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Thursday, 24 October 1974
Page: 1988


The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Button, I think it would be better if you addressed the Chair.


Senator BUTTON -Yes, Mr President.Of course, I would say that Sir Robert obviously fulfilled all his aspirations, which is something that is not given to many of us. But I do not think the lakeside is seriously considered any longer as a site for anything but a hotel.


Senator Milliner - If we all talk as long as you we will never get the Bill through.


Senator BUTTON -That might be so. I am also concerned that the Senate should not be in any way in awe of decisions of previous Senates or in awe of decisions of the House of Representatives. After all, we are constantly being told that we are in some way a chamber which should assert its supremacy from time to time. In saying that I am not suggesting that the 2 buildings should be divided in any way. But I put it to the Senate that we should possess the subtle qualities of femininity and have the capacity to change the mind of the Senate. It might appeal to some of my friends on the other side of the chamber if I say that what I am really putting is that we should reject supply of a parliament building in the clouds. So I oppose the Bill introduced by Senator Poyser. I foreshadow an amendment in favour of the Camp Hill site.

Senator Sir KENNETHANDERSON (New South Wales) (9.19)- I think the Senate should express gratitude to Senator Button for the magnificent advocacy which he has given us for the Camp Hill site. I find complete satisfaction in his expressions of view. Apart altogether from the question of Camp Hill or Capital Hill, I am sure that we are all as one in saying that his choice of expression in relation to Camp Hill was realy superb. I am interested in the second reading speech made by Senator Poyser. I have some reservations about some aspects of it. It is true that this matter was dealt with on 6 occasions. I think it is also fair and true to say that on those 6 occasions I have remained steadfast as an advocate of Camp Hill. Senator Withers commented about having a free vote. I think that on the first 4 occasions I was the only one in the Senate who did not have a free vote because if I had not presented a motion in favour of Camp Hill, as it were in a pro forma manner, we would not have had a motion on which to vote.

I think Senator Button has made a valid point that it is a new Senate. I think there are 1 5 new senators in the Parliament. On the occasion that I forced a vote on this issue, 15 November, believe it or not, my motion attracted 14 votes. If I add those 15 to my 14, theoretically we would thump it in. I suppose that even those who changed their minds on that occasion might change back to Camp Hill. All I can say is that there is great joy in heaven for a sinner that repenteth. I hope some honourable senators who were so adamnat for Capital Hill will now see the light of day and come back to the original Burley Griffin concept. It is true that during the period of the Menzies Government there was the intervention of the lakeside as a site. A very eminent town planner was brought out from England. In a lighter vein, the story is that he got a set of stepladders and climbed onto Parliament House and said: 'There is the site down there'. The site was to me on the lake side.


Senator Button - How much did he charge for that?


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - I do not know, but it had no validity in the hearts and minds of the parliamentarians of the day, although the concept of his proposition had ingredients which could very properly be transferred to the Camp Hill site. The basic proposition is that a parliament house should be with the people. It should be where the people are and should not be in the heavens. When I think of the Capital Hill site I think of the expression: 'Abandon hope all ye who enter here'. It seems to me that it is isolating us from the people. I thought Senator Withers got on to dangerous ground in his advocacy of the Capital Hill site, because of all the other ingredients up there that necessarily go with it. If the new and permanent parliament house is built on Camp Hill the Parliament will be quickly and readily accessible to all its departments and to the people. If the edifice and associated buildings are to be built on Capital Hill, the concept of a Capital Hill site is destroyed even in the minds of those who advocate that site.

I do not wish to dwell on this matter for very long, but to me the points made by Senator Button were true and accurate because there is the essential ingredient of the link between the Camp Hill site and the lake. There is also the essential ingredient that part of the Burley Griffin plan was that the parliament house should be in the Camp Hill area and there was to be another edifice on Capital Hill, as there is now, in the shape of the hill with the circular road and the Australian flag on the hill. It seems to me an extraordinary proposition to take the national parliament away from the area of the people. The Capital Hill site will isolate us, the people's representatives, up in the air. When I was Leader of the Government in the Senate I advocated the Camp Hill site. Whether I get 14 votes on this occasion because of my advocacy or the couple I needed on a former occasion, I, as Leader of the Government in the Senate, will remain steadfast to the proposition that Camp Hill should be the site for parliament house. If the Camp Hill site is selected the buildings will be erected more quickly. I think that it will be ultimately an attractive parliament house and will be with the people whom we represent in this place.







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