Discussion and committee view
The proposed security upgrade works
On 26 March 2015, the House of Representatives and the Senate approved
the proposal for perimeter security enhancements as part of the Parliament
House security upgrade works.
A copy of the proposal agreed to by both Houses of Parliament is at Appendix 3.
To summarise, the proposed perimeter security enhancements include:
A steel security perimeter fence at the southern façade of the
Ministerial wing. The fence will be approximately 2.6 meters high and have
retractable gates and will be positioned in the location originally proposed in
the early designs for Parliament House. Three existing closed circuit
television (CCTV) cameras on the outside of the Ministerial wing will be relocated
and further supported with an additional seven external cameras.
A gatehouse outside the entrance to the Ministerial wing. The
proposed gatehouse will provide an external point of egress to the Ministerial wing
courtyard and have the advanced security-screening and lock-down capabilities
and traffic flow management prior to entering Parliament House. The gatehouse
will be made from pre-cast concrete with stainless steel and aluminium window
Eight vehicle bollards at the base of the Ministerial entrance
The replacement of existing glazing at the Ministerial ground
floor entrance with ballistic proof material.
In its submission, the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) states
that the perimeter security enhancements form part of an initial package of
work, known as 'Group One', which includes the 'secure hardening of several
entry points and identified areas of potential vulnerability'.
The estimated total value of all Group One activities is $19.5 million
(including GST) which includes all materials and goods required to deliver the
enhanced security services.
In addition to the Group One works there are two further groups of work
Group Two – Major enhancements to security infrastructure,
including the access control and CCTV systems, and external glass facade.
Group Three – Further building infrastructure upgrades –
subject to additional funding approvals.
Background to the security upgrade works
In September 2014, in response to the heightened security threat environment
in Australia, the Presiding Officers agreed that a review of the security
arrangements at Parliament House would be undertaken.
A multi-agency taskforce, the Parliament House Security Taskforce
(Taskforce), was established to undertake the security review. The Taskforce is
chaired by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The other members of
the Taskforce are the President of the Senate and representatives from:
Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C);
Attorney-General's Department (AGD);
Department of Finance (Finance);
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO);
Australian Federal Police (AFP); and
AGD and AFP, assisted by DPS security, carried out an 'Interim Review of
Security at Australian Parliament House' (Interim Review) on 9 September 2014.
The Interim Review made numerous recommendations, including that a 'Targeted
Security Review' should be carried out. AGD commissioned Aecom to undertake the
Targeted Security Review in mid-September 2014. At the same time an external
security agency undertook penetration testing of the security measures in place
at Parliament House.
In its submission DPS divided the recommendations from these reviews
into four categories:
process and efficiency reviews;
training and recruitment;
minor capital works; and
major capital works.
Recommendations from the reviews were endorsed by the Taskforce which
instructed that the recommendations be translated into the Australian
Parliament House Security Upgrade Implementation Plan (APH-SUIP):
The Taskforce developed the [APH-SUIP] which recommended a
series of improvements or enhancements to the security arrangements at [Australian
Parliament House (APH)], and assigned specific tasks to individual agencies to
complete. DPS, of which the Presiding Officers have oversight, has been
assigned primary responsibility for the security hardening of APH, including
entry points, the building fabric and security infrastructure.
The proposed perimeter security enhancements are being undertaken in
conjunction with other security measures. The information tabled in both the
House of Representatives and the Senate, the Parliament House Security Upgrade
Works – Perimeter Security Enhancements Proposal (Perimeter Security
Enhancements Proposal) states:
Part of the early works of the Taskforce was to recommend
immediate security enhancement measures at APH which included an increased AFP
presence, both internally and externally around the building, increased static
guarding and patrols in the private areas and tighter access pass requirements
for visitor and guests. These recommendations have been implemented
progressively since November 2014.
The DPS submission also refers to a component of the planned permanent
improvements to security arrangements being the capital works across building
These works will provide more segregation of visitors,
reduced crowding and minimise the risk of entry without full screening. These
works are planned to include additional new private screening rooms and
improved layouts and controls within the screening areas. They will provide
defence in depth through the provision of additional layers of security
DPS' submission also refers to 'technical security capability
The electronic access control system is to be upgraded or
replaced, perimeter detection capabilities are to be enhanced and analogue CCTV
cameras are to be replaced with digital high definition cameras with thermal
and supporting analytical capability. Such capability allows for automatic
notification to the security personnel of unattended bags or items in the
public areas and the intelligent monitoring of virtual perimeters with
automatic alarms to alert security of access to external or private areas.
