First ever cross-party delegation to Australia and New Zealand begins full programme of engagements


For the first time since the Parliament was established, a cross-party delegation of MSPs will today begin a programme of engagements as part of a two-week visit to Australia and New Zealand.

Following an invitation from the Australian and New Zealand parliaments, the members will undertake meetings to promote the work of the Scottish Parliament in its first ten years as well as looking to learn from counterparts from more established Parliaments.

Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: “It is a great honour that the Australian and New Zealand parliaments have invited us to share our experiences as, like us, they believe opportunities to learn from other Parliamentary institutions are incredibly valuable.

"Our delegation will represent the Scottish Parliament and promote our experience in new ways of working to other parliamentarians from five different legislature. These include our Festival of Politics and Public Petitions Committee.

"Equally, learning from other parliaments is important and we intend to listen, learn and return with ideas and proposals on a variety of subjects including promoting minority languages and engaging with young people.”

During his visit, the Presiding Officer is taking the opportunity to meet 10-year-old Duncan Ross, who was born on 1 July 1999 but was unable to attend the birthday party hosted at Holyrood earlier this year. Duncan and his family moved to Adelaide from Aberdour in June 2006.

Delegation members are: Ted Brocklebank MSP, Ross Finnie MSP, Rhoda Grant MSP and Sandra White MSP, led by the Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP. The programme starts in Perth, and takes in meetings in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney before moving into New Zealand, visiting Wellington and Dunedin.

It is anticipated the two-week programme should come in within the allocated budget of £40,000.

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