Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 376 ..
MR WOOD (11.36): Mr Speaker, I would ask Mr Humphries now to turn his attention to an amendment that I circulated while he was on his feet. He may not have seen it. We have an amendment before us at the moment; so, I will at this stage foreshadow that I will move that amendment when we have dealt, in one way or the other, with Mr Humphries's amendment. Mr Humphries, I think, would be inclined to support my amendment because in his speech he gave some indications that he had a concern for tradition, for the heritage aspects behind this proposal.
My proposed amendment will move to delete the last part of paragraph (4), which is the replacement of the Commonwealth coat of arms, and have the Government arrange to have this matter examined first by the ACT Heritage Council. It is a matter, I think, of some importance, and we need to get some further opinion on this matter. Mr Humphries mentioned that the building is a significant building, marble clad, rather more solidly constructed and more imposing in its nature than most of the sorts of plastic buildings we erect today. He also indicated that he wanted to keep the Commonwealth coat of arms. So, he has a respect for some of those matters that, I think, would induce him to vote for my foreshadowed amendment. They are important issues.
Mr Speaker, I do not think it is irrelevant to point to a gross act of vandalism across the way from this building. The Commonwealth Bank, over the road, has a bronze sculpture right along the front, right along the street outside. It was bronze; but it has been painted over in a drab brown colour. I do not know why. When I saw it happen, years ago now, I felt like bowling in and bailing up the manager - with words, I might say - and asking, "Why the hell did you do that?", because it has defaced a very significant work of art.
Perhaps that is a bit beside the point in relation to this debate; but we are looking at a building. We are looking at how that building sits in our community. We are looking at the traditions, the history, behind that building. I think, before voting on this issue and before calling on the Government actually to go ahead and, as Mr Humphries said, negotiate with the court officers, we should examine some of these issues in more detail and get a better picture of what is at stake. So, I say again that, when Mr Humphries's amendment has been dealt with, I propose to move the amendment that members have in front of them.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.40): Mr Speaker, I am pleased that Mr Osborne has put this motion before the Assembly today, because, amongst other things, it is about the maturity of our city and it is about the maturity of our Territory. There is no question that we have been in a position where the Commonwealth Government has looked after and done everything for this Territory. It has established Canberra, built Canberra and provided the facilities, including our justice facilities, within this city. Mr Osborne has drawn to our attention one of the great symbols of that time when the Commonwealth was looking after us in a beneficial way. The change since self-government has been significant. The Commonwealth has established this body politic. They have delivered significant cuts to our budget. In the vast majority of cases, they have stepped back from what this Territory does - certainly in the making of our laws and the delivery of those laws.