Tom Hunt at Dom Post reports:
Press gallery life member Richard Griffin remembers the early days of derision, including walking through the atrium with Mr Muldoon at the opening.
The prime minister looked at a piece of carpet covering the central pillar of the main atrium, designed by leading artist Guy Ngan with large holes exposing the marble beneath.
“He looked at it and said, ‘Heh, it looks as if the moths have been at the carpet already’,” Griffin remembers.
While the building – at least in some people’s minds – was attractive from the outside, inside was a “disaster”.
For one, MPs were distanced from each other by a building not designed for casual encounters.
This is actually a big thing. Parliament House is the best of the three major parliamentary buildings. The long corridors means you are often seeing colleagues, and you’d be amazed at how many major decisions get made in corridors!
Bowen House is next best. You get a bit of interaction on your floor. Last is the Beehive where you basically never casually bump into people except in the lifts.
Some say the tensions in the 4th Labour Government would not have got so bad, if it were not for the Beehive design, as you got the 7th floor at war with the 9th floor.
In early September 1979, journalist Richard Long managed to get the press gallery banned from the top three floors.
While the Cabinet – including a security- mad Mr Muldoon – were out for lunch, Long caught a lift to the Cabinet room and walked in.
He did not touch the confidential documents on the table but left his business card, illustrating the security lapse of unlocked lifts opening directly into a Cabinet room strewn with secret documents. It made the lead story in the following day’s paper.
Heh, that is very Richard Long.Tags: Beehive