Australia is welcoming attendees to the 26th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) this week.
Held between 3 and 6 January 2023, this year’s conference attracts more than 120 delegates including parliamentary staff, and observers from 32 Commonwealth Parliaments.
The initiative aims to maintain, foster, and encourage impartiality and fairness on the part of Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliaments, and promote knowledge and understanding of parliamentary democracy.
The first conference was held in 1969 as an initiative of then Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, the Hon. Lucien Lamoureux.
The CSPOC is an independent group and has no formal affiliation with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth Secretariat or the Commonwealth Heads of Government.
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This year, proceedings began with a procession of Speakers and Presiding Officers in their ceremonial robes, led by First Nations dancers and singers to the Great Hall at the Australian Parliament House.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, we will look to strengthen our relationships and learn from each other to ensure that our debates and parliamentary processes continue to be robust,” said Senator the Hon. Sue Lines, President of the Australian Senate.
Delegates will attend workshops and plenaries on topics relating to their roles as Presiding Officers, including the pandemic, security, e-parliaments, and the central role Presiding Officers play in leading innovation.
This is the first CSPOC held in three years.
“The last few years have taught us that things can change very quickly, and the role of parliamentary institutions has been reinforced. It is so important for us to work together and learn from one another,” added the Hon. Milton Dick MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives.