Open House showcases 25 years of parliament on the hill

Visitors to Parliament House in Canberra will have the rare chance to tour the Prime Minister’s office and the offices of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as part of this year’s packed program for Open Day on Saturday, 24 August 2013.

Senate President John Hogg and House of Representatives Speaker Anna Burke have today officially launched the 25th Anniversary Open Day program, which includes tours, displays, entertainment and activities to engage the community with the work of our national parliament.

The theme of this year’s Open Day is ‘Threads of our Nation’, with the program focusing on how architecture, art, culture, history and, of course, politics come together to create the building’s unique identity.

Senate President John Hogg said the Open Day will be a fantastic opportunity for Australians to see how the parliament operates and what makes the building tick.

“In particular we would like to extend a special invitation for people who contributed to the construction and work of this building over the past 25 years to come back with their families and join in the celebration of our democracy, symbolised here at Parliament House,” he said.

House of Representatives Speaker Anna Burke announced that visitors to the building on 24 August would be given the rare opportunity to see up close the historic House of Representatives Mace – the first time it has been made available for public viewing outside of the parliamentary chamber.

“The building was conceived as a contemporary home for our national parliament but also links to the history of our democracy,” Ms Burke said. “Our Open Day will be a showcase of how our past has helped to shape our future.”

A range of artists will be talking about the contributions they have made to the building through their artworks. Visitors will also be able to walk on the floor of the House of Representatives and Senate chambers and see the various unique areas of the building. 

The winners of a national ‘My First Speech’ competition for Year 10 to 12 students will present their speeches and there will also be the inaugural Speaker’s University Challenge that will see two university teams debate whether the House is representative.

Entertainment throughout the day will draw on the themes of the building and will include performances from acclaimed Indigenous singer Dewayne Everettsmith, as well as Franklyn B Paverty (who performed at the original opening of Parliament House in 1988) and other local artists.

Visitors can experience what it is like to be an MP or Senator through Parliamentary Education Office activities on the day. There will also be a spectacular 25-year timeline of events which have shaped parliament on the hill.

The program is available at the 25th anniversary website at

When:  Saturday, 24 August 2013 from 9am-5pm, Admission: Free!

Where: Parliament House, Canberra