Parliamentary Bookshelf Vol 35 No 4

Article 11 / 13 , Vol 35 No 4 (Winter)

Parliamentary Bookshelf

Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice, 13th Edition, edited by Harry Evens and Rosemary Laing, Canberra: Department of the Senate, 2012, 942 p.

The publication of Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice, 13th edition is a wonderful tribute to James Rowland Odgers, Clerk of the Australian Senate from 1965 to 1979, and to Harry Evens, also Clerk of the Senate from 1988 to 2009. Odgers, who began compiling this parliamentary authority in 1953, edited five versions of the book with the sixth being produced in 1991 following his death but based on material he had prepared. Evens, the longest serving Senate Clerk, wrote all subsequent editions, co-editing the thirteenth with the current Senate Clerk, Dr. Rosemary Laing who has had twenty-two years’ experience working in the Senate. The book will undoubtedly prove invaluable to their President and committee chairs, assisting them to resolve questions on how their legislature should proceed on the business before them as well as to students of constitutionalism who monitor the Senate as to how well it fulfills its constitutional functions vis-à-vis the executive, the House of Representatives and the judiciary.

Parliamentary Book Shelf

Article 9 / 12 , Vol 34 No 4 (Winter)

Parliamentary Book Shelf

 Tony Blair, A Journey, London, Arrow Books, paperback edition, 2011, p. 718.

This book continues the tradition of British prime ministers reminiscing at the end of their careers about their lives and legacy. John Major, Margaret Thatcher, Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Ramsay MacDonald, Lloyd George, Arthur James Balfour, not to mention Winston Churchill, Robert Peel and Robert Walpole, all wrote memoirs.

A Declaration of Ethics for Presiding Officers?

Article 6 / 12 , Vol 34 No 3 (Autumn)

A Declaration of Ethics for Presiding Officers?

Speakers have a particular interest in reinforcing proper ethical behaviour. All presiding chairs are cognizant that a respectful and courteous demeanor on the part of members can take the poison out of the atmosphere, can calm a stormy house, and facilitate the restoring of parliament to its ideal state where the fiercest controversies can take place within an ambit of mutual respect, personal honour, and regular procedure for the protection of all opinions, even those of the smallest minority. Other professions, including Judges, have attempted to apply ethical theory to real-life situations and to establish standards for ethical conduct. Since 2000, the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Corporate Policy together with the Conference Board of Canada has been holding a Business Summit to talk about the challenges and potential for business ethics in Canada. Many federal government departments have established the position of Officer of Public Service Values and Ethics for their employees, while smaller departments and agencies assigned additional responsibility for values and ethics to existing executives. This article suggests that Speakers could adopt a Declaration of Ethics for Presiding Officers to outline the importance of ethics in parliamentary institutions.

Parliamentary Book Shelf

Article 8 / 11 , Vol 34 No 2 (Summer)

Parliamentary Book Shelf

The Saudi Majlis Ash-Shura: Its National & International Roles by Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Muhanna , Riyadh, 2009, 212 pages.

With the increased attention being given to the Middle East and their insurgent revolutions demanding more open and democratic societies, it is extremely beneficial to have up-to-date scholarly books pulling back the curtain on the legislative institutions within these autocratic regimes so we can learn more about their formal powers, how they are structured and operate, and how they relate to the broader civil society. Dr. Al-Muhanna, was born and still lives in Riyadh and has graduate degrees from George Washington University (U.S.A) and Durham University (U.K.). He has given us an excellent overview of one of the world’s most intriguing parliamentary chambers, Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council.