaigns, using local issues to gather supporters and how to think beyond the traditional campaign methods. Many women told us that they had never thought about sport as having an impact in politics, or that election campaigns don’t have to come down to having lots of money,’ says Lynda. In addition to the seminar, the delegates organised several coaching clinics both for elite players and girls. The girls program

The Hon Lynda Voltz MLC and fellow presenters of the leadership seminar on Sport and Elections worked with netballers on their sport and political skills.


was built around New South Wales Netball’s program “Empowering Girls Through Sport” which according to Lynda has been a great success both in New South Wales and overseas. ‘The elite training was an important tool for players approaching the next Pacific Games in 2018 but it also laid the foundations for a return visit. Next year we will try to expand the program so more girls and elite women players across netball, touch football and rugby sevens have access to the same opportunities as New South Wales players. This will help build a foundation for girls and women moving into non-traditional sports and open up more opportunities, particularly in leadership, for women in Solomon Islands.’ Jenny Aitchison recalls it as a very special event: ‘With sports leaders in netball, marathon and triathlon and women’s rugby, it was a unique approach to developing leadership skills to try and improve the representation of women in the Solomons, where only one of the nation’s 50 parliamentarians is a woman,’ says Jenny.

From challenge to change: building a new Procedure Office in Solomon Islands Training and developing new talent – a twinning success story Asked to nominate her favourite memories of an attachment to the New South Wales Parliament, Jean Resana from the National Parliament of Solomon Islands can’t go past her daily trips on Sydney’s harbour ferries: ‘The practical skills I developed were the most valuable aspect of the attachment, but my favourite moments were travelling to and from work on the ferry – sailing past the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House was always a thrill!’ Jean’s daily travels took her to the Legislative Council Procedure Office, which had the pleasure of hosting her attachment from March to May 2012. At the time, Jean was the Executive Personal Secretary to the Clerk of the National Parliament, but her standout performance in the role had prompted the senior clerks to request her assistance

in establishing a new Procedure Office. Recognising that there was limited scope to develop practical training in the role at home, the clerks arranged for Jean to work with procedural officers in New South Wales. Jean recalls the difficulties of setting up the new office: ‘As the person earmarked to be the sole member of staff for the new Procedure Office, I had no concept of the tasks the office would undertake, other than producing House papers. I needed to understand the work that would be required and my place in the broader events of a sitting day. I also wasn’t sure what I would do when the House wasn’t sitting – I needed to see a Procedure Office in action!’ As a new Procedure Officer, Jean Resana was keen to learn how things worked in a parliament with a long history, and a large volume of records. 21

Jean was also keen to find solutions to some of the day-to-day records management problems faced in her Parliament. ‘Storage and retrieval of tabled papers and bills was a real issue, and we knew the volume of documents would only increase over time,’ she says. ‘I was interested to see if we could learn from the systems in a parliament with a long history and a high volume of records flowing through the office, like New South Wales.’ Staff from the New South Wales Legislative Council Procedure Office recognised Jean’s enthusiasm for her work and gave her the chance to fill a short-term vacancy in the team. As a result, Jean experienced a range of procedural functions first hand, rather than just working on ad hoc tasks. ‘It was fantastic to work as a member of the team,’ recalls Jean. ‘I was responsible for managing the lodgement of questions and answers and maintaining statistical records, and given the opportunity to work on several House Papers, including the Notice Paper. That was particularly useful, because at the time, our parliament was reviewing its own Business Paper. I was able to make a number of recommendations for our publication, drawing on the agendas used in both the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly.’ Jean also drew on her observations to propose solutions to the storage of tabled papers and bills, and to identify a role for another team member. ‘The practical experience I gained

The twinning partnership has exposed me to new systems, new skills, a new city and valued professional friendships. – Jean Resana, Chief Procedue Officer, NPSI

during the attachment gave me a strong sense of the office we could build as a team in Solomon Islands,’ she enthuses. ‘But the attachment also gave me the confidence to implement those new systems and make recommendations to the senior officers at home.’ Since her return to Solomon Islands, Jean, now Chief Procedure Officer, has been a driving force in managing the daily operations of its new Procedure Office, creating new systems and resources to support the provision of advice to the House, members and senior staff. ‘The twinning partnership has exposed me to new systems, new skills, a new city and valued professional friendships,’ says Jean. ‘I would encourage any of my colleagues in the twinned parliaments to participate in the program.’

Stop press: On Jean’s recommendation, the New South Wales Parliament has welcomed the newest member of the NPSI Procedure Office, Jean Sahu, for a similar training and development program in October 2017, partly funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Pacific Office. The attachment provides an exciting opportunity to reflect on the NPSI’s achievements to date and to identify new goals for the months ahead.



