Niue’s twin parliament Northern Territory’s Speaker visits the island for the first time

Speaker of the Northern Territory Hon. Mark Monaghan

The Speaker of the Northern Territory (NT) Assembly in Australia Hon. Mark Monaghan, along with First Clerk Assistant Mr Russell Keith, arrived on the island last Friday. 

Since 2007, the Niue Assembly and the Northern Territory have shared a twinning relationship in its parliamentary system for fifteen years.

Initiated by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the twinning programme promotes cooperation and collaboration between Australian state and territory parliaments with the Pacific parliaments.

This is the first time the speaker of the NT has visited the island. 

The purpose of the Speaker’s visit is to reinforce and continue the good work that former Speakers and the relationship both Parliaments have forged and fostered over the years, strengthening the twinning relationship over the years. 

BCN News spoke with Hon. Monaghan yesterday afternoon who shared his thoughts on how important the twinning relationship is to him and the Northern Territory parliament. 

“It’s a very important thing to come and meet people and see people face to face…it’s very important for us to get a real deep understanding of where we have similarities and where we have learnings that we can learn from each other.”

“We certainly value the learnings of Niue in a sense that it’s almost the microcosm of what we experience in a global challenge. It’s one of the great things coming here to see it firsthand.”

”From a parliamentary perspective, there’s a great deal within the tradition of the commonwealth around some of the practices whether they are committees, whether it’s parliamentary systems, processes etc that actually can be shared and be understood but they are better shared when you know who you are sharing with.”

“We spent a couple of years in Covid times when we couldn’t see each other and couldn’t communicate with each other. Fortunately, we are now moving out of that and we are back to being able to engage as neighbours in these regions for the insuring that the people, the communities that elect us, whether it’s the Northern Territory government or whether it’s the Niuean government, the people that elect us get the benefit of some of that wiser decision-making,” says Hon. Monaghan. 

Born and bred in Scotland, the Speaker and his wife Michelle reside in Darwin, NT and have three children. 

With a profound background in business, education, engineering and politics, Speaker Monaghan also shared with BCN News his advice for the upcoming generation and those who are interested in pursuing these fields.

“I think what people need to pursue is their passion and not predetermine where that’s going to end up. I was an immigrant from Scotland, born and bred in Scotland. I moved to Australia and for the life of me never thought that this little Scottish-born Glaswegian would end up the speaker of an Australian Parliament.” 

“It’s about not confining yourself but pursuing your passion. Finding out what you are really interested in and there’s always a way of making that into a job and a career because if it’s something you’re passionate about, you’re going to be good at it. Because you immerse yourself in it and you contribute more to it than what is a normal day’s work.”

“For me, education is the core of my makeup. There are two very important aspects to coming and building capacities into the communities – health and education are the two. So you need to get them for everybody.” 

“My other passion was my father was in construction and I ended up running an engineering company. I say that it’s a very good job as a speaker, because what it gives me is the education that gives me the relationship with people and being able to influence behaviour whereas engineering is the process which is what a speaker is all about. It’s about process and making sure people are behaving,” says the NT Speaker Monaghan. 

The Speaker and first clerk assistant will depart the island this Friday.

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