Implementation of the security upgrade works
At the public hearing Mr Neil Skill, First Assistant Secretary, Building
and Asset Management Division, DPS, noted:
It is widely acknowledged that a multifaceted project of this
size and scale has not been undertaken at Parliament House since the building
was originally constructed in the 1980s. DPS also acknowledges that concerns
have been raised, predominantly through this committee, that DPS is perceived
to have a poor record in delivering building construction and security
projects, and although significant steps have been taken to improve this
capability the change process is still ongoing.
DPS provided a detailed submission outlining the processes in place to
carry out the security upgrade works.
In terms of DPS' capacity to undertake the security upgrade works, the
DPS recognised that the extent of the works required under
the program was not able to be met using the existing DPS Project team staffing
levels. To address the urgent nature of the work required and the sensitivities
associated with the physical security fabric of the building, a separate branch
and Assistant Secretary was established as a non-ongoing reportable entity
within the DPS Executive structure. This branch has been resourced with skills
and experience commensurate with the program of works including external
consultants and seconded [Department of Finance] officers.
The DPS submission discussed the risk management of the proposed works:
An initial risk assessment against the proposed program was
included in the [APH-SUIP]. As part of this assessment it was agreed by the
Presiding Officers that program residual risks would be mitigated from high to
at least medium rating. This is an important distinction when considering the
schedule, scope and cost of the works proposed.
A Program Management Plan (PMP) highlights the risk and
constraints that are continually managed and identified in relation to the
An independent assurer has reviewed the PMP and associated documents:
The DPS Internal Audit Committee has also approved a review
using KPMG to provide assurance over the DPS program. Detailed risk management
plans are developed for all planned or implemented works with ongoing
independent assurance to the DPS Audit and Risk Committees.
DPS' submission also refers to the engagement of Manteena Security
Australia (Manteena) to provide pre-construction and construction management
services across the Group One activities:
The evaluation undertaken prior to engaging Manteena
considered their understanding of the requirements, scope and capability to
deliver the work in the required timeframes as part of the value for money
justification. Additionally, Manteena had previously delivered high quality
construction management services to Parliament House and was also recommended
by the [architects].
The estimated cost for the provision of the construction management
services by Manteena is $1.374 million (inc GST).
Reporting and oversight
DPS' submission outlines the reporting framework which is in place for
the security upgrade works:
AGD coordinates reporting for the Taskforce of all actions
out of the [APH-SUIP]. DPS was assigned primary responsibility by the Presiding
Officers for undertaking all technical, capital and associated Parliamentary
Security Service personnel changes stemming from the recommendations.
DPS is reporting on progress to the [Taskforce]. The
Taskforce meets regularly during sitting periods to consider matters, monitor
progress and to resolve any outstanding issues stemming from assigned
At the public hearing, Mr Skill provided some more information about the
To support DPS, robust governance, reporting and
accountability frameworks were established, including the [Taskforce]; a
cross-agency security working group that provides strategic direction as it
relates to the Security Upgrade Implementation Plan, endorses recommendations
and undertakes security risk analysis and assessments; and a senior officials
forum, which includes Senior Executive Service officers from several agencies
who provide advice on security matters related to Parliament House more broadly...
The [Taskforce] is chaired by the Speaker of the House. Mr
President is a member of the task force along with the other bodies...The task
force is an advisory body through which any design changes or proposed
amendments or updates to the implementation plan are endorsed, prior to being
agreed by the Presiding Officers. The senior officials meeting is a subset of
the task force. It is basically everybody apart from the Presiding Officers...
[The senior officials meeting is] where matters of difference
can be aired so that we can come to a consensus view. Supporting the senior
officials and the task force is a security working group, which is where you
have various security practitioners talking about the rating of the glass and
the engineering solutions and various options for treating the vulnerabilities
that were identified by the review. Below that, you have a project control
group which is within DPS. That is the internal mechanism where we make sure
that all of the designs that we are thinking about putting in place would
work—for example, the art services people would be able to get their trolleys
through the doors. It is as practical as that. That also talks through the heritage
implications and we work through how we can come to an agreed position with
regard to the balance of security versus heritage.
