Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007
Parliamentary Record 17
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 17 October 2007 4902 matters referred to them from time to time, and they reported on matters that had been referred to. I will not go through all the delegates, but it is worthwhile noting the Australian members on the newly appointed working party: Senator Allan Ferguson and Ms Virginia Judge from New South Wales were appointed to that working group. They adopted a new mission statement, which they recommended to the association, which is: The CPA promotes the advancement of parliamentary democracy. Enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance, it builds on forming inclusive and gender sensitive parliamentary committee able to strengthen the Commonwealths democratic commitment and to further cooperation among its legislatures. It is a focus of CPA to continue with that. There are a number of new strategies, core functions and objectives. I will not go into those tonight because they are quite extensive. One things to emerge is that they have renamed the Small Countries Conference the Small Branches Conference because some of the jurisdictions represented there are not countries; for example, the Northern Territory. We have representation, so the Small Countries Conference, as part of the CPA, is now called the Small Branches Conference. The population ceiling has been raised to 500 000, so it includes those jurisdictions which are over 400 000 and the cap is 500 000. I acknowledge some changes with elected officials of the CPA. The Vice-Patron as of next year will be Hon Dato Seri Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, who takes over from Dr Hon Manmohan Singh, who is the Prime Minister of India. Also, the President of the Association will change in 2007-08 to Hon Tan Sri Dato Seri DiRaja Ramli Ngah Talib, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malaysia, and the Vice-President of the Association will change in 2009, and that will be the Malaysian representative. Again, I thank all the liaison officers for looking after us in India. I will give a full report to our CPA Branch. The CPA has a lot of work to do to strengthen democratic roles within it. It has certainly moved from having a democratic process to turning that into action, real results for people of Commonwealth countries. It is one thing to have democratic elections; it is another thing to deliver effective services to the people of those countries. I would like to thank our hosts. I have mentioned the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and the President of the CPA, Shrina Sonnath Chatterjee, the President of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh. I put my apology to the Speaker of Lok Sabha, Shrina Sonnath Chatterjee on record. I almost caused an international incident. After the main conference day, I presented the President of the CPA and Speaker of the Indian Parliament with some gifts from the Northern Territory government. It was a small box, which I believe had a crocodile card holder and some scarves with Aboriginal motifs on them. I presented those to the Speaker in the Assembly in front of all the delegates. I had two boxes. One was to be given to a liaison officer. When I got back to the hotel, I knew I had taken one of the card holders out of the box. I went to put it all back and give the second box to the liaison officer. When I opened the box, it actually had the card holder in it, and I was a bit confused. I realised what I had done: I had given the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the President of the CPA an empty box. I was very embarrassed about that. The next day, I made sure I got the gift to the Speaker. Hopefully, there was no harm done. Mr Acting Deputy Speaker, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, which was most worthwhile. I am very inspired about the role of the CPA, and we should re-energise our efforts to participate in it. Mr HENDERSON (Wanguri): Mr Acting Deputy Speaker, tonight I wish to discuss happenings around my electorate over the last few weeks. One of my local schools, Wanguri Primary, had a major anniversary this year; its 30th birthday. As a present to the school, I organised for a painting to be donated, along with the story of the painting, from the Wanguri people in East Arnhem Land. From that present, the school council has championed thoughts about twinning the school between Wanguri Primary in the northern suburbs in Darwin with a school in East Arnhem Land called Dhalinybuy, home to the Wanguri people. This is an initiative which has been worked up over the last 12 months, and culminated on the evening of 5 September this year with a Welcome to Country night at Wanguri school. What a fabulous night it was. A relationship is now being developed between Wanguri school in the northern suburbs and Dhalinybuy Homelands School in East Arnhem Land. The idea behind the exchange is that students from both places can learn about each others cultures, and develop a relationship between the two schools so a student exchange program can be set up. The Yirrkala School envisages this program will allow a greater exposure of their students to spoken English than the Yirrkala School and community can currently provide.