Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Parliament House (3)

Well - this wasn't the post I had originally planned for today, but over the weekend we saw a significant shift in Queensland politics. The Australian Labor Party, which has been in power here for the best part of two decades, was unceremoniously dumped by the electorate on Saturday. In fact it looks as though they may struggle to achieve the ten seats they need to be officially recognised as a party.

Now I do not have the intention, let alone the expertise, to diagnose the reasons for this seismic shift in Queensland's political landscape. But at least we live in a democracy where the people can have their say via the ballot box without fear, whereas in many parts of the world countries are ruled by despots with the military and financial resources to override the constituency. We should be thankful that a transformation of this magnitude can be achieved without bloodshed or ballot box fixing, and that a new government will take over Parliament House this week without any major disruptions to people's jobs or lives.

It will also mean a significant change here. This is the Members' Dining Room of Queensland's Parliament House as photographed in 1906.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #41108)

The room is now called Strangers' Dining Room -  a stranger being someone who is not a member of parliament. So, as all of those new LNP MPs settle into life as a parliamentarian, this is where they will bring their guests for a meal.

The Parliament House web site tells us: 
"This room is furnished with early Australian cedar yoke back chairs which were probably used in the early refreshment room. It is possible that some of these chairs were used in the original legislative building in the old convict barracks in Queen Street."
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

My current photograph of Strangers' Dining Room is shown above. It is situated on the first floor at the river end of the Alice St wing of Parliament House, and during the daytime has lovely natural light from the large windows. It would be an excellent place to have a meal with your local member.

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. I understand democracy - even for a Labour person such as myself, it seems inappropriate to have one political party in power for almost 22 years.

    But the greatest loss over the last year has been the loss of good women. It took so long to finally get women into top political positions in the federal and state governments.. and yet they were thrown out of power much faster than male leaders are typically thrown out of power.

    By the way, I like the idea that some of the original chairs may have come from the original legislative building in the old convict barracks in Queen Street. This links politicians' bums back to important legislative history and to our convict history.

  2. Although there were a lot of mistakes, Bligh did many good things too. She was truly inspirational during the devastating floods of 2011. And, with only a handful of talent behind her, she managed to win the last election when many commentators thought she could not.

    The incoming LNP government has some interesting female members and I hope some of them go on to make an impact.


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