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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 11875


Mr TURNBULL (Leader of the Opposition) (2:18 PM) —Mr Speaker, on indulgence: again I associate the opposition with the fine remarks of the Prime Minister. Jorn Utzon came from a nation of sailors and a family of sailing boat builders. He was a sailor himself. And he came to a city on a harbour filled with sails and he created a most remarkable building, a building that 50 years after it was designed still seems as fresh and modern as it was the moment it was conceived in Jorn Utzon’s mind.

What a remarkable creation the Sydney Opera House is. It sits there in Sydney—new, fresh, dynamic, the ultimate in modernity, even though most Australians cannot remember a time when it was not there. And we have the other great symbol of our nation, Uluru, as old as time itself. What a remarkable thing it says about Australia that we have those two great magnificent creations, each of them speaking to our timelessness, our history, but also to the fact that we are a young nation, a new nation always striving forward.

Jorn Utzon has inspired so many architects around the world. If you go down to the new National Portrait Gallery you will see his inspiration there. Every city around the world that chooses to hire a great architect—many of them nowadays Australian—to build an iconic building is saying to itself: we want to have a Sydney Opera House; we want to do for our city what Jorn Utzon did for Australia. His building is a song in concrete. It speaks of Sydney but it is bigger than that. As the Prime Minister said, it speaks of a whole exciting nation always new, always looking to the future. Jorn Utzon’s son, Jan, said that when his father closes his eyes he sees the Opera House. Mr Speaker, when we see the Opera House we see in our eyes the spirit of Jorn Utzon.