Speakers and Presiding Officers from across the Commonwealth have met in Australia for the 26th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) which took place from 3 to 6 January 2023. Delegates from more than 30 Commonwealth Parliaments were hosted by the Senate of Australia’s President, Hon. Sue Lines and the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, Hon. Milton Dick, MP.
The conference’s aim is to strengthen parliamentary institutions by bringing together Speakers and Presiding Officers from across the Commonwealth. The biennial conference focused on the topics of parliamentary engagement, security and e-Parliaments, and was an opportunity to share best practice on Parliamentarians as effective legislators and representatives. A special plenary session was also held on training for Parliamentarians and staff; Speakers and Presiding Officers discussed the provisions and practices available in their own Parliaments which focused on the induction and upskilling of Members and staff, and also addressed critical areas like anti-bullying and harassment training.
The Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, Hon. Milton Dick, MP said in a TV interview ahead of the conference: “The role of the conference is to ensure both sides have equal opportunity to express their views. Australia has the opportunity to showcase how we’ve handled the pandemic for example, but also to understand and learn from other jurisdictions about how they’ve dealt with remote Parliaments and online security.”
The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Stephen Twigg, attended the 26th CSPOC and met with many Speakers and Presiding Officers during the conference, as well as having the opportunity to update the conference on recent CPA initiatives available to them, such as the CPA Parliamentary Academy.
Speakers and Presiding Officers attended the conference from many jurisdictions including: New Zealand; Sri Lanka; Rwanda; India; Jamaica; Malta; Tonga; Malaysia; Barbados; Botswana; Canada; Maldives; Nauru; Singapore; Zambia; Kenya; Uganda; Pakistan; United Kingdom; Mauritius; Jersey; Isle of Man; Guernsey
The CSPOC conference brings together the Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Parliaments and Legislatures of the Commonwealth. It focuses on the sharing of experiences, collaboration and partnership across the Parliaments of the Commonwealth. CSPOC was created in 1969 by Hon. Lucien Lamoureux, 27th Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons to focus on the role of Speakers within parliamentary institutions and CSPOC is a separate independent organisation, although many of its participants are also members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. CSPOC operates on a two-year cycle,holding a conference of the full membership every two years,although the most recent conference was delayed by COVID-19.
The next host for the biennial conference is Uganda from 3 to 6 January 2024. For more information about the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) please visit www.cspoc.org.