Flat White

The sophisticated security of Parliament House

24 February 2021

4:38 PM

24 February 2021

4:38 PM

It’s constantly forgotten, but in Walter Burley Griffin’s plans for Canberra Capital Hill was supposed to be crowned with a Capitol building, a People’s Palace. The parliament was supposed to be further down the hill, closer to the lake — like Old Parliament House — to show that it is subject to the will of the people.

Instead, the politicians hijacked the prime position and, over the past 20 years or so have turned it into a fortress designed to keep the people out, all in the name of security.

But just how efficient is that security? Some of the procedures are paranoid. Others… Well, others appear unchanged since the days of the old house. From a SMAge report on Brittany Higgins’ alleged assailant:

Senate President Scott Ryan has advised records indicated the accused man had not held a lobbyist pass to access Parliament House after he was sacked.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, passing on the advice, said he could not categorically say the man had never re-entered the building because records of access by non-pass holders were kept in handwritten logs.

Kept in handwritten logs? It’s good to see that there’s still a place for typical public sector innovation and efficiency even in this ultra security-conscious world.

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