Australia should support efforts for a global parliament: Green party leader

30. June 2011

In a speech at the National Press Club on Wednesday, the leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown, voiced support for the creation of a global parliament. As the Greens control the balance of power in the Australian Senate, the Green’s position will

Senator Bob Brown
Image: Australian Greens

potentially impact on government policy.

“The Howard government backed George W Bush's invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in the cause of democracy”, Senator Brown said, “so why shouldn’t we now join vigorous moves in Europe and at the United Nations for a global people’s assembly based on one person, one vote, one value?” Such a global parliament, that according to Senator Brown “could be right here in Australia”, “would tackle international questions like nuclear proliferation, currency speculation, marine ecosystem destruction and those billion people who could be fed and literate if only a tenth of global military spending was sent to their assistance.”

Replying to a journalist’s question, Senator Brown remarked that the issue was “conceptual” at the moment. Global governance based on a representative global parliament will not occur in his lifetime, Senator Brown commented. He argued, however, ''why should Australia not be at the centre of what is inevitably going to be a global parliamentary governance down the line - if we human beings are going to live with each other on this marvellous planet of ours as we go on our joy ride of the future? Of course we are going to have make consensus decisions.''

Speech at the National Press Club at Youtube. Comments on global parliament at 10:30 and 40:30.


A UN Parliamentary Assembly

The Secretary-General of the international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly that is based in Berlin, Germany, Andreas Bummel, commented that a UN Parliamentary Assembly would be a first pragmatic step towards the vision of a global parliament. “Setting up a parliamentary assembly at the UN in principle would be possible within only a few years of preparation”, Mr. Bummel said.

“It’s not a pie-in-the-sky fantasy. There’s extensive experience at the regional level that we can draw upon. For instance, there is the European Parliament, the Pan-African Parliament, the Mercosur Parliament and there is also the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe that includes 56 states and stretches from Vancouver to Vladivostok. Some of the scepticism that has been voiced in Australia might be rooted in Australia’s lack of experience with such bodies”, he noted.

“We hope that Australia will join the efforts for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Senator Brown’s move comes at the right time. Just recently, the European Parliament has called on the EU’s 27 foreign ministers to promote a UN Parliamentary Assembly at the next session of the UN General Assembly”, Mr. Bummel said.

Public support in Australia

An opinion poll conducted by GlobeScan in 2005 in 18 countries established that in Australia 56 percent of respondents were in favor of the idea of a “new UN Parliament”, while 35 percent opposed it. The question asked in that poll was, among others: "Please tell me if you favor or oppose the following proposal: Creating a new UN Parliament, made up of representatives directly elected by citizens, having powers equal to the current UN General Assembly that is controlled by national governments."

Top image: Senator Bob Brown during a press conference in March 2011, Source: Australian Greens

See also:

Coverage in The Age, June 30, 2011

Tags: Australia