Oceania: Peace Talk Webinar

Prepared by UPF Australia

Heavenly Asia Pacific UPF Oceania conducted the IAPP Peace Talks Webinar on June 27, 2020 with over 300 participants. Current and former Parliamentarians from Marshall Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Nepal shared their remarkable insights and reflections regarding the theme, “The Role of Parliamentarians in Addressing the Corona Virus Crisis.” The speakers and panelists have emphasized the importance of families, leadership and good governance, self-reliance, social dialogue, unity and cooperation among government, opposition and people, and interdependence.

Hon. Kessai H Note, Speaker of the House- Marshall Islands (1988-1999), President of Republic of Marshall Islands 2000-2008, Minister of Justice (January 2020-present) said that in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our communities he urged all his fellow Parliamentarians across the Pacific Oceania region to empower the governments to develop modern strategies, medical advancements and to share information analysis on research taken, transfer and motility of resources and technological know how within and between our countries.

Hon. Alvick Maharaj Assistant Minister for Employment, Productivity, Industrial Relations, Youth & Sport of Fiji, stressed the most important lessons from the pandemic are the need of self-reliance, be self-sufficient in goods and services that reduces imports and creates job opportunities, need for an early warning system for future crisis and the importance of governance and leadership and the social contract that allow citizens to accept interventions that are not comfortable.

Hon. Bruce Atkinson, Member of Parliament of Victoria, President of the Legislative Council, 2010-2018 Australia, acknowledged that Australia and New Zealand, are fortunate compared to many countries in the world and said that they owe some of that good fortune in the fact that they are islands and that they have a strong health system. He shared the flattening the curve approach, suppression type approach and the important points in the recovery stage of not only focusing on the health issues but also the implications and down-stream risks of any crisis. He also emphasized the importance of multilateral relationship and the important role of international organizations like UPF IAPP and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Hon. Ross Robertson, Former Member of the Parliament of New Zealand, including Assistant Speaker, in his 27 years as a member of Parliament found out that in time of crisis the family was always there, faith sustained me, prayer ignited me and the love lifted me to stay strong and steadfast. We learned from the Northern Hemisphere’s mistakes and being an island with a compliant population, we followed our leader. Their PM Ardern exemplifies confident, compassionate and charitable leadership. He also talked about biological security as very real and distinct possibility and urged governments around the world the need to campaign the ratification Biological Weapons conventions. Our focus now must be rebuilding the economy and our community to safeguard our children and grandchildren to have a life and a career. We should have strong plan to guide us , plan to create jobs and we are all investigators.

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