Myanmar MPs and Parliament Staff Conclude Study Visit to Australian and Indonesian Parliaments

Dec 11, 2014

Daw Tin Tin Mar (4th from the right) with the group of MPs and parliamentary staff at the New South Wales Parliament in Australia

For many first time visitors to Australia, the Sydney Harbor Bridge or Sydney Opera leaves a lasting impression. However, for Daw Tin Tin Mar the memories she brought back from Australia are that of the New South Wales Parliament and the Parliament of Australia, Canberra. This is where she got to witness plenary meetings, committee proceedings, and parliamentary services. It has left a lasting impression on her.

Daw Tin Tin Mar, a Member of the Mandalay Regional Parliament, was part of a group of 10 parliamentarians and 3 staff from the Union Parliament and Regional and State Parliaments who went on a study visit to the national and a state parliament in Australia and Indonesia from the 15th to the 27th of November.

The study visit, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Myanmar, provided the opportunity to learn from parliaments, in two very different countries with two very different historical and political experiences, but whose legislative institutions serve the same purpose. “It was useful for us to learn from two different contexts in order to compare” said U N Hprau Gam parliamentarian from the State Parliament of Kachin. “Even if the context is different, the function of the parliaments are the same and we learned a lot from both countries”.

In Australia the group visited the New South Wales Parliament and the Parliament of Australia, while in Indonesia they had the opportunity to discuss with parliamentarians in the Provincial House of Representative, Yogyakarta province, and the two chambers of the Parliament of Indonesia.

During the study visit, the group discussed also topics such as parliamentary procedures, committee work, representation and federalism with their counterparts in Australia and Indonesia. Parliamentary services and the role staff plays in ensuring effective parliamentary work was also part of the learning. Throughout the whole visit, the group discussed these issues with peers and had opportunities to see how the respective parliaments function. Susan Want, Usher of the Black Rod, New South Wales Parliament, said, “It was impressive to see the level of engagement and interest which the parliamentarians and staff showed in learning from myself and colleagues’ experiences.”

“An effective parliament is important in ensuring that the interest of the people is represented,” said U Myint Shwe, parliamentarian from the House of Representatives, Myanmar. “Learning the importance of good and transparent procedures and committee work gave us valuable information about how all views should be presented and considered before we make decisions”. Members of the group shared similar views and said that they would all bring back the information they received and would share with their colleagues upon their return to Myanmar.

While visiting the Parliament of Australia the group had the opportunity to witness the Constitutional and Legislative Committee in the Senate of Australia at work. “Our committees play an important role in providing oversight of the implementation of Government policies and programs,” said David Elder, Clerk of the House of Representatives, Australia. “They also provide an effective input into the legislative process through their review of legislation to ensure that laws are made in the best interest of the people”.

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