Celebrate, Commemorate: Architectural Projections Enlighten 2017
Australia’s democracy is one of our nation’s greatest achievements. In a world where democracy seems increasingly under threat, we need to remind ourselves of what we are capable of and to celebrate some of the great things we have done.
Old Parliament House celebrates its ninetieth birthday in 2017 so join us in celebrating this much-loved building and in commemorating a few of the achievements that occurred during its life at the heart of our democracy.
Celebrate – Old Parliament House
On a crisp May morning in 1927, this Parliament House was opened amid pomp and ceremony. Ninety years later the building is a national icon; a place all Australians – but especially Canberrans – cherish and value. It was at the centre of government through hard times and good; through war and peace. It is where a Queen has been feted; where political destinies have been decided; a place of weddings and school formals. After 90 years Old Parliament house deserves a birthday cake.
Celebrate – Freedom to use your voice
Every year the Museum of Australian Democracy celebrates our freedom to express our political views through Behind The Lines, an exhibition of the year’s best political cartoons. Australia’s political cartoonists are a feisty lot. They skewer politicians and their arguments; they caricature everyone from the prime minister to backbenchers. And they are free to do so – as are all of us. And that is something worth celebrating.
Commemorate – 1967
In 1967 Australians voted in a referendum that allowed the Commonwealth Government to make laws for Indigenous Australians, moving responsibility for Aboriginal people from the state to the federal government. More than 90% of voters supported the change, the result of a campaign that gained momentum over ten long years. Fifty years on we commemorate both the significant changes this brought to many Indigenous Australians and the power that can result when we work together. We also consider how much more needs to be done.
Read more about the 1967 Referendum projection on the AIATSIS website.
Commemorate – Our First Prime Ministers
Together, our first eight prime ministers led us through the creation of the Australian nation and a world war. They took Australia onto the world stage, created a resilient system of government and, of course, a national capital. But, often seen in black and white photographs or formal portraits, they can seem stiff and static. In our new exhibition onetoeight artist Alison Alder reimagines our first prime ministers. Her visually arresting, humorous and thoughtful images bring them just a little bit closer to us.
Celebrate – Feathers and flight
Lighten up. Our politicians do! Running a country can be hard work. Fortunately, Australians have a good sense of humour and sometimes, even in the middle of serious political business, it can take flight. Maybe it's because our coat of arms features an emu, but our parliamentarians seem keen on feathery fun. One even became Chicken Man for a few moments. Sometimes you just have to laugh.