December 1

The Queen likely to come to Perth CHOGM

The Queen is likely to visit Perth to attend the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.  Readers may recall the media consensus on The Queen’s last visit to Australia in March 2006 that would be her last.

The Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, announced that Commonwealth leaders meeting in Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago had decided unanimously that the next meeting be in Australia. The 2013 meeting is to be in Sri Lanka and in Mauritius in 2015.

Mr. Smith said the 2009 meeting had played a significant role in world affairs. In recent years the Commonwealth had taken  measures to tackle trouble spots like Zimbabwe and Fiji, and more recently suspending Fiji as a member of the 54 nation organisation.  

The meeting decided that Fiji should not take part in the Delhi Games in 2010, and admitted Rwanda as a member, the second country not to have been part of the British Empire. The meeting also adopted a consensus on climate change, and heard the views of the UN Secretary General and the French President.

…people reject attempt to embarass The Queen…

The attempt by some Vincentian politicans to make news by turning the Realm into a a republic while The Queen was on her way to the Commonwealth meeting was defeated by the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As some said in Australia in 1999, The Queen won the vote. And she did not campaign. 

 

 

This did not stop some politicians and commentators -c uriously republicans –  trying to involve The Queen in the Australian political debate. But Her Majesty had nothing to say about the controversial legislation concerning carbon before the Australian Parliament.

In the meantime Mr. Smith told the ABC that the next three CHOGM's bring  "… a very significant Inaian Ocean, South Asian and African emphasis for the next three CHOGMs and of course given that focus, Perth was the obvious host city." 

Mr Smith said the prerequisite for the Head of the Commonwealth to attend meant the Queen would attend the Perth meeting.

"This is a big international event and a terrific opportunity to showcase not only Australia but also from our point of view, if you like, our selfish local perspective, it's a terrific opportunity to showcase Perth and WA," he said.

Australia previously hosted Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings 1981 in Melbourne and in 2002 at Coolum in Queensland.Mr Smith said he had consulted Premier Colin Barnett and Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi about the plans before the decision was taken for Perth to host the event.  "They're obviously very pleased about it, as I am," he said.

….predictions  about irrelevance proved wrong…

Predictions made before the meeting and the organisation would pale into insignificance have been shown to be very wrong.  "And we saw in Port of Spain how one meeting, one gathering of foreign leaders, can build political momentum for one policy item or event," Mr Smith said.  

"This one was seen very much as a run-up to Copenhagen  ( the UN conference on climate change) … a lot of effort went into building momentum for Copenhagen


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