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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 3927


Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (10:57): From 6 to 12 June last year I was privileged to be one of four members of this parliament to participate in a delegation to Canada. The delegation formed part of the official 2015 bilateral parliamentary visits, and was one of four such delegations which included Canada. The delegation visited Ottawa, Ontario, Vancouver and Victoria. The delegation met with members of the federal and provincial legislatures including the Presiding Officer of the federal parliament, some public servants at the forefront of policy making, law enforcement and defence officials as well as business representatives.

Through these meetings, members of the delegation were able to discuss and learn more about issues of mutual interest to both Australia and Canada. Topics of discussion included immigration; citizenship and multiculturalism; small business and tourism; defence matters; policing illicit drugs such as 'ice'; Indigenous matters; foetal alcohol syndrome disorder; and environmental matters.

The delegation also toured HMCS Calgary and received a briefing from the Canadian Maritime Forces Pacific and Joint Task Force Pacific.

The delegation was also pleased to be able to meet with the Hon. Andrew Scheer MP, Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons. Discussions were centred on the respective roles of and election processes for the positions of Speaker in the Canadian and Australian parliaments. Continuing the theme of strengthening parliamentary ties, the delegation also met with members of the Canadian Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, federal ministers and members, provincial members, and the Deputy Clerk and Clerk of Committees of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly.

In addition to discussions about matters of mutual national interest, the delegation was fortunate to be able to receive a briefing about the Canadian parliament's response to the 2014 terrorist attack which occurred within the Canadian parliamentary precinct.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone who gave their time to meet the delegation and who provided additional information to members. I would also like to thank His Excellency Tony Negus APM, Australian High Commissioner to Canada, and his staff who assisted and accompanied the delegation during its visit to Canada. I would also like to make particular mention of Mr Lucas Robson, who so ably assisted members during the visit and arranged an engaging and well-orchestrated visit program. Finally, I would like to thank Stephanie Mikac, who was the delegation secretary, and the members of the delegation for their enthusiasm and participation during this visit. I commend the report to the House.