In 1989 the patron of the CPA was the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II. The vice-patronship rotates amongst Heads of State and of Government of the Commonwealth nations who host its forthcoming annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. The Association's supreme authority is the General Assembly, constituted by delegates to the annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. The business and activities of the CPA are managed by an Executive Committee, which reports to the General Assembly. The CPA's funds are derived from membership fees paid by its branches, as well as from two trust funds and benefactors.
The official publication of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is The Parliamentarian, the Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments which was first published in January 1920. The organisation administers the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), a network across the Commonwealth which promotes greater representation for women in Parliament; the CPA Small Branches network, representing parliaments and legislatures with populations below 500,000 people; the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network; and the Commonwealth Youth Parliament, an annual gathering of young people hosted by a Commonwealth Parliament.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) currently has approximately 180 branches and is divided into nine regions: Africa, Asia, Australia, British Islands and Mediterranean, Canada, Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic, India, Pacific, and South-East Asia. The CPA Headquarters Secretariat is based in London.
The CPA was founded as the Empire Parliamentary Association in 1911, with its first branches being Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, the latter branch administering the Association as a whole. In 1948 the Association changed its name to the current Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and invited all branches to participate in the organisation's administration.
Previous CPA Chairpersons have included: Emilia Monjowa Lifaka MP, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Cameroon (2017-2021); Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker of Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban of Bangladesh (2014–2017), who succeeded Sir Alan Haselhurst MP (2011–2014), formerly Chairman of Ways and Means of the UK Parliament.
The position of Acting CPA Vice-Chairperson is vacant.
Since September 2019, the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians is Shandana Gulzar Khan, MNA from the National Assembly of Pakistan. Previous CWP Chairpersons include: Hon. Noraini Ahmad MP, Parliament of Malaysia; Rt Hon. Rebecca Kadaga MP, Parliament of Uganda; Hon. Alix Boyd Knights, House of Assembly of Dominica; Ms Kashmala Tariq, National Assembly of Pakistan; Hon. Lindiwe Maseko, Parliament of South Africa and Gauteng Provincial Legislature.
Since February 2021, the Acting Chairperson for the CPA Small Branches is Joy Burch, MLA, Speaker of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly. She assumed this position on the resignation of the previous incumbent Niki Rattle, Speaker of the Parliament of the Cook Islands. The first CPA Small Branches Chairperson was Hon. Angelo Farrugia, Speaker of the Parliament of Malta.
In addition, since October 2020, the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) is Kevin Murphy (Canadian politician), MLA, Speaker of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia.
The CPA's 8th Secretary-General is Stephen Twigg. He was appointed in August 2020 for a four-year term. Twigg was elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom as a Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2005 (Enfield Southgate) and from 2010 to 2019 (Liverpool West Derby). During his parliamentary career, he held several senior positions including chairing the International Development Select Committee, Minister for Schools and a range of Shadow Front Bench roles.
Previous Secretaries-General have been: Karimulla Akbar Khan, UK/Guyanese Lawyer (2016-2019); William F. Shija, former Minister Tanzania Parliament (2007–2014); Denis Marshall, former Minister New Zealand Parliament (2002–2006); Arthur Donahoe, former Speaker Nova Scotia House of Assembly (1993–2001); David Tonkin, former Premier South Australia (1986–1992); Sir Robin Vandervelt from South Africa (1961–1985); Sir Howard d’Egville (1949–1960).
|Members||National and Sub-National Parliaments|
|Alderney||States of Alderney|
|Anguilla||Parliament of Anguilla|
|Antigua and Barbuda|
|The Bahamas||Parliament of the Bahamas|
|Bangladesh||Parliament of Bangladesh|
|Barbados||Parliament of Barbados|
|Belize||Parliament of Belize|
|Bermuda||Parliament of Bermuda|
|Botswana||Parliament of Botswana|
|British Virgin Islands||House of Assembly of the British Virgin Islands|
|Cameroon||National Assembly of Cameroon|
|Cayman Islands||Parliament of the Cayman Islands|
|Cook Islands||Parliament of the Cook Islands|
|Cyprus||House of Representatives of Cyprus|
|Dominica||House of Assembly of Dominica|
|Eswatini||Parliament of Eswatini|
|Falkland Islands||Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands|
|Fiji||Parliament of Fiji|
|Gambia||National Assembly of the Gambia|
|Ghana||Parliament of Ghana|
|Grenada||Parliament of Grenada|
|Guernsey||States of Guernsey|
|Guyana||National Assembly of Guyana|
|Isle of Man||High Court of Tynwald|
|Jamaica||Parliament of Jamaica|
|Jersey||States of Jersey|
|Kenya||Parliament of Kenya|
|Kiribati||House of Assembly|
|Lesotho||Parliament of Lesotho|
|Malawi||Parliament of Malawi|
|Malta||Parliament of Malta|
|Mauritius||Parliament of Mauritius|
|Montserrat||Legislative Assembly of Montserrat|
|Mozambique||Parliament of Mozambique|
|Namibia||Parliament of Namibia|
|Nauru||Parliament of Nauru|
|New Zealand||Parliament of New Zealand|
|Papua New Guinea|
|Rwanda||Parliament of Rwanda|
|Saint Helena||Legislative Council of Saint Helena|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis. Also known as Saint Christopher and Nevis.|
|Saint Lucia||Parliament of Saint Lucia|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||House of Assembly of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Samoa||Legislative Assembly of Samoa|
|Seychelles||Parliament of Seychelles|
|Sierra Leone||Parliament of Sierra Leone|
|Singapore||Parliament of Singapore|
|Solomon Islands||National Parliament of the Solomon Islands|
|Sri Lanka||Parliament of Sri Lanka|
|Tonga||Legislative Assembly of Tonga|
|Trinidad and Tobago|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly|
|Tuvalu||Parliament of Tuvalu|
|Uganda||Parliament of Uganda|
|Vanuatu||Parliament of Vanuatu|
|Zambia||Parliament of Zambia|
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