The Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF)’s Executive Committee meeting took place in Canberra on 13 January 2020. The meeting was chaired by the Hon. Tony Smith MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the APPF. The Chair made an acknowledgement of country, welcomed the delegations to Canberra, and expressed his hope for a successful and collaborative Forum.
Participants in the meeting included representatives of the following Executive Committee member countries: Japan, Indonesia, Laos, China, Russia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Canada. As the current and upcoming hosts of the APPF Annual Meetings, Australia and Korea were also present. Mr Smith advised that he had also invited Cambodia, as the previous year’s host, to attend the meeting.
Approval of the agenda for the 28th Annual Meeting
The Committee considered the draft agenda for the 28th Annual Meeting, with the Chair proposing as an addition a condolence motion for the APPF founder, the late Hon Yasuhiro Nakasone, to be moved during the opening ceremony.
The agenda, with the proposed amendment, was approved by the Executive Committee.
Proposed changes to APPF Rules of Procedure
The Chair noted that Japan had circulated proposed changes to the Rules of Procedure regarding the Honorary Presidency and Presidency, and invited Mr Hirofumi Nakasone to speak to the proposed changes. Mr Nakasone explained the reasons for the proposed rule changes, which follow the death of the Hon Yasuhiro Nakasone, founder and Honorary President of the APPF.
The Chair invited questions and comments on the proposal from members of the Executive Committee, and discussion ensued.
Noting broad agreement with the principle of the proposed amendments, but requests for clarification on certain aspects and for time to consider and consult on the proposed changes, the Chair proposed that, in order to enable further consideration and consultation to take place, the proposed changes be referred to the Drafting Committee. It was noted that, if necessary, the Executive Committee could reconvene during the course of the forum.
The Chair noted the presence of delegates from 10 observer countries in the Forum, and expressed his wish that delegations take full advantage of the opportunity to expand their parliamentary friendships.
The Chair advised the Executive Committee that 45 draft resolutions from 10 countries had been received and published prior to 13 January 2020.
Chairs of Plenary Sessions, Working Groups and Drafting Committee
The Chair informed the Executive Committee of the Chairs of Plenary Sessions, Working Groups and the Draft Committee as follows:
• Drafting Committee – Hon Kevin Andrews MP and Senator Dean Smith
• Meeting of Women Parliamentarians – Deputy President Senator Sue Lines
• Women Parliamentarians Working Group – Ms Maria Vamvakinou MP
• Plenary 1: Political and Security – Hon Dr John McVeigh MP
• Political and Security Matters Working Group – Senator the Hon David Fawcett
• Plenary 2: Economic and Trade – Senator Amanda Stoker
• Economic and Trade Matters Working Group – Deputy Speaker Mr Kevin Hogan MP
• Plenary 3: Regional Cooperation – Ms Sharon Claydon MP
• Regional Cooperation in the Asia Pacific Region Working Group – Mr Rob Mitchell MP
The Chair noted that it might be necessary on some occasions to vary these arrangements.
The Chair informed the meeting that Australia, Canada, Russia, Korea and Japan had provided implementation reports on previous resolutions pursuant to article 32 of the Rules of Procedure, and he tabled the reports.
Mr Chheang Vun from Cambodia reported on Cambodia’s role as the host of APPF27 in 2019, acknowledging the work undertaken to support the meeting, highlighting the success of the Women’s Parliamentarian Group, and thanking parliamentarians for their contribution.
Mr Konstantin Kosachev from Russia raised a concern regarding the relatively low number of countries tabling reports under article 32, and suggested that countries sponsoring resolutions should be encouraged to produce implementation reports. The Chair noted that the Drafting Committee could consider this matter in greater detail.
Membership of the Executive Committee
The next item of business concerned membership of the Executive Committee. Membership at the time of the 28th Annual Meeting was as follows:
• Russia and China (Northeast Asia)
• Indonesia and Laos (Southeast Asia)
• New Zealand (substituting for Australia) and Fiji (Oceania)
• Canada (the Americas)
• Australia (host country)
• Cambodia (guest of host)
• Republic of Korea (host of the 29th Annual Meeting)
• Japan (as designated by the Honorary President)
The Canadian delegation was asked to arrange the filling of the vacancy for the Americas sub-region, and New Zealand is substituting for Australia for the Oceania sub-region.
Future annual meetings
The Chair concluded the Executive Committee meeting by noting that Korea would host APPF29 in 2021, and that Thailand had offered to host the following meeting in 2022.
There being no further matters raised, the meeting adjourned.
Consideration of proposals by Drafting Committee
On 15 January 2020, the Executive Committee reconvened to consider two resolutions proposed by the Drafting Committee, concerning the proposed new role of APPF President.
The Chair invited the co-Chair of the Drafting Committee, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP of Australia, to explain the position on the proposed resolutions reached by the Drafting Committee. Following discussion, the Executive Committee agreed the following resolution:
The 28th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum:
Noting the 28th Annual Meeting has resolved to consider amending the APPF Rules of Procedure to provide for the new role of President, with the objective of having a single President to advocate for and advise the APPF:
1. Appoint a President for the period until the conclusion of APPF29 in 2021, noting that the President shall serve in an advisory capacity and shall promote the role of the APPF as an international parliamentary forum;
2. Request the President and the Executive Committee to:
(a) investigate ongoing resourcing of the APPF;
(b) review the relevant Rules of Procedure; and
(c) report on both matters to APPF29 in 2021;
3. Amend rule 12 to read:
The Chairman of the meeting shall serve as Chairman of the Executive Committee; and
4. Appoint the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Parliament of Australia, as the President in the first instance.
The meeting adjourned.