DPS' submission further explained the Project Control Group (PCG), which
consists of DPS Senior Executive representatives with direct oversight of the
The representation on the PCG includes DPS Heritage, Building
Maintenance, Art Services, Parliamentary Experience, Contracts, Finance, and
ICT. This meeting considers proposed design from all of these perspectives,
provides schematic and design suggestions and monitors the schedule, budget and
progress of the capital works across the multiple streams of activities.
In answer to a question on notice, DPS provided the committee with a diagram
of the Governance Framework for the security upgrade works (see Figure 1).
The DPS submission also referred to the oversight mechanisms in place
for the works:
This procurement is being reviewed by KPMG as part of a DPS
internal audit of the project management and delivery. Project cost estimates
have been reviewed by Quantity Surveyors, and actual costs for construction
activities are benchmarked against market rates for services and materials.
At the public hearing, Mr Skill reiterated the mechanisms for oversight:
Further scrutiny of DPS's ongoing management of this work is
being undertaken by an independent auditor, through project in-flight audit
reviews; a management advisory firm, through review and assurance of compliance
with governance documentation; and of course this committee, through this
inquiry. DPS is confident these measures provide an appropriate level of assurance
to the committee that it has considered your concerns raised previously in
relation to project management and that there are sufficient checks and
balances in place, both within DPS and from external parties, to ensure the
security recommendations are implemented successfully.
Mr Skill noted that the 'in-flight' audits would be 'point in time'
I do not propose to engage somebody to sit there and
oversight everything. Given the level of expertise that we have in place and
the fact that the vast majority of the i's and t's are put in place at the
beginning of the project, I just wanted to get assurance that what we had put
in place was best practice and was appropriate and considered appropriate by an
Role of the Security Management
DPS' submission referred to the role of the Security Management Board
(SMB) in the process:
The [SMB] continues to meet and DPS provides advice on the
progress of these works to the SMB.
At the Budget Estimates hearing, the President of the Senate sought to
explain the reason the Taskforce was established and why the SMB did not have
responsibility for the security upgrade works:
The task force has simply been established—and it will
eventually fold—to examine the hardening of security works—the capital works in
relation to security in the parliamentary precinct. It comprises a number of
agencies who have expertise and an interest in the security space. It is
co-chaired by the Speaker and me, although the Speaker is the chair; I suppose
I would be the deputy chair if that were a necessity. It meets regularly,
simply to discuss the physical aspects of capital works programs, some of which
have become evident as they have been rolled out.
The Security Management Board is an ongoing statutory board that
covers the general security environment, not restricted and not necessarily
pertaining to the capital works, in fact. The Security Management Board could
provide advice to the Presiding Officers saying, 'We believe this is an area
that needs hardening or strengthening,' and that would then be taken on board.
At the public hearing the committee was told that the $19.5 million
allocated for the Group One works is part of a larger envelope of $108.4
million which was allocated in the additional estimates process for the
entirety of the Group One and Two projects.
At the Budget Estimates hearing for DPS, the committee was informed that
the $108.4 million was allocated pursuant to a new policy proposal prepared for
a single year and put forward by the Presiding Officers.
Mr Skill informed the committee that as at 30 April 2015 approximately
$1.7 million had been expended, with an expectation that a further $2 million
would be expended before the end of the financial year.
The project time line has all works in Group One and Two completed by
December 2016. Mr Skill indicated that DPS is in discussions with the
Department of Finance as to how the money which has been allocated for this
financial year, but remains unspent, can be rolled over.
DPS' submission acknowledges '[in] some instances after significant
security events, DPS has been required to initiate increased physical security
measures that have directly impacted on the design and appearance of Parliament
House'. DPS cite as an example the installation of bollards across footpaths
and at the main doors of Parliament House, following a 'vehicle incursion
across the public forecourt in 2002'.
DPS state it has engaged Mr Harold (Hal) Guida of Guida Moseley Brown
(GMB) as a consultant architect to prepare architectural documentation for all
packages of design work associated with the Group One security upgrades:
Mr Guida, was a member of the original design team for
Parliament House and has first-hand knowledge of its design intent,
architectural language and construction.
DPS has consulted with GMB to ensure the scope of all
functional design briefs and architectural plans, services and finishes conform
wherever possible to the design principles for the building and the
Parliamentary precincts, in order to maintain the integrity of the design to
the greatest extent.
