Page 2954 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015
diversity of religions and races, and rich and poor, and they all work together harmoniously to build parliamentary institutions.
Following the publication of the article in the Canberra Times the ABC reporter asked me, “What is in it for the ACT?” It is true that the CPA is primarily directed towards larger and more established Westminster democracies providing assistance to smaller and more recent such governments. I leave it to members to decide which side of the divide the ACT Legislative Assembly belongs to. But I am sure you, Madam Assistant Speaker Lawder, with your experiences in Tanzania, Ms Fitzharris with her experiences in Canada, Dr Bourke with his experiences in Bangladesh, and Mr Corbell and me with our recent experiences in Wellington at a human rights conference, will see that we have much to learn from one another. It is not a one-way street.
I think that it is worth noting that the report in the Canberra Times said, for instance, referring to a report in 2010 to parliamentarians:
The report called for changes to the duration, frequency and cost of association events and described the purchase of a London home for the association’s secretary general as “totally inappropriate”.
I want to put on the record that no such home was ever purchased. There has been criticism of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in the past. Many of the criticisms that were levelled at the association during the Rudd era by the President of the Senate, President Hogg, have been addressed. President Hogg was very keen on, and very instrumental in calling for, the establishment of proper audit procedures for the organisation.
I am pleased to report, as I reported to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting last week, that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s office has been fully audited and it had, according to the independent internal audit adviser, one of the most glowing audit reports he had ever read. I think that that is an important thing to reflect upon.
The people of the ACT make a modest $14,000 contribution to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. It is a great opportunity for members in this place to learn and to experience how other parliaments work. I think that no-one comes away from a conference like that without wanting to bring back to Australia and to this parliament some element that they have learned. I commend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and I would consider that the next time the Canberra Times wants to write about the CPA they might ask somebody who knows.
Aviation—Canberra air disaster
MR COE (Ginninderra) (9.44): I rise tonight to speak about a significant event in Canberra and the nation’s political history, the Canberra air disaster of 1940. To remind members of the facts of the disaster, let me read from an article that featured in the Age at the time:
Australia suffered a great loss at a most critical stage in her history this morning, when a Royal Australian Air Force bomber crashed a few miles from Canberra,