Launch of Brick by Brick Exhibition

Speech

JBS001/2014

16 January 2014

State Library of South Australia
Adelaide

It is a great privilege this morning to open this travelling exhibition for the National Capital Authority. Can I firstly acknowledge Malcolm Snow and congratulate him on his recent appointment to the National Capital Authority, which I had the pleasure of signing-off on in December. I am sure he will do a terrific job in that position. It is an important position.

It is great to be here on this very hot Adelaide day. Alan, thank you for having us here this morning in the State Library. It is somewhat cooler here in the Mortlock Library than what it is outside, which is one of the joys of living in such a beautiful state!

I think this is a terrific idea, a terrific initiative from the National Capital Authority. Too often, and it is in a sense a great indication of such a successful country we have, but too often we downplay the role and the significance of the national capital. Canberra is an important and significant part of our country. We have a successful, thriving democracy, so much so that most people don't really worry too much about it, and that is a great indication about how successful we are. We don't fight our battles on our streets with guns and with violence. We fight our battles in the Parliament across the Dispatch Box, a battle of ideas to make Australia a better place. Canberra was founded with that in mind, as a centre point of Australia where our national icons should live, where our national buildings of significance, our national institutions should be based. And they are indeed.

One of the great privileges of being a Federal Member of Parliament is that you often get to take the school children around Parliament House when many schools do their annual pilgrimage to Canberra and see Parliament House, see the old Parliament House and the War Memorial, see many of the cultural institutions of the national library and gallery and so forth. Many enjoy Questacon far more than they enjoy any of that! But what you do get to do when you take children around is show them how important and how significant the place is.

For those who can't get to Canberra or those who don't often get to Canberra, this traveling exhibition is a great way to engage the children, to tell them, to remind them, and to teach them that it is important to respect our democracy and to take an active part in our democracy because our country is only as strong as its people. We are a strong nation. We will forever be a strong nation as long as people continue to care about our democracy and fellow Australians.

So without any further ado, I will not hold the kids up any longer from getting in there and building their Lego buildings. They may come up with some terrific ideas, which we will have to build if they do. Thank you for having me as part of this. Thank you Alan for putting this on and congratulations to the National Capital Authority for the initiative to do so and I declare the first travelling exhibition officially open.