The CPA Vice-President, Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox, MLC lead a delegation from the Parliament of New South Wales to the National Parliament of Solomon Islands for discussions about parliamentary practice and procedure and education for young people. The President of the New South Wales Legislative Council was welcomed by the Speaker of the Solomon Islands Parliament, Hon. John Patteson Oti. The New South Wales delegation included Hon. Aileen MacDonald and Hon. Rod Roberts, MLC from the Legislative Council and Hon. Stephen Bali, MP and Hon. Melanie Gibbons, MP from the Legislative Assembly.
The Speaker of the Solomon Islands Parliament highlighted the challenges faced by the National Parliament and acknowledged the support received by the Parliament of New South Wales over the years, particularly under the parliamentary twinning program. The two Presiding Officers opened the ‘Parliament Teachers Resource Book’ workshop for Guadalcanal Secondary School Teachers at the Paul Tovua Complex. The educational resource will provide teachers with information about Parliament to use in civic education lessons. Teachers in the Solomon Islands previously relied on newspaper articles and online news to gather information about Parliament, but much of it was inaccurate or incomplete.
The new programme aims to train educators in understanding the institution of Parliament with the aid of the new resource books to be able to teach accurate information to students about the Legislature’s processes, functions, roles and duties. The education team at the New South Wales Parliament provided inputs for the resources.
The New South Wales delegation also met with the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare and the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale. The twinning programs between Parliaments in the CPA Australia and CPA Pacific Regions have taken place for a number of years. Under the twinning arrangements, joint capacity building and professional development initiatives are conducted for Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff. The relationships promote collaboration and understanding between Parliaments to ensure they fulfil their legislative, representative and oversight roles.