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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

3 February 2004

Labor's Embarrassing back down on Kirribilli

Mark Latham is well known for shooting from the hip.

On Saturday he was once again grandstanding, announcing that he would consider selling Kirribilli House on Sydney Harbour.

Today, he ruled it out.

Each time Mr Latham floats a populist idea dressed up as a policy and then has to back away, he highlights his inexperience.

Clearly, he overlooked the fact that Kirribilli House is an important part of Australia's national heritage.

Mr Latham and Labor have opposed the Howard Government's Landmark heritage legislation - which among other things establishes a new Commonwealth Heritage List to manage and protect heritage places on Commonwealth lands and waters.

The fact is, Kirribilli House is a highly significant part of the heritage of Sydney Harbour and Australia, and as such is entered on the Register of the National Estate.

Kirribilli House is associated with Australian Prime Ministers since 1957, including Menzies, Holt, Gorton, McMahon, Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating and Howard. The house was one of the earliest substantial homes built on Sydney Harbour.

Mr Latham must not only rule out selling this important heritage property, but reverse Labor's opposition to the new heritage regime and support the new Commonwealth Heritage List to identify and protect our important places.

This incident confirms that Labor as a party and Mark Latham personally have little knowledge of or commitment to our nationally significant heritage.

Commonwealth of Australia