DPS notes that, as with all construction projects which affect the
exterior of Parliament House, it has engaged with the National Capital
Authority (NCA) for the necessary works approval (this is discussed further
2.36 GMB has engaged GML Heritage to prepare Heritage Impact Assessments
(HIA) for the Group One activities. However, DPS' submission states:
DPS...retains accountability and obligations for the
conservation, preservation, presentation and interpretation of the heritage
values of Parliament House. DPS has an internal Heritage team with relevant
expertise that assesses proposals and provides advice about changes to the
building, its contents and surrounds. The internal DPS heritage team also
consults with the NCA, and the moral rights holder about proposed changes
within the Parliamentary Precincts.
DPS refers to the fact that there are currently no statutory
requirements or guidelines for the assessment of heritage impacts on Parliament
DPS and GML draw on heritage best practice contained in The
Burra Charter: The Australian ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural
Significance, 2013 as the accepted approach to the conservation and
management of heritage values.
DPS notes that it is currently in the process of developing a
Conservation Management Plan and in the meantime:
[The] internal DPS heritage team refers to three key sources
of information in the determination of heritage impacts. The Australian
Heritage Database, Parliament House and Surrounds..., National Heritage List
(NHL) assessment by the Australian Heritage Council (2005) that identifies
heritage significance and particular heritage values, along with Pamille Berg –
the Architects Design Intent for Parliament House; Canberra, Central Reference
Document (CRD) August 2004 and the JPW – Parliament House Design Principles,
Second Draft, October 2014.
2.39 In terms of the HIA for the external works, GML have rated these:
the proposal for the Ministerial wing fence – moderate impact;
the proposal for the guardhouses – moderate impact;
proposed bollards at the base of the Ministerial wing stairs
would have minor impact on heritage values.
Moral rights consultation
Under the Copyright Act 1968, DPS has obligations to consult the
moral rights holder, Mr Romaldo Giurgola AO, about the proposed works. DPS
confirmed in its submission that it consulted Mr Giurgola in December 2014:
A response was received in January 2015 containing
recommended actions to record design and heritage impacts. These actions have
been and continue to be undertaken in the form of Heritage Impact Assessments.
At the public hearing, Mr Skill indicated that the response received was
from Ms Pamille Berg, who is one of Mr Giurgola's nominees with regards to
DPS provided the committee with a copy of the letter to Mr Giurgola, the
Notice to Author of Artistic Work and Ms Berg's response.
Ms Berg's response notes that the 'unspecified nature of changes to the
building' may have significant implications for the building's design integrity
'depending on how they are addressed'.
Ms Berg emphasised the need for a monitoring and assessment process with
respect to the works:
It is important for DPS to have a clear, documented framework
of reference with respect to this project's maintenance of the building's
design integrity, so that the design solutions proposed and subsequently
detailed for the requested changes can be assessed and monitored against that
framework. We would no doubt all agree that this monitoring and assessment
process cannot be suspended or omitted simply because of the understandable
urgency of the project's implementation.
Ms Berg suggested that DPS should source the design intent framework by
requesting Mr Guida and GMB Architects to prepare two written 'Maintenance of
Design Intent Reports' as an essential part of each package of their
commissioned scope of work:
The focus of each Report would be the setting out by GMB of
the essential design principles for the building which may be impacted or must
be considered in each of the areas where change is required by security
concerns, followed by demonstrating or assessing the ways in which the design
solutions or options proposed are consistent with those design principles...
These Reports would then allow a clearer process of
assessment and approvals of GMB's proposals by DPS, and would also provide an
important written basis for the periodic briefings to the Presiding Officers
and other key Client stakeholders about the implications of the changes which
are being requested and required.
The Reports would also provide permanent documentation for
DPS's files of the degree of rigor with which this matter will have been
approached in all stages of the project.
Mr Skill outlined DPS' actions in responding to Ms Berg's comments:
[DPS] did get a response from Ms Berg on 12 January  acknowledging
the advice and recommending that we undertake some impact assessments,
maintenance of design integrity reports, for each of the proposed components so
that we can be sure what we had before and where we go to, and so that they
have a full record of the changes that have been made and we have fully tracked
what has been done.
DPS' submission stated that it 'has also commissioned comprehensive
archive quality photography of all areas being worked upon'.
Mr Skill informed the committee that although the required moral rights
notification had been undertaken, DPS had not engaged in subsequent 'nice to
have' consultations with Ms Berg in relation to the Group One works because of
the timeframe for the works.
