Whipping up stronger links with Fiji
23 August 2023
A parliamentary workshop held in Melbourne has helped to strengthen ties between the Fiji and Victorian Parliaments.
Designed as a professional development opportunity to enhance parliamentary practices, the workshop saw MPs from Fiji, Victoria and New Zealand look in detail at the work and procedures of parliamentary whips, who play an important coordination role in Westminster style parliaments.
As the job of a parliamentary whip has been evolving over many decades, the Fiji MPs valued the opportunity to find out how their Victorian and New Zealand counterparts operate in the role.
Lynda Tabuya is the People's Alliance Party, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and the Leader of Government Business in Fiji.
'The training is invaluable to ensure the full engagement of whips in Fiji. We're grateful for the knowledge, experience and the exchange of ideas,' she said.
Her opposition counterpart, Alvick Maharaj of the Fiji First Party, echoed those sentiments.
'This workshop has allowed whips from the Fijian Parliament to get exposure and experience from our counterparts. This is a great help in the whips role of coordinating the day-to-day operations back home,' he said.
The workshop was arranged as part of the Pacific Parliamentary Partnerships program, under which the Victorian Parliament is twinned with the Parliaments of Fiji, Nauru and Tuvalu.
An important focus of the program is to build capacity and support joint professional learning activities between MPs and parliamentary staff of the twinned parliaments. With a range of specialised roles in parliament, learning through engagement with counterparts is a valued way to improve parliamentary operations and effectiveness.
Victoria's twinning activities with Fiji are supported by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian High Commission in Fiji, which recognise that growing links between the two parliaments contribute to healthy relations between Australia and Fiji.