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Wednesday, 15 October 2003
Page: 21495

Mrs IRWIN (3:39 PM) —Mr Speaker, as you would be aware after investigations regarding the number of schools that are coming to parliament next Thursday and Friday—and there are over 20—a lot of those schools have gone to a lot of trouble. Some of the kids have had cake stalls and fetes, and they come from underprivileged areas, especially within my area. I am wondering what sort of compensation the parliament will be giving to the children of Australia. They have made bookings—some of them are staying in motels and some of them are in caravan parks—and I am just wondering, as they cannot come to the parliament on that day, whether the government will be compensating them with other arrangements.

The SPEAKER —So far as I am aware, there is absolutely no restriction on the capacity of children to come to Canberra to visit the War Memorial, the library and all of those public attractions that make this such a great city to visit. So far as I am aware there is no restriction on them visiting Old Parliament House. All that the Presiding Officers are seeking to do, on advice and recognising the level of security that has been recommended to us, is to act responsibly, which is precisely what we have done. I would have expected that that action would be endorsed by all members.