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Monday, 22 August 1988
Page: 2


Mr HAWKE (Prime Minister) —I move:

That this House expresses its thanks and appreciation to the Parliaments, Governments and peoples of those countries, States and Territories and to those organisations which have so graciously presented gifts to Australia's new Parliament House and extends a warm welcome to those Presiding Officers and representatives who are present today.

Madam Speaker, on the historic first sitting day in this building, I should like to take the opportunity to express the appreciation of the Parliament, the Government and the people of Australia to the parliaments, governments and peoples of those countries, States and Territories and those organisations which have generously presented gifts to Australia's new Parliament House. It is particularly pleasing that representatives of many of those donors, including the presiding officers of other parliaments, are able to be with us in the House today. The internal spaces of the building now display the embroideries, tapestries, paintings, maps and other gifts sent here from the four corners of the world and the four corners of Australia. They are already part of this building's own history. And, of course, outside the building we see sculptures, benches and trees presented by our friends to add to our enjoyment when we escape our duties within these walls.

It is appropriate that I make special mention of the gifts located within this chamber. The chamber table, made in Australia to the Parliament House architects' design, was sponsored by the Canadian House of Commons, and the Hansard table is a gift from the State of South Australia. All these gifts will remind us and future generations of parliamentarians of our international ties, our bonds with the Australian States and the responsibility that we owe to the Australian people to cherish and preserve our system of parliamentary democracy.

In expressing my thanks to those who join us for this special day and to those who have presented gifts, I believe that they share our pride in this great building. Their generosity indicates the respect in which Australia's system of parliamentary democracy is held and which will prosper in these new surroundings.