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Thursday, 8 December 1983
Page: 3465

Senator SCOTT (Leader of the National Party of Australia) —by leave-I present the interim report of the Australian Branch Delegation of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to the 29th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, Kenya, October-November 1983. Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

Senator SCOTT —One of the most significant developments from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference from the Australian point of view was the acceptance by the General Assembly of the recommendation from the working party on the CPA and the future that the number of regional representatives on the Executive Committee be increased from two to three. As a result of this decision and arrangements agreed upon by the branches in the Australasian and Pacific region the Commonwealth of Australia branch will be represented on the Executive Committee once every six years compared with the previous arrangement of once every 27 years. It will also ensure more regular representation for the other branches of the region.

Briefly, let me say that the Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, this year was a useful discussion of an agenda which ranged from housing and unemployment through to the energy crisis and indeed the consideration of the future of parliamentary democracy. It is appropriate and necessary that I should remark on the hospitality of our hosts, the Kenyans. Every facility was available for all the delegates of the Conference. The Kenyan Government and the Kenyan people provided facilities and entertainment; they provided an opportunity for all delegates to see a great section of their interesting country: I am sure that every member of the Australian delegation appreciated the very generous efforts of the Kenyans on that occasion. It was also clear to me and I think to other delegates that there is real value in constructive discussion as opposed perhaps to the type of exercise that is involved in debating specific motions.

I am sure that we owe a debt of gratitude to the Australian High Commissioner, his wife and to their staff who went to great trouble to see that any problems that confronted the delegation while in Kenya were overcome. Finally, Mr Deputy President, I place on record my appreciation and, I am sure, the appreciation of the delegation of the friendly, efficient and untiring efforts of Mr Barlin who acted as secretary to the Australian delegation.