Page 3683 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015

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The mention of CWP gives me an opportunity to segue into the latest developments in relation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. In early October I had the privilege of attending the executive committee meeting and the 61st annual general assembly of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which was convened in somewhat odd circumstances in London after it became clear that Pakistan could not host it.

The most important event that occurred at the 61st parliamentary general assembly was the acceptance of the recommendation of the selection committee for the appointment of Mr Karimulla Akbar Khan as secretary-general, effective from January 2016. Mr Akbar Khan is originally from Guyana, but he moved to the United Kingdom as a young boy. He has an honours degree in English law from the University of Reading and holds a master’s degree in international law from Jesus College, Cambridge. He is a qualified barrister and attorney at law; he was admitted to the English bar in 1990 and the New York bar in 2000.

Mr Khan has held senior positions with, amongst others, the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office, where he holds a position equivalent to ambassador, and the Commonwealth Secretariat, where he specialised for a number of years in international law and the rule of law. Mr Khan’s most immediate past position was as the joint convenor of the international group to deal with Somali pirates. He is a person of extraordinary erudition. He is quite young; he is only in his mid-40s. He is very erudite and very committed to the ideals of the commonwealth, shown by his extensive work history.

While on the subject of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, I note that there was an article in the Canberra Times recently about the extraordinary amount of money that was spent by the Legislative Assembly on CPA events. I would like to make the point that the accumulated funds included $14,000 for the ACT Legislative Assembly’s annual subscription to the CPA and that the remaining funds were a result of people attending conferences, which is part of their professional development. Members of the Legislative Assembly have almost no prospects for professional development except through the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I encourage members at every opportunity to take the opportunities that arise through the CPA.

You, Mr Assistant Speaker Bourke, have had opportunities to attend a general assembly in Cameroon and Bangladesh. Mr Wall, in the previous year, went to Singapore. I encourage Ms Fitzharris, as a new member, to take up the opportunity of attending the Canadian regional conference. It is an extraordinary experience. Some years ago, I had that experience myself, which I paid for myself because there were no funds in the Assembly at the time. And other members, like Mr Smyth, have had opportunities to attend regional conferences.

I noted that the Canberra Times pointed out that after an extraordinary brouhaha about my travel to Sabah earlier this year, the princely sum of $361 was spent by the ACT Legislative Assembly on that trip. (Time expired.)

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