ASPG Annual Conference 2019
‘Parliaments navigating disruption in 2019’

2–4 October 2019 | Australian Parliament House, Canberra

Parliaments perform a number of key democratic functions. They represent, legislate, form the executive, and hold that executive to account. While these functions have more or less remained constant throughout the history of parliamentary democracy, powerful executives, technological disruption and the diversity and inclusion agenda all pose challenges (and opportunities) for parliaments in performing the legislative, representative and accountability aspects of their remit.

Innovation offers the chance for parliaments to assert their democratic pre-eminence, but not without risk.

The conference theme is deliberately broad so we can consider how, as parliamentarians, parliamentary officials, academics, journalists and other stakeholders, we guide and manage the health of our parliamentary form of government.

Provisional program

Click on the accordion tabs below to view the current provisional program for this year’s conference. Further details will be added as they become available.

2.30pm – 4.30pm ASPG National Executive Meeting
Bluebell Room, Level 1, Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory
196 London Circuit, Canberra 2601 ACT
5.00pm – 6.00pm Welcome reception
Hosted by H.E. GEN Hon David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor-General of Australia
Government House, Dunrossil Dr, Yarralumla ACT 2600
9.00am Registration
Main Committee Room, Level 1, Australian Parliament House, Parliament Dr, Canberra ACT 2600
9.30am Official opening
10.00am 2019 Keynote Speech
To be announced 
10.30am Morning tea
10.45am Session 1: Navigating disruption – Parliamentary deliberation and debate
The quality of debate in upper houses in Australia
Patrick O’Brien, Parliament of VictoriaExamining parliamentary debate in the Senate during the 45th Parliament
Jed Reardon, Australian SenatePrivate members’ bill case study: abortion legislation in Western Australia
Janine Freeman MLA, Legislative Assembly of Western Australia
12.00pm Lunch
Optional tour of Parliament House from 12.45pm
1.30pm Session 2: Navigating disruption – Influences on policy and legislation
Influencing policy and achieving legislative outcomes by backbench and crossbench senators in the 45th Parliament
Maureen Weeks, Australian SenateDisrupting the law making agenda: how parliaments navigate the findings of independent inquiries
A/Prof Laura Grenfell, University of AdelaideThe role that independent bodies can play to support Parliament navigate disruption
Commonwealth Parliamentary Budget Office
2.45pm Session 3: Procedural and institutional disruption on social media (1)
Social media’s disruptive impacts (both negative and positive) for parliaments
Hans Landon-Lane, New Zealand ParliamentGuidelines on the use of social media in parliament
Joshua Forkert, Parliament of South Australia
3.30pm Afternoon tea
3.45pm Session 4: Procedural and institutional disruption on social media (2)
‘Fake news’ and political processes in Australia
Dr Luke Buckmaster & Dr Tyson Wils, Australian Parliamentary LibraryFrom Fleet Street to official tweet: the evolution of vice-regal communications in Australia
Chris Piggott-McKellar, Office of the Queensland Governor
4.30pm End of conference day one
5.30pm Optional tour of Old Parliament House 
Old Parliament House, 18 King George Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600
6.00pm Conference dinner
With guest entertainer Tim the Yowie Man
Old Parliament House, 18 King George Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600 
9.00am Registration
Main Committee Room, Level 1, Australian Parliament House, Parliament Dr, Canberra ACT 2600
9.15am Session 5: Navigating disruption to parliamentary committees – evidence, consensus and scrutiny
The truth, the half-truth, and nothing like the truth
Lynley Ducker & Aleshia Westgate, Australian House of RepresentativesDoes legislative scrutiny by parliamentary committees improve human rights compatibility of legislation?
Lynda Pretty, Queensland Parliament

Disrupting consensus: understanding the role and nature of minority reports in parliamentary committee inquiries
John Aliferis, independent researcher, & Dr Anita Mackay, La Trobe University

10.30am Conference photo and morning tea
11.00am Session 6: Navigating disruption – community engagement
Using technology to engage citizens
Hon Jonathan O’Dea MP, Parliament of New South WalesInstitutional discourses of engagement in British and Australian legislatures
Dr Alex Prior, University of Leeds

Taking on digital disruption: what Parliaments can learn from other sectors about sing social media to harness public engagement
Alex Hickman, Lisa Penman, & Maddison Evans, Parliament of Western Australia

From disruption to deliberations: improving the quality and impact of community engagement with parliamentary law-making
Dr Sarah Moulds, University of South Australia

12.00pm Lunch
ASPG Annual General Meeting (from 1.00pm)
Optional tour of Parliament House (from 1.30pm)
2.00pm Session 7: Navigating disruption – representation, inclusion, and diversity
Prayers and commencement practices as a measure of inclusivity in Oceanian parliaments
Jayden Evett, Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital TerritoryPanel: Parliamentary educators on the four elements of a successful education program
Facilitated by Angela Casey, Parliamentary Education Office
3.00pm Official closing
3.15pm End of conference day two
6.00pm Farewell drinks
Location to be announced

Registrations open

Click here to access a copy of the 2019 registration form.

Once completed, please send your completed registration form to

Conference Circulars

Circular No. 1
February 2019

Cover page of circular no. 1

Circular No. 2
Updated May 2019

Circular No. 3
July 2019

Circular No. 4
August 2019