The Legislative Assembly of Tonga will host the 47th annual Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference in Nuku’alofa starting Monday July 11-14, 2016 at Fa’onelua Convention Centre.

The annual event brings over 70 delegates including Speakers and Clerks from10 national Parliaments across the Pacific including New Zealand and Australia to share firsthand experiences, debate and reflect, renew and strengthen their networks on way forward to address challenges in Parliaments.

This year’s theme is “Navigating together the challenges for modern Parliaments.”

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Lord Tu’ivakano says while parliaments uphold the highest of traditional institutional values, it is no doubt the modern world presents its own challenges. Therefore our Parliaments, Tonga included, must adjust accordingly so it is suitable and relevant for our citizens.

Participants will discuss issues on good governance, transparency, accountability and democracy, challenges of protecting parliamentary independence, the ombudsman and the Supreme Court as well as the role of the Presiding Officer.

Other sessions include challenges of returning Fiji to Democracy, citizens’ right of reply, parliamentary petitions, budget oversight in the national Parliaments, role of Kiribati’s Parliament in tackling climate change and Samoa’s experience in providing reserved seats for women.

The Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala will officially open the conference on Monday.

Participating countries include Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Kiribati, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Other high level delegation includes Parliament Speakers of New Zealand Rt. Hon. David Carter, Hon. Nikki Rattle of Cook Islands, Hon. Teatao Teannaki of Kiribati, Hon. Tongiavalu Piaigia of Niue, Hon. Ajilon Jasper Nasiu of the Solomon Islands, ACT AustraliaHon. Vicki Dunne, Hon. Shelley Hancock of New South Wale’s (NSW) Legislative Assembly. Hon. Peter Wellington of Queensland’s Parliament., Representing Victoria Parliament in Australia is Hon. Telmo Languiller. and Vanuatu’s Speaker Hon. Maltok Maxwell.

Presidents of NSW Legislative CouncilHon. Don Harwin, Hon. Bruce Atkinson of Victoria Parliament, Western Australia Legislative Council - Hon. Barry House, TasmaniaHon. Jim Wilkinson, and Hon. R P Wortley of South Australia.

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