Twinning activities with the National Parliament of Solomon Islands and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville House of Representatives
The New South Wales Parliament has a partnership arrangement with the parliaments of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (the Bougainville House of Representatives) and the Solomon Islands (the National Parliament of Solomon Islands). The partnership arrangements are part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s (CPA) twinning program, established in June 2007. Every Australian state and territory parliament is twinned with one or more parliaments in the Asia-Pacific region.
The New South Wales Parliament has received funding to support the partnership arrangements from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), under its Pacific Public Sector Linkages Program. The funding, until August 2015, allows practical support for strengthening the parliaments of Bougainville and Solomon Islands, through staff placements, secondments and other activities.
The New South Wales Parliament's current activities with the National Parliament of Solomon Islands and the Bougainville House of Representatives are the latest development in a long tradition of participating in training and development projects aimed at supporting parliamentary democracy elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
The Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a scattered Melanesian archipelago situated in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea and approximately 2,000 kilometres to the north-east of Australia. Its landmass of 28,400 square kilometres extends over nearly 1,000 islands comprising nine main island groups. These include the Solomon Islands, Ontong Java Islands (Lord Howe Atoll) to the north, Rennell Islands to the south and the Santa Cruz Islands, about 500 kilometres to the east. The capital, Honiara, is located on Guadalcanal, which is the largest island.
The population of Solomon Islands, estimated to be around 510 000, is predominantly Melanesian (about 95%) although there are also smaller Polynesian, Micronesian, Chinese and European communities. There are 63 distinct languages in the country, with numerous local dialects. English is the official language of Solomon Islands but Solomons Pijin is the common language for the majority of people.
Solomon Islands is governed by the National Parliament of Solomon Islands
. The National Parliament comprises 50 members, elected for a four-year term under a ‘first past the post’ voting system. The Prime Minister (currently the Hon Gordon Darcy Lilo) is elected by a simple majority of Members of Parliament. In addition to the national government, there are nine provincial assemblies, each led by a premier. The Speaker is not an elected member of the Parliament but is elected by Members of the National Parliament. The current Speaker is Sir Allen Kemakeza.
Twinning activities with the National Parliament of Solomon Islands
The Autonomous Region of Bougainville
The Autonomous Region of Bougainville, formerly known as the North Solomons Province, is an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea and is the largest of the Solomon Islands group, to which it ecologically and geographically belongs. The region comprises the large islands of Bougainville and Buka, and assorted outlying islands including the Carterets. The capital is currently Buka, although it is possible that Arawa, on Bougainville Island, may become the capital in future. The population of Bougainville is approximately 200,000.
The Autonomous Region of Bougainville is governed by the House of Representatives. An elected President (currently the Hon John Momis) forms the Autonomous Bougainville Government and heads the Bougainville Executive Cabinet. The Autonomous Bougainville Government public sector (the Administration) is responsible for providing government services to the people of Bougainville. There are a total of 41 positions in the House of Representatives – a President, 33 seats representing single-member electorates, 3 reserved women’s seats and 3 reserved ex-combatants seats. The Speaker is elected by the House of Representatives and is not directly elected by the populace. The four members of the Papua New Guinea Parliament for the region (North, South and Central Bougainville, plus one Region representative who in other provinces of PNG would be the Premier of the province) are able to participate in sittings of the House of Representatives but cannot introduce motions or vote, and their presence does not count for the purposes of establishing quorum.
Twinning activities with the Bougainville House of Representatives