23rd October, 2018
Speaker of the Parliament Nikki Rattle reiterated her desire to increase the number of women in the local Parliament, at the opening of the 37th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Australia and Pacific Regional Conference 2018 yesterday.
The three-day conference being held at the Edgewater Resort and Spa in Arorangi is attended by about 60 CPA members from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands.
In welcoming the participants, Rattle said the conference was very important. The forum can look at some issues that are pertinent to the Cook Islands and others in the region.
“And this week I believe the topics for our conference are really relevant in talking about gender equality and my focus while I’m Speaker of Parliament is to increase the number of women in the Parliament,” Rattle said.
“Out of 24 members, we have four women and there are many women in the Cook Islands who can actually be sitting in the House and sharing the opportunity of making decisions on the welfare of the people of this country.”
Rattle also paid tribute to the Australian and New Zealand parliaments for helping their counterparts in the Pacific islands.
John Ajaka, the president of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, Australia, who delivered the keynote address in the absence of Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, the chairperson of the CPA executive committee, said it was exciting times in the CPA.
“The strategic direction established since the appointment of the current secretary general are now evident with enhanced professional development opportunity for members and regular communication from CPA headquarters,” Ajaka said.
“The good news is that the CPA headquarters restructure is now complete – it has taken five or a number of years.
“The long running debate of the status of the CPA seemed to have also resolved and I look forward to the discussions at the international executive committee meeting in London next month about the implementation of the proposed new status.”
The theme of the conference is “Towards a Common Future for Growth and Sustainability”.
Yesterday, the participants heard how can Parliaments engage with the Sustainable Development Goals and provide effective oversight of National Development Plans. The role for Parliaments in implementing SDG16 which is good governance, transparency and accountability, in tackling climate change and contributing to resilient health systems and combatting non-communicable diseases were also discussed.
The conference is co-chaired by Rattle and Peter Watson, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia.