Australia’s charter gets
Australia’s Charter for the Commonwealth has been officially adopted by other Commonwealth countries.
Acting Prime Minister, Wayne Swan and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, welcomed the adoption of the Charter by other Commonwealth leaders.
The Ministers said it was a key achievement for Australia during its term as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth which runs from October 2011 to November 2013.
“In what is a significant achievement, the Charter enshrines for the first time the values and aspirations of a Commonwealth in a single document,” the Ministers said.
“The Charter reflects the Commonwealth’s commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
“It sets out the Commonwealth’s principles of tolerance, respect and understanding, freedom of expression, separation of powers and gender equality.”
The Ministers said the Charter emphasised the importance of young people and civil society, the environment and sustainable development, good governance and access to health, education, food and shelter.
“Leaders at last year’s Perth Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) called for the negotiation of the Charter following recommendations made by the Commonwealth Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) for a document that captures and institutionalises the Commonwealth ‘spirit’,” they said.
“It recognises the special needs of small and vulnerable states within the Commonwealth.”
The Ministers said the text of the charter had now been adopted by all members following national consultations and a meeting of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers in September 2012.
Edition 344, 15 January 2013