Lord Speaker addresses Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

01 November 2012

Address to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia
By the Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza
Queen's Robing Room
Thursday 1 November 2012


'Mr President,
On behalf of the House of Lords and everyone else here today, I thank you for your warm words. I hope that the response from those members assembled here this morning will have given you some indication of how much we appreciate your being here.

As is often the case when this room plays host to visiting heads of state, we are able to say that there are valuable links between our respective parliaments. For example, in recent years delegations from the Committee for International Co-operation as well as the Committee responsible for scrutinising revenue and expenditure from your House of Regional Representatives have visited Westminster; and members of our Houses visited Indonesia earlier this year under the auspices of the British Group of the Inter-parliamentary Union. Members of both Houses, some of whom you have already met today, are active in the Indonesia All-Party Parliamentary Group.

The focus of a State Visit is inevitably on the relations between governments. But links between our parliaments are important too. It is both interesting and instructive for parliamentarians to compare and contrast how our respective institutions work. So often we face the same challenges, even where – for constitutional and practical reasons – our political responses might differ.

A mutual exchange of experience is especially valuable between our two countries. Parliamentary democracy in Indonesia is still relatively new and is changing, evolving and improving and we do not underestimate the challenges facing emerging or transitional democracies. As the House of Lords’ position in the British system demonstrates, parliamentary democracy can take many forms. And however far back we may trace our history, we must always remain open to change and evolution. Parliamentary democracy is not a state but a constantly shifting process.

President Yudhoyono, you have many engagements during your time here in the United Kingdom and we are delighted that a visit to Parliament was high on your agenda. I hope that the rest of your visit will be both enjoyable and fruitful, and I look forward to continued contact with Indonesia in the years to come.'

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