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The Editor’s note

Two of the characteristics often ascribed to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II are a dedication to duty and a love of the Commonwealth. A third should be her interest in the Parliaments and Legislatures of the Commonwealth as she has supported parliamentary image- building through her frequent visits to Houses around the Commonwealth during – and before – her 60 years as the Head of the Commonwealth and Head of State of now 16 of its member nations. We open this issue with a pictorial

record of some of Her Majesty’s parliamentary visits, including visits in 1951 to Canadian Legislatures when she was still Princess Elizabeth. Some of these visits have been historic: on a chilly April day in 1982, Her Majesty, as Queen of Canada, sat at a table outdoors on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to sign into law a new constitution including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as the then current and a future Prime Minister of Canada looked on; in 2001, she joined Australia’s leaders in front of the magnificent tapestry in the Great Hall to open the country’s spectacular new Parliament building, and in 2007 she planted a tree in the Parliament Garden in Kampala as Uganda hosted its first Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Other visits have coincided

with more routine parliamentary procedures: Her Majesty has

delivered countless speeches to outline government programmes and open new sessions of Parliament at Westminster, and in other Commonwealth capitals as well. Her presence, and the pomp and ceremony surrounding it, support efforts to demonstrate the significance of Parliament to people whose attention today is increasingly drawn to other pursuits. Her parliamentary visits

could simply be evidence of a dedication to duty and a love of the Commonwealth. But the photographs we publish here and her agreement in 1990 to become Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association suggest that Her Majesty actively supports and greatly prizes parliamentary democracy – sadly, far more than many of her subjects. The rotating presidency of the

Council of the European Union (EU) rests with the government of Cyprus for the second half of 2012. The country’s House of Representatives is playing a prominent reinforcing role to use the experience and the contacts of its Members to provide parliamentary diplomatic support to strengthen the EU during the Cypriot presidency. H.E. Mr Yiannakis Omirou, MP, President of the Cypriot House of Representatives, writes here on the expansion of the parliamentary diplomatic role and how the House is striving to support the European Union and

152 | The Parliamentarian | 2012: Issue Three

to advance Cyprus’ political goals, including the re-unification of the eastern Mediterranean island which has endured nearly four decades of Turkish military occupation of 37 per cent of its territory. Parliamentary support is one

of the key duties of a group of parliamentary party office holders who are often resented, disliked and sometimes even feared but whose job is crucial to the smooth operation of a House – the Whips. They play seemingly paradoxical roles: imposing discipline on Members so they toe the party line or stay in the Chamber while also helping them through personal or political problems, and orchestrating partisan stands against the party’s opponents while working behind the scenes with opposing Whips to make sure the business of the House goes through effectively. Two Members highly experienced

in the art of whipping, one from a large House and the other from a small one, write in this issue on how they do their job and why that job is crucial for Parliaments which have a party system. Vice-Principal Md. Abdus Shahid, MP, records the difficult challenges faced by a Whip in the Parliament of Bangladesh, where mass walk-outs, noisy protests and boycotts are a way of life. From the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, Mr John Hargreaves, MLA, reports many similar issues as Mr Shahid, despite

the fact that the A.C.T. Legislature’s total membership of 17, currently split among three parties, is smaller than most of Bangladesh’s parliamentary committees. Every Parliament and every Parliamentarian needs support, and that is what the Whips provide. Another Australian territory,

Norfolk Island, is even smaller than the A.C.T. but its history stems from one the most famous naval events in maritime history, the mutiny on The Bounty. The Bounty crew, whose mutineers founded the Norfolk Island settlement, had a strong link to the Isle of Man, a small island on the other side of the Commonwealth; so the two small island Parliaments, Norfolk Island’s Legislative Assembly and Tynwald in the Isle of Man, have signed a cultural agreement to bring the two closer together. A new twist on the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Branch twinning programme, this link will encourage the two small islands to support each other at a variety of levels, writes Norfolk Island’s Speaker, Hon. Robin Adams, JP, MLA. To the north of Norfolk Island

is an island nation badly in need of Commonwealth support. Fiji Islands has been under a military government since 2006, only a few months after its Parliament hosted the 2005 Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. The current regime has finally started a constitutional review

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