Page 2953 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015

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Every week the Salvos provide many charitable services for the vulnerable in Australia, and specifically in the ACT. These include over 2,000 beds for the homeless and 100,000 meals for the hungry. The Salvation Army also contribute to achieving longer term goals, including providing training and jobs to more than 1,000 people through employment plus, aged care services to around 3,000 elderly people and assistance to more than 500 people addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling.

The red shield appeal has been pivotal in achieving this great assistance for our community. The funding from this appeal has ensured that the Salvation Army can help provide a net for the least well-off in our society. The support that the Salvation Army has received nationally in the past 50 years of the red shield appeal has made a great difference to the lives of many of the disadvantaged, not just in Canberra but in Australia as a whole. I am sure everyone in the Assembly wishes them success in future red shield appeals.

Legislative Assembly building—security

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (9.39): I want to speak about the CPA this evening. Before I do I want to spend a minute to address the issues raised by the Chief Minister and the Attorney-General. I heard about this about 5.30 this afternoon. I have not yet had an opportunity to investigate but I assure the Assembly that I will look into the events of this afternoon.

The conversation last week about my travel arrangements in relation to a recent Commonwealth Parliamentary Association executive committee meeting have raised some issues about the CPA which need to be addressed. I will leave it to others to decide whether converting a business class fare to two economy class fares at no cost to the ACT taxpayer and a net saving in excess of $1,500 to the CPA constitutes some kind of abuse but I remind members that I sought and received advice from the Clerk and the ethics adviser before I left and complied with the CPA’s own written rules.

My concern today, however, is the article that appeared on 3 August in the Canberra Times that related to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the fact that the federal parliament had withdrawn from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. This has raised particular concerns and has reflected in criticism in letters to the editor where at least one writer has questioned the ACT Assembly’s continued membership with the organisation. I think it is worth putting on notice what the CPA does.

The “Commonwealth” in the title refers to the Commonwealth of Nations, not the Commonwealth of Australia. It is an organisation which brings together parliamentary officers from predominantly Westminster democracies throughout the world to share experiences and learn from each other about the best ways to cooperate within a shared political and legal heritage which I, and I suspect all members, consider the best framework for delivering democracy in existence.

This is an international organisation. It is a huge international organisation. More than a third of all the nations of the world are members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. It is an organisation of old and new nations and has a

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