Australian and Pacific Parliaments that belong to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) participate in a twinning program that provides the opportunity to enhance relations, exchange information and learn from each other. The concept of twinning is similar to the ‘sister city’ relationships that exist between cities of different countries. Every Australian state and territory parliament is twinned with one or more parliaments in the Pacific region.
The national parliaments of Australia and New Zealand provide an overall coordination role for the twinning program, which was established in June 2007.
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 New South Wales Parliament Twinning Steering Committee coordinates all activities undertaken under the twinning agreement. The committee comprises representatives of the three parliamentary departments.
The Twinning Steering Committee can be contacted at [email protected].
Our current activities 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.
On 15 and 29 August 2022, New South Wales Parliament staff delivered 'Committee refresher' workshops to counterparts in the National Parliament of the Solomon Islands.
The two online workshops focused on principles relating to minutes and report drafting, also providing an overview of the inquiry process and the committee system in place in the NSW Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.
The workshops were interactive and acted to reinvigorate the twinning relationship between NSW Parliament and the National Parliament of Solomon Islands following disruptions associated with COVID-19.
In July 2022, a delegation from the NSW Parliament visited the Autonomous Region of Bougainville House of Representatives, continuing the long-standing partnership agreement between our parliaments. The delegation consisted of four members – the Hon. Leslie Williams MP, Mr Mark Taylor MP, Mr David Mehan MP, and Ms Sue Higginson MLC – and two parliamentary officers, Mr Simon Johnston and Ms Clara Hawker.
Our Twinning program is currently featured on the Legislative Council's blog - "The House in Review". As the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented us from conducting our twinning relationships in person, we aim to connect with our twinned parliaments via social media. The "Twin Peeks" series has featured blog posts outlining the program and introducing the Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands. The series will continue, so please subscribe to the blog here to stay informed about twinning activity.
A delegation of members led by the Hon. John Ajaka, President of the Legislative Council visited Honiara between 17-20 April 2018 to launch the Twinning Bilong Yumi scholarship, a program aimed at supporting professional development of staff of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands and the Bougainville House of Representatives.
In November 2017, the NSW Parliament welcomed colleague Peter Topura, First Clerk Assistant in the Bougainville House of Representatives.
Peter visited Sydney on attachment with the Parliamentary Library, having just concluded a three-week attachment to the Australian Parliament's Library Research Service as the recipient of a Pacific Women's Parliamentary Partnerships (PWPP) Research Scholarship. Peter spent his weeks in Canberra working on a project to identify ways in which parliamentary rules and procedures can be used to promote female representation in parliament, and utilised his time in Sydney to finalise his research and work with Procedure and Library staff to identify the procedural changes necessary to implement recommendations arising from his project.
Between 3 and 28 October 2017, the Parliament of NSW had the privilege of hosting Ms Jean Sahu from the National Parliament of Solomon Islands Procedure Office.
Of her stay, Jean reflected that she had 'gained a lot of knowledge regarding skills and procedure. In turn, I feel I can carry out my job in the Solomon Islands Parliament with much more confidence and put the skills which I have learnt here to good use when I return home'.
This year the twinned parliaments celebrate a successful 10 year partnership. The first of several events to celebrate the anniversary took place in Buka, Bougainville on 15 June 2017, coinciding with the annual 'ABG Day' which marks the establishment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in 2005.
Commemorative celebrations continued in October 2017 with the launch of a commemorative exhibition, booklet and video at the CPA Australia and Pacific Regional Conference.To learn more about key activities undertaken between the three Parliaments over the past 10 years:
The Parliament of New South Wales acknowledges and respects the traditional lands of all Aboriginal people, and pays respects to all Elders past and present. We acknowledge the Gadigal people as the traditional custodians of the land on which the Parliament of New South Wales stands.