Mr Skill explained what he meant by 'nice to have' consultations:
Those are part of the ongoing discussions that I have been
endeavouring to have, as have my branch that works in my division that has
carriage of the heritage matters. It is useful and sensible to have an ongoing
conversation with all of the stakeholders that have a passionate view about how
Parliament House should evolve over the next 200 years. Again, unfortunately,
we have not had an opportunity in the past few months to sit down and have
further consultations with Ms Berg directly.
Mr Skill noted that nothing had been received from Ms Berg since March 2015
when she was provided with the full package that was approved by the
DPS' submission also noted:
The involvement of Mr Guida in the design of the proposed
works provides a sensible conduit to ensure any designs already consider the
requirements of the moral rights nominees.
The committee sought clarification on Mr Guida's role in terms of
whether he was acting as Mr Guirgola's nominee as a moral rights holder, as
well as a being contracted to perform the design work by DPS. Mr Skill stated:
I think it has been clarified by the fact that Ms Berg is the
primary contact [in relation to the moral rights consultation]. Mr Guida's
firm, GMB, was engaged prior to [DPS] sending the notification to Mr Giurgola
and receiving advice that at that time Mr Guida and Ms Berg were going to share
[the moral rights nomination] jointly...
[That position in relation to moral rights] has been
evolving. I have been heartened by the fact that the legalities around it have
come to the point where it appears Ms Berg is the authorised representative.
Notwithstanding that, Mr Guida and his firm are clear in that they are to have
appropriate controls within their firm—they have to manage the conflict of
interest internally, if indeed there is one. The reason we engaged GMB
initially was because of Mr Guida's understanding of the building and his
relationship and understanding of Mr Giurgola's intent when the building was
Mr Skill went on to state that Mr Guida's understanding of the building
and his relationship and understanding of Mr Giurgola's intent at the time of
construction make him the right person to have designing the security works:
[B]ecause [Mr Guida] is able to bring forth solutions to the
security recommendations that, in their first iteration, are close to the
design principles that were originally articulated. Had we gone to an
architecture firm that had no understanding or background or experience in the
Parliament House environment, whilst they would have come up with eminently suitable
and highly secure options for treating the risks that were identified, it would
have taken potentially months to work through with the design principles and
the intent of the precinct. We have short-circuited that to a degree by
engaging GMB in the first instance for the point 1 works because of their
urgency and because we needed to get things done very, very quickly.
DPS has also written to Mr Peter Rolland, the landscape moral rights
holder regarding the external works being undertaken near the Ministerial wing.
At the public hearing, Mr Skill provided the committee with the
following feedback which had been received from Mr Rolland:
...I am too aware of the security required around the world to
all of our citizens, service personnel and public servants. The design which
GMB has proposed is as sensitive and in keeping with the feeling of openness
and visual accessibility as one can hope for in this day and age.
Your care for the Parliament House has been exceptional, the
building and landscape were intended to be one, thus the landscape will
hopefully provide a barrier against terrorism.
Impact on building occupants and
DPS highlighted how it is minimising the impact on building occupants
As a component of the design approach, spatial analysis has
been conducted to highlight foot traffic paths throughout the public/private
interfaces of the building in the context of providing the enhanced security
and maximising efficient access, whilst minimising entry delays and impact on
visitor and occupant movement.
As the various construction activities progress, DPS is
actively limiting the impact on Senators, Members and occupants by scheduling
works around non-sitting periods where availability of contractors and
materials permits. DPS is ensuring that activities do no impact Senators and
Members access to conduct business within Parliament House.
DPS also indicated that it has communications planning in place to
'release as much information as quickly as possible about changes occurring
within the building'. A range of communications channels will be used including
information circulars, letters, parliamentary intranets, DPS spokespersons and
Works approval by the National Capital Authority
The proposal for the upgrade of security works which was approved by
both Houses notes that Works Approval was required, and granted, by the NCA. In
its submission, the NCA explained its role:
The character of nationally significant areas within the National
Capital is the responsibility of the NCA and it is required to consider
applications for Works Approval in Designated Areas (as specified in the
National Capital Plan) and in accordance with the Australian Capital
Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988. Designated Areas are
those areas of land that have the special characteristics of the National
Capital. Parliament House is within the Designated Area of Canberra.
