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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 6 May 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1974 ..


watched my sister taking her niece, who unfortunately passed away at the age of 17, when she had cystic fibrosis.

It is good to know that organisations like this really do fantastic work to support those in our community who struggle in this way, particularly young children. Just a little help from all of us can make all the difference in significantly impacting in a positive way on the lives of children who are hospitalised with serious illnesses.

Old Parliament House

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (11.44): I would like to utilise this occasion to draw to the attention of the Assembly the fact that Monday will mark the 78th anniversary of old Parliament House. Old Parliament House was described by the former federal minister for communications, Senator Alston, who is now Australia’s High Commissioner in London. He said:

Old Parliament House is to Canberra what the Opera House is to Sydney—a key cultural icon for both Canberra and the nation.

It is worth noting for historical purposes that the old Parliament House opened in 1927 and served as the home of federal parliament until 1988. In Canberra’s earlier years the house was the social, geographic and political heart of the new Australian capital.

As one who had the opportunity to work in that building in my younger years, it was an atmosphere that has never, I do not think, been successfully replicated in the new federal parliament, despite the rather grander and more resourced facilities available to government and opposition members.

The 60 years during which old Parliament House served as a working parliament was a time of enormous change for Australia. The country grew from an imperial dominion to a nation in its own right. Over that time, old Parliament House was the theatre in which the politics of the day were played out and momentous decisions made.

With federation in 1901 came the decision to establish a new seat of government for the commonwealth parliament, when things were moved from Melbourne in due course. After a nine-year battle over suitable sites, the Yass-Canberra region was selected in late 1908. Once the site of the new capital was agreed upon, an international competition for its design was launched in 1911.

As members would all be aware, out of the 197 entries, the design presented by Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, was chosen. His work, of course, is now legendary both here and in Chicago—a city with which we ought to develop stronger links because of the architectural and historical links we have.

Following World War I, the Federal Capital Advisory Committee was established and was able to get the project, which had been stalled, back on track. Because of the tight timeframe and budget, the committee decided it would be best to erect a provisional building to be situated immediately below Griffin’s proposed site for the house.


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