Codes of conduct explored for parliamentarians

CPA workshop

An international workshop on codes of conduct for parliamentarians has opened at Victoria's Parliament House.

The three day workshop involving representatives from a range of Commonwealth countries will consider benchmarks for parliamentary codes of conduct to agree on some recommended benchmarks that could be used across the Commonwealth.

Codes of conduct workshop

Speaker Telmo Languiller opening the international workshop along with Legislative Council President Bruce Atkinson and Associate Professor Ken Coghill from Monash University

The event, hosted by the Victorian Parliament, has been organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Monash University.

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Telmo Languiller and President of the Legislative Council Bruce Atkinson were on hand to welcome delegates to the workshop.

Parliamentarians and senior parliamentary staff from Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Samoa, the United Kingdom and Australia’s state, territory and federal parliaments are participating in the workshop. They are being joined by representatives from the United States Office of Congressional Ethics, the University of Dar es Salaam, the National Democratic Institute based in Washington and Swinburne University.

Victorian delegates include parliamentarians Gayle Tierney and Christine Fyffe as well as the chief executives of the three parliamentary departments.

“The increasing complexities of the matters with which parliament and members of parliament must deal add to the pressure on parliamentary performance,” the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association said in its introduction to the workshop.

“The standards of conduct and ethical behaviour expected of members of parliament are rising. Codes of conduct provide valuable guidance and direction for members of parliament in the contributions they make to their parliament’s functions.”

Among the issues to be considered at the workshop are the principles on which codes of conduct are based and the provisions that should be included in a code of conduct for members of parliament.

President of the Western Australian Legislative Council, Barry House, delivered the keynote address.

One of the key coordinators for the workshop, Associate Professor Ken Coghill from Monash University, served as Speaker of Victoria’s Legislative Assembly from 1988 to 1992.

Barry House

WA's Legislative Council President Barry House gave the keynote address

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