In assessing a Works Approval application, the NCA notes that it
provisions of the National Capital Plan
design quality of the proposal
heritage and visual impact of the proposal (where applicable).
The NCA stated it was 'satisfied that the works are of a design and
material quality that is applicable to the nation's parliament.
In coming to this conclusion the NCA noted a number of factors:
The proposed works will not alter the land use policy, namely
'Parliamentary Use and Road' for the site in the National Capital Plan.
The design and selection of materials for the works have been
based on the design principles for Parliament House and the proposed
guardhouses use the existing materials palette.
The proposed works were designed by the original architects and
will be sensitively incorporated into the existing building and its landscape
In terms of the Heritage Impact, the NCA stated:
The NCA is satisfied that the proposed works have been
designed in such a way as to reduce the impacts on the heritage values of
Parliament House. Whilst the new structures will be visible, the Heritage
Impact Assessment notes that the potential for visual impacts has been reduced
to a reasonable level by the modest scale of the guardhouses. The siting of the
fence is in keeping with the landscaping contours originally designed to
accommodate a fence.
The NCA also commented on the Moral Rights consultation which had taken
place with respect to the proposed works:
Consistent with its [moral rights obligations] DPS, has
engaged with the Australian Parliament House moral rights holder, Mr Romaldo
Giurgola AO throughout this body of work, including formal notification of the
proposed works provided in December 2014.
In further consideration of Mr Giurgola's [moral rights], DPS
have consulted with, and engaged as [principal] architect, Mr Harold [Hal]
Guida (Guida Moseley Brown Architects) for all the packages of design work
related to the security upgrades.
DPS have been advised that Mr Guida and Ms Pamille Berg will
represent Mr Giurgola's interests as they relate to his moral rights at
The NCA indicated that it was aware that Mr Guida and Ms Berg were
'integral to the design development of Parliament House and have a solid
understanding of the design integrity principles of the building'.
Ms Berg, provided a response to the proposed works in January
2015. The NCA understands that DPS subsequently met with Ms Berg and Mr Guida
to resolve the matters raised and agreed a solution for addressing moral rights
At the public hearing Mr Skill stated that written works approval had
not been received from the NCA, but that it was due at the end of that week,
that is 15 May 2015.
Opposition to the works
The committee received two submissions opposing the proposed upgrade to
security works. Opposition in those submissions was primarily directed at the construction
of the security fence at the southern end of the Ministerial wing.
Mr Rodney Moss, a Fellow of Cox Architecture and Adjunct Professor of
Architecture at the University of Canberra, argued:
The proposal diminishes and compromises the Parliament House
as a symbol of Australian democracy...
[Of] course, the security of buildings of national
significance is critical. Generally they are protected by a secure perimeter
and not by an intervention which compromises the character function or
aesthetic of the building...
The current proposal to fence the entrance to the prime
minsters wing of the parliament not only diminishes the Parliament House as a
symbol of Australian democracy but clearly signals we are compromising our
daily life due to the threat of terrorism.
Mr Moss suggested there should be consultation with Mr Romaldo Giurgola,
the original architect of Parliament House, and Mr Hal Guida, who was also part
of the original design team:
In the future, an independent position of Architect to the Parliament
would provide a means to discuss this and other matters in the context of an
appreciation for the philosophy that informed the building design. The
architect should be a person of very high professional standing and be selected
by the Parliament together with Hal Guida and [member of the original design
team] Pamille Berg and in consultation with the Australian Institute of
Mr Patrick Stein, a graduate architect in Canberra, also expressed
opposition to the proposed security fence:
The proposed perimeter fence to the Ministerial wing will
symbolically disconnect the Parliament from the city. Surely a visually
prominent fence – [intended] to act as a deterrent – is a negative image for
the Parliament? What [type of] society do we aspire to? A fence divides, it
says to be fearful. If we are fearful, that has a material impact on the fabric
of our society. Instead the Parliament should say we are resolute in our values
– and we are inclusive.
At the public hearing, Mr Skill confirmed that the original plans for
Parliament House included a fence at the ministerial wing:
There was a fence proposed that was on the original—I am not
sure of the year, but it was the early 1980s—design for the building. We were
not able to track down why that fence did not proceed, but it absolutely was on
early iterations and plans of the precinct. That was something that our
architects, GMB, took on board as part of putting their options together. 
