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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2843


Senator MACKLIN(5.33) —On behalf of the Australian Democrats I indicate that we will not be supporting the Opposition's amendment. The problem that arises in such matters generally is one of aesthetic concern. Certainly we have problems in that regard with any changes that would take place to this building. However, if one reads through the entire report of the Joint Standing Committee on the New Parliament House one notices considerable discussion about what will happen to the provisional Parliament House upon the vacation of Parliament to the new Parliament House. A number of options in relation to this are rehearsed particularly with regard to how this building will be treated, whether it will be renovated or restored. The Committee came up with the recommendation that no decision be made at that point as to whether this building be renovated or restored, but that it be left to a professional group.

Our only concern is that this addition proposed to be made at this time will be included as part of that consideration. We imagine that the addition to be made under this proposal will be removed. I do not think it will actually add anything to the building. I think it will detract considerably from its facade. However, when one sees that it is a temporary matter and that essentially Parliament House is for the operation of Parliament, not for viewing from the outside-indeed it is for use from the inside for the better workings of the Parliament-there do not seem to be many other ways, without considerable additional expense, that the gains that could be made by that small addition would be achieved. On that basis it is with regret that we cannot support the Opposition's amendment. If this goes ahead we hope it will be done in such a way that it will be as unobtrusive and fitting as possible. I think the renovations are best left to the professionals and not rehearsed by a series of amateurs in this place sitting as a committee. I am quite sure we would be able to turn the facade into some ghastly operation if we sat and deliberated on how it should be done. That might best be left to the professionals who could come up with an unobtrusive addition to the facade which might help us over the next few years.