24 March 2021

Rob Harris: “[T]here are now more statues of kelpies than Indigenous Australians or Australian women in the green spaces surrounding the nation’s seat of power. … Within Canberra’s parliamentary triangle you can spot Sir Robert Menzies strolling along the north side of Lake Burley Griffin and former Labor prime ministers, John Curtin and Ben Chifley, in conversation as they walk from the Hotel Kurrajong towards Old Parliament House. … [Liberal Senator Nola] Marino thinks Dorothy Tangney and Enid Lyons — as the first two women elected to federal parliament — are befitting of the same recognition. … Why there is no statue recreating the iconic picture of Lyons and Tangney walking through the doors of Parliament in 1943 is a stunning oversight. This August marks 50 years since Neville Bonner became the first Indigenous Australian to take his place in Parliament. If recognition is not to be continually kicked down the road a statue of Bonner outside Old Parliament House would be a good start. Then when that’s done they can set their sights on Eddie Mabo, and maybe even his wife Bonita, a short walk away at the High Court. Perhaps near the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet there’s also room for Charles Perkins, the civil rights activist who became the first Aboriginal Australian to become a permanent head of a federal government department.”