Submissions from the Clerks
The committee also received a submission from the Clerk of the House,
Mr David Elder and the Acting Clerk of the Senate, Mr Richard Pye.
The Clerk of the House indicated the purpose of his submission was to provide
context, rather than to comment on the detail of the proposed works. The Clerk
of the House noted:
Implementing new security measures at Parliament House has
its challenges. Such measures, quite rightly, attract considerable scrutiny
from members of Parliament, the media and the general community. In a robust
democracy such as we have in Australia, there is a need to balance security
requirements with the openness and accessibility expected of the parliamentary
institutions, and so, inevitably, judgements will be made about whether
security measures have achieved the appropriate balance.
The Clerk of the House indicated that new security measures need to be
assessed against a number of factors, including such factors as would be
considered in assessing security measures for any building:
are they effective in mitigating the risks that have been identified;
are they cost effective; and
are they proportionate to the nature of the security risks identified.
Further, in this case, particular factors must be considered due to the
iconic nature of Parliament House and the particular functions that the
Parliament has to perform. The factors to be considered in this regard include:
do the measures interfere with the rights and privileges of the Houses
and their members;
what is the impact of any measures on the perception of Parliament House
as an iconic symbol of our democratic system;
what is the impact of any measure on the ability of building occupants
and visitors to freely access the building and any proceedings of the Houses or
their committees; and
are the measures in accordance with the design values and heritage
quality of Parliament House.
In concluding, the Clerk of the House referred to the report by the
Speaker, as chair of the House Standing Committee on Appropriations and
Administration, on consideration of the perimeter security measures:
[The] Speaker referred to the importance the Appropriations
and Administration Committee placed on balancing security with access to
Parliament House (rightly known as the people's house). The Appropriations and
Administration Committee also observed the importance of preserving the
valuable and unique heritage of Parliament House and noted, in this regard,
that the Presiding Officers had instructed DPS to ensure the final design
solution for the works supports the key reference documents for the design and
heritage of the building.
The House Standing Committee on Appropriations and Administration
'recognised the importance of these works and therefore resolved to recommend
to the House that it support [the] motion to agree to the works'.
The Acting Clerk of the Senate made a submission stating:
The Senate department had no particular comment about the
proposed security enhancements, other than to say it would expect to be
consulted on aspects that would affect its staff and operations, and the
operations of the Senate and its committees more broadly.
At the outset, the committee would like to clarify that it does not see
its role as supporting or opposing the proposed security upgrade works. In
particular, the parliament has approved the perimeter security enhancements and
it is not for this committee to question that approval. However, the committee
does have a role in ensuring that proper processes are undertaken in
implementing the security upgrade works. In this regard, the committee does
have some comments.
Firstly, the committee recognises that in relation to the proposed Parliament
House security upgrade works DPS has taken on board some of the concerns from
both this committee and the Australian National Audit Office and tried to
address some of the shortcomings which have previously been evident in DPS'
project and contract management. The committee finds the governance structure for
the works somewhat convoluted, but understands that, ultimately, responsibility
lies with the Presiding Officers. The committee appreciates the distinction
between the role of the Taskforce and the Security Management Board. The
committee intends to monitor the work of the Taskforce, through its current
inquiry into DPS and through the estimates process, to ensure that it does not
usurp the statutory role of the Security Management Board.
Secondly, the committee is concerned that the Group One and Two elements
of the security upgrade works are to be funded from a budget of $108.4 million
which was allocated for a single financial year for projects which have a
timeline for completion in December 2016. The committee accepts that this
phasing was agreed by the Presiding Officers on advice and understands that the
intention is for DPS to work with the Department of Finance to roll over the
unspent funds and that the money will remain available for the completion of
Thirdly, the committee is disappointed that the urgency of the timeframe
for the Group One works has prevented the 'nice to have' consultations with Ms
Berg on behalf of Mr Giurgola. The committee acknowledges that DPS has
undertaken the required moral rights consultation and that DPS has acted on Ms
Berg's suggestions in relation to impact assessments. However, given that the
external works are not due to start until 9 July 2015, the committee believes
that DPS could have involved Ms Berg more in relation to the Group One works.
In conclusion, the committee notes that DPS has stated that it will
provide updates to the committee in relation to the proposed security upgrade
works and the committee intends to keep a watching brief on the works as part of
its ongoing inquiry into DPS.
Senator Cory Bernardi
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