28 September, 2022

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (17:12): I rise today on behalf of the Opposition to speak to the Private Member's Motion moved by the Hon. Frank Pangallo about the Parthenon Sculptures housed at the British Museum in London.

I acknowledge that the Hon. Frank Pangallo is very passionate about this issue and is calling on the Legislative Council to express its support for the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures and demand their return to Greece.

While considering the comprehensive contributions by the Hon. Frank Pangallo and other honourable members, I would like to particularly highlight the South Australian connection to this international issue and acknowledge that the Parthenon in Greece is an iconic monument of significant Greek cultural heritage and of universal value as an outstanding World Heritage site.

In October 2014, the Foundation for Hellenic Studies in South Australia created its first social media campaign to raise awareness about the dispute between Greece and the United Kingdom over the Parthenon Sculptures, or the Parthenon Marbles.

The Foundation for Hellenic Studies advocated for the return of the Parthenon Marbles with the #ReturnTheMarbles campaign, which received an overwhelming response on Facebook and social media.

As part of the campaign, the foundation also backed a very creative billboard advertisement just a few hundred metres from the British Museum in London.

The billboard highlighted the contributions Ancient Greece made to modern democratic life and showed the image of a naked male statue with a strategically placed message saying, 'Please give us back our marbles.'

In October 2015, the foundation successfully worked with the Greek government to secure 14 replica pieces to be displayed for 100 days at the Adelaide Festival Centre during the Festival of Arts 2015.

It is important for us to acknowledge that the dispute regarding the Parthenon sculptures remains an emotive and passionate pursuit for the Australian Greek community.

On behalf of the Liberal Party, I would like to thank the many community leaders and organisations, such as the Foundation for Hellenic Arts, for their advocacy on this important topic.

I thank the Hon. Frank Pangallo for moving this important motion. I wish to indicate that the Opposition will be providing multi-partisan support for this motion.

We call on the Federal Albanese Labor Government to join the growing international movement demanding the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece.