Does Parliament House promote good politics?

Parliament House in Canberra.

Parliament House in Canberra.
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Friday, 9 May 2008

On the 20th anniversary of the official opening of the new Parliament House in Canberra, a University of Adelaide politics expert will address the Senate on whether the design of Parliament House is conducive to good political outcomes for the nation.

Dr Clem Macintyre, Reader in Politics at the University of Adelaide, is giving the Senate Occasional Lecture today (12.15pm EST Friday 9 May) in the Main Committee Room of Parliament House, Canberra.

His talk, "Parliamentary Architecture and Political Culture", will explore the relationship between the design of Australia's Parliament House and the way it functions.

"On 9 May 1988, Parliament House in Canberra was officially opened and the first sitting of Parliament there took place on 22 August 1988. Twenty years later it is appropriate to consider how well the new Parliament House has served the nation," Dr Macintyre says.

"As the site for Australia's most important debates and contests, there has been some attention given to the way that the form of this building and the use of space within it helps to determine the character of the activity that takes place in and around it," he says.

"Parliamentary buildings occupy a unique place in that they simultaneously reflect and shape parts of the national culture in which they are found.

"How has the change - from the relatively cramped but intimate confines of the old Parliament House to the new, cavernous structure that our Parliament now occupies - made an impact on political interactions and policy itself? Does size matter, and how does the layout of Parliament House shape the way Parliament works? These and other issues will be addressed."

Dr Macintyre has research interests in contemporary European and Australian politics and in constitutional and parliamentary reform.

Dr Macintyre's address in Parliament House can be viewed here.


Contact Details

Professor Clem Macintyre
Head, School of History & Politics
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5601
Mobile: 0432 977 055

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762