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INSIDE ISSUES


EMBRACING CHANGE The Editor’s note


Devolution in Scotland had already been in place for nine years when I started at the CPA in 2008. When the devolution referendum in 1997 conveyed overwhelming support for the creation of a Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom (UK), the UK Government responded by passing the Scotland Act 1998. The first Scottish Parliament subsequently took place on 12 May 1999. Scottish Ministers were


empowered to deal with devolved matters such as education and training, health and social services and housing that addressed Scottish citizens’ needs, while still benefitting from the collective decision-making at the United Kingdom (UK) level. It was a decision that harked back to 1979 when a referendum was called by the then government to establish a Scottish Assembly. In less than one week’s time (at the time of writing), Scotland will mark another historic milestone when the people of Scotland head to the polls to decide whether it should become an independent country. The impact on the possible divide will inevitably be a momentous one for the United Kingdom. Issues of citizenship and immigration, economy and currency and European Union membership have been high on the agenda in the lead-up to 18 September. Amid concerns over the possible split from the United Kingdom, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II also held talks with


British Prime Minister, Rt Hon. David Cameron, MP, over the potential break-up of the 300-year-old union, asking Scottish voters to “think very carefully about the future”. While the UK Government believes that Scotland is better off – and the UK stronger with it – sticking together, the current polls indicate a tight call in the referendum race. Proposals of a timetable for further devolution by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the UK, Rt Hon. George Osborne, MP, along with a plan of action detailing more powers to Scotland, particularly those concerning tax, were recently announced to up the efforts in keeping Scotland on side. For those pro-independence in Scotland however, such proposals cannot take away from the fact that gaining independence signifies one thing: complete control over decision-making for its people by the people that know them best. It is certain that whatever the outcome on 18 September, both the Scottish as well as the UK Governments will be subjected to some degree of change. Keeping in line with the topic of change, the issue leads with developments in Rwanda 20 years since the genocide. The Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security in Rwanda Parliament/ Chamber of Deputies, Hon. Zeno Mutimura, MP, outlines the


144 | The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three


journey in rebuilding the country and addressing the challenges of national reconstruction, social healing, rehabilitation and reconciliation. Labour migration in a densely populated small island state such as Singapore requires careful management, where housing the migrant workers is only one of the issues that needs addressing. The country’s Senior Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower, Mr Hawazi Daipi, writes about related matters such as protecting the vulnerable migrant workers and educating them on their rights and responsibilities of working in Singapore.


The Parliament of Bermuda first underwent the process of reviewing itself against the CPA Benchmarks for Democratic Legislature in 2006, to help achieve an efficient and effective parliamentary service. A Joint Subcommittee on Governance and Reform was established with a mandate to examine, make recommendations and report its findings on the Legislature’s management structure and governance. A Member of the Subcommittee and Government Whip and House Leader, Hon. N.H. Cole Simons, JP, MP, summarizes the recommendations that were presented to Parliament and ultimately used as a road map forward.


Managing water for domestic, commercial and industrial needs in Western Australia is an ongoing challenge, particularly for one of the driest parts of one of the driest continents on earth.


The Minister for Water and


Forestry, Hon. Mia Davies, MLA, describes the measures that have helped manage existing water resources, and also have increased the availability and accessibility for development, industry and agriculture to enable Western Australia to compete in the global market. With domestic workers’


constituting a growing sector of the employee workforce in Pakistan, it is becoming more pertinent than ever to have legislation in place that protects their rights and ensure better treatment. A new Bill is anticipated will lead to equality and better treatment for all workers, claims the Senator behind its movement, Senator Osman Khan.


Bringing more women into Parliament dominates the topics of the next two articles. A Member of the Parliament of Uganda, and Chairperson of the Uganda Woman Parliamentary Association, Hon. Betty Amongi, MP, encourages looking at the obstacles faced by many women – even after gaining a seat – that deter others from following suit and entering politics. Looking at the legacy left behind by former President of Malawi Dr Joyce Banda,


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