Australia’s combative Parliament: could the building itself be to blame?
On this day 30 years ago New Parliament House in Canberra was first opened, with the Queen officially unveiling the building at its inauguration.
But Troy Bramston from The Australia says the $1.1 billion move to the building was a monumental mistake, with the collateral damage materialising now in the form of hostile parliamentary proceedings.
“Politics has become more nastier, more combative since the move,” Mr Bramston explains.
“There aren’t as many friendships across the political divide. This is because it’s poorly designed internally.”
Troy suggests that the segregating lay-out has created party tribalism and partisanship. The design does not allow for cross-party cooperation or compromise when it comes to devising policy.
“If you get the design right, it can pay a dividend.”
“People are likely to work more effectively if they have interaction. It lends itself to collaboration on cross-party lines. We’ve lost this.”
“The old parliament had a number of features that helped parliament operate better. Things like the Kings Hall where politicians would bump into journalists and bureaucrats and visitors. There’s no such thing now.”
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