A global parliament comes to town
What type of world do you live in? Our increasing interconnectivity through technology or international policy issues puts forward an argument that we need to look beyond our immediate surroundings: that we need to think Global.
Sure, this happens on a daily basis as we have institutions and governance bodies like the United Nations. But what if a democratically elected global government existed and brought together State and non-State actors, each with the same authority, on the floor of Parliament—what would that look like? What would it consider? Could it work?
On Saturday 27 July, 50 students from over 30 countries met in the House of Representatives at Old Parliament House to hold the inaugural Model Global Parliament in Canberra. Students presented motions on education, human rights and environmental issues and engaged in negotiations and debate throughout the day.
This was no Parliament with a dividing line between Government and Opposition—rather, each ‘voice’ within the Parliament had the same rights and authority as the body sitting next to them. Majority on each motion or amendment ruled the day. This was a practical example of equality…between national or regional powers and non-government organisations—such an exciting and lively example of democracy in practice!
So, why does this matter? It matters because change is an evolving beast. If you agree that a change is needed in the structure and powers of global governance, then maybe the Model Global Parliament holds insights into future arrangements. It certainly inspired participants—it will be exciting to see where the next steps lead to!
Building on previous sessions of the Model Global Parliament held in Melbourne, the Canberra session had the opportunity to hear from former parliamentarian, the Hon Bob Brown. Special guests included Professor Chris Hamer and Mr Steve Killelea, Founder and Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace, and Professor Bruce Chapman, Professor Charles Sampford and Professor Glenn Withers. The Canberra session was proudly supported by the Crawford School of Public Policy, at the Australian National University. An initiative by Ms Pera Wells, currently the Australian representative on the Steering Committee for the Global Interdependence Movement, Model Global Parliament has already been launched in the University of Melbourne, Monash University and now Australian National University. The next session of the MGP will be held in Sydney.