The New South Wales Twinning Steering Committee, established in 2017, is responsible for overseeing twinning activities with Bougainville and Solomon Islands.

With the recent establishment of the twinning steering committee as a way forward, the National Parliament of Solomon Islands is very keen to see renewed and active engagement in the next few years to build on the good work that has already been done. Looking forward to the future: Clerk of the NPSI, Clezy Rore at the twinning workshop at the 2017 Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference, Sydney.

– The Hon Ajilon Jasper Nasiu, Speaker of Solomon Islands Parliament


The setting up of a steering committee in the New South Wales Parliament is a gesture – a commitment that there are opportunities for us to discuss a way forward. For us in Bougainville we are considering a new dawn, a new chapter as far as the twinning arrangement is concerned. –R obert Tapi, Clerk of the Bougainville House of Representatives


From the Secretary General Congratulations to the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Bougainville House of Representatives and the New South Wales Parliament on the 10th anniversary of your twinning relationship. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate you for your continuing energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to supporting the special and enduring relationships that have developed from successful Twinning Programs here in Australia and the Pacific. These relationships exemplify the very nature and purpose of the Commonwealth as a force for good, and an effective network for cooperation for promoting development, as stated in our Commonwealth Charter. Last year, when I was appointed by the CPA General Assembly, the 7th Secretary-General of the CPA, what struck me most about the association was this unique ability to build capacity through peer-to-peer learning. The extraordinary successes of the Twinning arrangements here in Australia and the

Pacific have inspired and motivated regions to create a similar development platform. It is through the CPA vehicle that Parliaments continue to exchange expertise, skills, and knowledge to generate innovative and sustainable solutions to common problems and challenges facing 21st century Parliamentarians and their Parliaments. I congratulate you once again for the pioneering work that you have undertaken in your regions to support the CPA’s goal of supporting Parliamentarians and their staff to practise good governance across the Commonwealth. Thank you and I wish you well for the next 10 years. – CPA Secretary-General, Akbar Khan


On warm welcomes and new opportunities A message from the Hon Don Harwin MLC, former President of the Legislative Council (2011–2017). Melanesia is a magical place. Even though it is on our doorstep, few Australians know much about the nations of that region. Ever since I visited the western province of Solomon Islands in August 2010 as part of an official election observation team, I have been fascinated by the region. On that visit, I became aware of the complex and tragic recent history of that country, where ethnic cleansing and armed conflict led to over 500 deaths between 1998 and 2003. After I read more about the region, I realised that nearby on the island of Bougainville, the deaths in the civil war that raged between 1988 and 1998 are estimated to be in the range of 15–20,000 islanders.

Very few Australians are aware of these places let alone the legacies left in these post-conflict societies. They pose exceptional challenges for their governments and those governed and yet both these societies have remained functioning democracies with Parliaments within the Westminster tradition. In no small part, this is due to the work of our New South Wales Parliamentarians and staff, mentoring Parliamentarians and building capacity of the Parliaments in Buka and Honiara. That was abundantly clear to me in my six years as President between 2011 – 2017. Our efforts directed towards the twinning of our Parliament with the National Parliament of Solomon Islands and the Bougainville House of Representatives are something we can all be proud of. It has been the right thing for an established and well-resourced Parliament like ours to help strengthen parliamentary institutions and the democratic tradition in our region. But it has also had an incredibly positive impact on our MPs and staff who have contributed so much to our twinned Parliaments. It is an anniversary that we can reflect upon with considerable satisfaction. – The Hon Don Harwin MLC

The Hon Don Harwin MLC, Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council, and Minister for Resources, Minister for Energy and Utilities, and Minister for the Arts.


Twinning timeline – highlights of the last 10 years Pre 2007


§ Collaboration between the NPSI and NSW Parliament through the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project, Phase I–III (2004–2015).

§ New South Wales Parliament assists the NPSI to conduct committee inquiry into the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and support for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Parliamentary Strengthening Project (see ‘Two-way street’ case study).



§ Twinning program established by Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. § First staff exchanges between National Parliament of Solomon Islands (NPSI) and the New South Wales Parliament.

§ AusAID provides funding to the New South Wales Parliament for Strengthening Parliamentary Institutions in Solomon Islands and Bougainville over the next six years.


§ New South Wales Parliament based twinning coordinator, Simon Johnston, recruited. (1)

§ New South Wales Parliament hosts Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI) ‘Effective Parliamentary Committee Inquiries Course’ which becomes an annual event until 2013 with participation from NPSI and the Bougainville House of Representatives (BHOR).


§ Workshop for members and staff of NPSI Committees held in Honiara (with CDI).






