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Wednesday, 4 April 1973
Page: 1043

Mr MATHEWS (CASEY, VICTORIA) - I ask the Prime Minister a question about raids. Is he aware that police Under the control of the Victorian Chief Secretary have seized posters of Michelangelo's David? Can he say which other notable works of arts will be threatened if this action is accepted as a precedent? Will he act to ensure that no Australian is denied a full access to the artistic heritage of mankind?

Mr WHITLAM - I am sure that the honourable gentleman as the father of a teenage daughter shows for her welfare the proper solicitude that all Victorian members of

Parliament, State and Federal, should show: I make no bones about it; I applaud the courageous action of Mr Meagher, the Victorian Chief Secretary, in impounding these posters of Michelangelo's David. I would wish that all State capitals had similarly effective guardians. I would not want Melbourne, my birthplace, or Sydney, my habitat, to be affronted by such works.

Mr Fox - Say what is on the other side of them.

Mr WHITLAM - That is the trouble. This one is larger than life and full front. I do not want the Continental museum in our country. If one goes to the Accademia in Florence one can see the obverse of Michelangelo's David, but not in perspective. That is, one sees the whole blatant work from every other point in that gallery. Not only that; another copy is in the city square and a third is in the Piazzale on the other side of the river. The Florentines seem to have an obsession with David. 1 went with the honourable gentleman - I am sure it was up a flight of stairs - to the Bargello and there was that other pornographer Donatello's David, but admittedly on a more seemly scale. I do not believe that people should send up the guardians of our morals in this way. I was appalled to see that in the great new gallery in Melbourne the Eucharistic Congress was commemorated by a reproduction, at close quarters, of the Sistine Chapel with Adam in as blatant a posture. In Sydney there is the Archibald Fountain which has not merely one but, to my memory, 3 naked male figures for everybody in the park - man, woman and child - to see.

Mr Snedden - I raise a point of order. If the honourable gentleman wishes to entertain his Party and to display his erudition would he do it in the Caucus and leave question time to important matters of State?

Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no substance in the point of order.

Mr WHITLAM - I will leave the right honourable gentleman to visit Brussels where he will see a little boy, in public, acting as I am sure he would.

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