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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26267

Senator RIDGEWAY (9:40 AM) —I move:

That the Senate, noting that the Games of the XXVIIIth Olympiad will commence in Athens, Greece on Friday, 13 August 2004:

(a) notes that the Elgin Marbles were removed from Athens during the occupation by the Ottoman Empire;

(b) recognises that the Parthenon is the most important symbol of Greek cultural heritage and according to the declaration of universal human and cultural rights, Greece has a duty to preserve its cultural heritage in its totality, both for its citizens and for the international community;

(c) acknowledges that the Elgin Marbles, or more precisely, the Parthenon Sculptures, are not freestanding works of art but integral architectural features of the Parthenon;

(d) notes that the Parthenon was erected in the 5th century BC to celebrate the victory of Athenian democracy, which encouraged the creation and development of all the arts as well as politics, philosophy, theatre and science as we know them today;

(e) is of the view that it is inappropriate that over half of the Parthenon's celebrated sculptural elements should be exhibited 2 000 miles away from the remaining elements and from the monument for which they were expressly designed and carved;

(f) finds that the request by the Greek community for the reunification of the sculptural elements of the Parthenon in Athens is a rightful and a legitimate request;

(g) is of the view that returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece would be a key move in promoting Europe's common cultural heritage; and

(h) calls on the Government of the United Kingdom to give positive consideration to Greece's request for the return of the Elgin Marbles to their natural site.

Question agreed to.