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Thursday, 24 October 1974
Page: 1991

Senator GRIMES (Tasmania) - It is with some trepidation that I follow such articulate gentlemen as our legal friends who have spoken in this debate. But I feel that in view of what has been said I should add a few points. One thing that prompted me to speak was the second reading speech of Senator Poyser in which he said that on 6 separate occasions the Senate has voted in favour of Capital Hill. All the arguments have been advanced previously, and I will not go over them; I just go along with them. Really, apart from making some interesting reflections on the document produced by the National Capital Development Commission, Senator Withers said very little. But like Senator Button, I did some investigations into and some readings of previous debates on the siting of the new and permanent parliament house. It seems that 3 considerations have always been advanced. There was the practical considerationwhether it is more difficult to build the new and permanent parliament house on Capital Hill or on Camp Hill. There is probably not much difference, although some people suggest that it would be a little more difficult to build on Capital Hill.

The second consideration was the aesthetic consideration. 1 suggest that in this debate only Senator Button has referred to that consideration. Two groups of witnesses came along to the inquiries that were held. One group was the architects and the other group was the politicians. In the inquiries only the architects advanced the aesthetic consideration but a third factor has become obvious tonight. It was pointed out by Senator Button and Senator James McClelland, and it was again pointed out by Senator Missen. This is the psychological factor. One needs to look at the submissions by the architects- the socalled experts- and the submissions by the politicians which were made to those inquiries. The submissions by the architects were concerned with aesthetics and practical considerations of the building. The submissions by the politicians contained this psychological factor that we must dominate. One honourable senator who is not present tonight- I will not name him- made a submission to an inquiry saying: 'I favour Capital Hill'.

It was said that Parliament should dominate the Public Service and that it was inconceiveable that anybody should dominate Parliament. That line of thinking was reflected in all the submissions. Senator Missen said tonight that the important thing is that we must not be dominated by other people, we must dominate them. Senator James McClelland wisely interjected and pointed out that you do not do that by setting a building on a hill like a castle or a church, standing over everybody, dominating people. This is a democracy. If we had a monarchy or a dictatorship such as that of Mussolini, undoubtedly it would be suitable to have a mausoleum up on a hill. Senator Button's arguments about the aesthetic and practical value of Camp Hill impressed me as did Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson's points. I think we have to be wary of putting a building on a hill. It would be very difficult to add to in the future, as undoubtedly will be necessary. Canberra is remote enough from the rest of the country as it is. It is tremendously remote. The public servants who live here are remote from the rest of the community and their problems. It would be a great mistake to have us and our advisers stuck up there, in an even more remote position. For aesthetic, practical and psychological reasons the new and permanent Parliament House should go on Camp Hill where Burley Griffin wanted it.

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