§ New South Wales Parliament members and staff participate in induction for new members after the Bougainville election. § Formal signing of Parliamentary Partnership Agreement between BHOR and New South Wales Parliament by Presiding Officers the Hon Amanda Fazio MLC, the Hon Richard Torbay MP and the Hon Andrew Miriki, in Bougainville. (2)

2011 § Procedure and committee work the main focus of staff attachments, with more than 20 staff and members from the three parliaments involved in coordinated activities (see ‘Building a strong public accounts committee’ case study). (3) § BHOR Speaker Hon Andrew Miriki and Clerk Mr Robert Tapi undertake study visit to New South Wales Parliament. (4) § Formal signing of Parliamentary Partnership Agreement between NPSI and New South Wales Parliament by Presiding Officers, the Hon Don Harwin MLC, the Hon Shelley Hancock MP and Hon Allan Kemakeza in Honiara. 28


2012 § New South Wales Legislative Council President, the Hon Don Harwin MLC and New South Wales Parliament staff deliver procedural workshops for members following revision of the BHOR Standing Orders. § More than 20 members and staff of all three parliaments undertake activities to support procedure, committees, parliamentary education and library services. § Jean Resana from the NPSI spends one month on attachment with the New South Wales Parliament (see ‘From challenge to change’ case study). § Twinning conference held after the Presiding Officers and Clerks conference in Honiara (see ‘Shaking things up and sharing the lessons’ case study).



§ New South Wales MP, Melanie Gibbons, delivers workshops in Bougainville for members and representatives of the Council of Elders on parliamentary procedure and the role of members. (5)

§ Presiding Officers of all three parliaments meet at the 2014 Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference in Samoa.

§ External review of the twinning project concludes it is successfully meeting its objectives.

§ Twinning Committee workshop in Honiara with 20 participants from committee offices in all three parliaments consolidating years of collaborative work. § Extensive flooding in Honiara causes delays in some planned activities.

§ Regional Youth Parliament in Honiara. (6) § Chairman of the New South Wales Parliament Asia-Pacific Friendship Group, Mr Daryl Maguire MP, visits Solomon Islands.


‘As the Chairman of the New South Wales Parliament AsiaPacific Friendship Group, I am keen to further develop the important links between our jurisdictions and our parliaments, via the friendship group as well as the CPA’s twinning program. Having visited for the first time in early 2013, I look forward to returning in the not too distant future.’ Daryl Maguire MP


§ Jonathan O’Dea MP and New South Wales Parliament staff participate in NPSI members’ induction. ‘Solomon Islands is a beautiful place with wonderful people. I was pleased to deliver a keynote address to its Parliamentary conference in 2015. Sharing experiences and learnings from New South Wales hopefully assisted Solomon Islands in continued development of its democratic systems. The visit was also an opportunity to deliver funds raised by the New South Wales Parliament’s Asia Pacific Friendship Group for vital health services in the Solomons.’ Jonathan O’Dea, MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Treaurer.






§ New South Wales Legislative Council President, the Hon Don Harwin MLC, attends inauguration of the third BHOR and observes election of new Speaker, Hon Simon Pentanu and Deputy Speaker Hon Francesca Semoso. (7) § Second major revision of BHOR Standing Orders completed, a collaboration between staff of both parliaments over several years. More than 15 staff and members involved in twinning activities relating to procedure, committees and security. § Twinning coordinator role ceases.

2016 § Following 2015 elections, New South Wales MP, Dr Geoff Lee participates in induction program for new BHOR members. (8) § NPSI hosts Parliamentary Law, Practice and Procedure course run by the University of Tasmania for staff of BHOR and NPSI with support from NSW Parliament Clerks and twinning funds. § Official visit to the New South Wales Parliament by the Hon Ajilon Jasper (Speaker) and Mr Clezy Rore (Clerk) of the NPSI. 30


§ New South Wales Parliament staff deliver a Procedure workshop for NPSI and BHOR staff in Honiara, consolidating years of collaboration work. (9) § President of the Legislative Council, the Hon Don Harwin MLC, leads a delegation of members to Honiara and Buka. § New South Wales CWP hosts a delegation of four women parliamentarians from BHOR (see ‘Twin sisters - Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians working together’ case study).

2017 § New South Wales Parliament establishes Twinning Steering Committee to coordinate twinning activities. § The Hon Lynda Voltz MLC undertakes CPA New South Wales Branch funded study tour to Solomon Islands, focused on women, sport and leadership (see ‘Kicking goals’ case study) § Twenty-four female staff of the NPSI visit the New South Wales Parliament to share ideas and experiences. § New South Wales Parliament hosts the Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference, with significant participation from Pacific parliaments including BHOR and NPSI. (10) § One-month attachment of NPSI officer, Ms Jean Sahu to the New South Wales Parliament.


§ New South Wales Parliament hosts the 2017 Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Australia and Pacific Regional Conference. 31


Contact: Design:

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.