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First major event for centre for democratic Institutions



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M ED IA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA91 6 November 1998

FIRST MAJOR EVENT FOR CENTRE FOR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS

I am delighted to launch today the first major event undertaken by the Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI) set up by the Federal Government to help developing countries establish and strengthen democratic institutions and practices.

The CDI, which I announced last year, gives effect to the Government’s commitment to good governance and human rights, particularly in the Asia Pacific.

The centre is based in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University and provides support for developing countries through exchanges of information, training courses, attachments and networking. It focuses particularly on parliamentary and judicial processes, public sector reform, the media and nonĀ­ government organisations.

It is fitting, given the Government’s focus on the region, that the GDI’s first major activity addresses issues of good governance in the South Pacific.

The event, a workshop for Melanesian ombudsmen on “Accountability and Corruption in Melanesia”, will evaluate the role and experiences of ombudsmen in Melanesia and consider future challenges.

Specific issues to be discussed include political, economic and cultural influences on ombudsmen in the Pacific, the complaints function of ombudsmen, corruption, and constitutional and legal questions relating to the status of Melanesian ombudsmen. The office of ombudsman helps ensure transparency and accountability of government decision making.

The workshop, sponsored by the CDI, the National Centre for Development Studies and the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Project, also at the ANU, will help provide a higher profile to the role of ombudsmen in protecting citizens from arbitrary or self-interested actions by those in positions of public trust.

Media contacts: Innes Willox (Minister’s Office) 02 6277 7500 / 0414 206 890 Keith Scott (AusAID) 02 6206 4971

Media releases and speeches are available from AusAID via the Internet, http://www.ausaid.gov.au