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Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Page: 3377


Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry) (09:32): On indulgence and on behalf of the government, we'd like to thank Her Majesty for her message conveyed to us this morning by you on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the opening of this parliament. All Australians are very proud of what we've managed to achieve here physically in this building but also in our democracy over the last 117 years. This is the most visited building of all buildings in Australia, even more than the Sydney Opera House.

We have a tremendous program that brings schoolchildren here, which successive governments have supported in a bipartisan way. I have to say that, when I return to my electorate and talk to children who've been to the parliament, they have a lot to say about our parliament, our democracy and our system of government. They're very proud of it.

I would say that I actually did work in Old Parliament House over 30 years ago. I worked for Amanda Vanstone in Old Parliament House on the Senate side in the 1980s, and I came here as part of the new parliament. There are significant differences between the old parliament and this parliament. The old parliament was very, very small, but it meant that you were very close to people on all sides of the House. But it was not functional as a building. This building is very functional and much better for government and much better for a democracy of the sophistication and stature of ours, but it's not quite as intimate. So there are swings and roundabouts. I think, on balance, it's a much better parliament than the old one, and I'm very pleased that the Fraser government commissioned it.