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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2438 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes; obviously, I am a recalcitrant. The fact of the matter is that the former Government had no program at all for public art. It was an ad hoc arrangement. Let me talk about another case, the Magistrates Court building. Not one cent had been set aside in that building project for public art.

Ms McRae: What about the hospital?

MR HUMPHRIES: I have already referred to the hospital. You were not paying attention.

Ms McRae: Say it again so I can hear you. Go on; I am paying attention now.

MR HUMPHRIES: Can I have a little bit of quiet, Mr Speaker, from Madam Foghorn over there? Not one cent was set aside for public art in the Magistrates Court building. It is very easy to say that we should have offset it against amounts spent in the past, but how can we compare a recurrent program for funding of public art against ad hoc amounts spent by the previous Government? It is very difficult, if not impossible, to do. I remain very proud of our commitment to public art because it is the first major ongoing commitment to visual artists in this Territory to see their work as part of the fabric of public buildings in this Territory. It is not about slapping up a picture or a tapestry or hanging a few bits of tinsel from the ceiling after the building is finished. It is about making public art a part of the fabric of these buildings, and that is something I would have thought the Assembly should be commending the Government for, not attacking it.

MS McRAE (9.13): I have to make up for making all that noise. My apologies, Mr Humphries, but I was getting a little excited because you are wrong. We did within the Assembly project have money set aside from the very beginning for a public art program, and the architect from the very beginning was saving that major wall, which is why Mr Westende's statue could not go in front of it. Hal Guida was telling me just last week, when we were receiving the BOMA award, that that artwork, which was commissioned as long as two years ago from Klaus Moje, a very well known glass worker, is very much a part of the fabric of the building, integrating the colours and the style of the building, and was from the beginning of the project very much a part of the project.

I am sorry if you have not caught up with that information, Mr Humphries, but it was very definitely there, and the money has been there and has been waiting. Mr Speaker, I believe, is going to look at a model of it or some sort of preparatory piece before he gives it a sign of approval. However, I put on the record that that has been very much a part of this project, and it was a quite reasonable sum of money, which I believe most public projects at that time were spending, such as the hospital. I do not understand what happened with the Magistrates Court building; I will take your word for that. It obviously does not have artwork within it.

Yes, there are bits and pieces now stuck on walls, and Mr Speaker has improved the building greatly of his own initiative by buying a couple of paintings. The tapestries and the bits and pieces that we had were things that were part of the history and the heritage of this parliament and were added because we owned them. So sure, we have stuck bits and pieces all over the place, but always as part of the Assembly project was an allocation

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