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Thursday, 17 September 1987
Page: 310


Mr TIM FISCHER(10.56) —I shall detain the House for no more than two minutes, but I wish to raise the serious matter of the air-conditioning of this Parliament. Since Parliament has resumed a number of members have succumbed to flu of varying degrees of intensity. It has been reported tonight that one member, whose office is in the annex, is suffering from glandular fever. This situation has existed for many years. This is an old parliamentary building and we are about to leave it, but there has always been a heavy air of suspicion associated with this air-conditioning system in terms of the unhealthy air that permeates throughout the building, with great potential damage to the health of staff who have to work in horrific conditions, and to members, senators and executive staff. The executive section of this parliamentary building was once subject to a major investigation in respect of legionnaires disease.

I note today that Mr Gray Robertson, the president of a United States international pollution company, has ruled that air in six buildings in Sydney was extremely unhealthy and threatening to health. Although, I know, Madam Speaker, that you are not in a position to order any major changes in this final 12 months' occupation of this House, I would hope that within the existing resources available to you perhaps some check could be made, on the resumption of the Budget session, to ensure that there is nothing untoward associated with the air-conditioning system. I hope that such an investigation will be able to show that we are all not at risk under this air-conditioning system, and that it will not cause further injury or damage to health, which in turn affect the efficiency and the deliberations of this Parliament. It is my personal belief that for decades the air-conditioning system of this Parliament has affected the efficiency of government and Parliament. I raise this matter seriously tonight and ask, Madam Speaker, that perhaps you contact Mr Gray Robertson, who is now visiting Australia, to ask him to volunteer an opinion on the air-conditioning of this parliamentary building.