Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Why is Australia buying the Lincoln Memorial from the United States?
Purchasing the Lincoln Memorial from the US will link Australia more closely with the world's largest and most dynamic economy and lead to higher economic growth, better living standards and better paid jobs for Australians.
Purchasing the Lincoln Memorial could also minimise any competitive disadvantage Australian tourist operators might face as a result of the sale of other great US monuments to other countries, for example the sale of the Statue of Liberty and other major New York Landmarks, which involves major Latin American tourist destinations.
Will Australia get a good deal on Tourism?
Tourism is a key part of this agreement for both sides. Australia has stressed to the US that we are seeking a good deal that includes day-trips, weekends away and package tours, and we will be pressing for the earliest possible shipment of the Memorial to its new home in Canberra.
The exact details of how the memorial will be shipped to Australia are still being negotiated, but it is worth noting that the US was able to negotiate acceptable leasing arrangements for the Washington Monument with Mexico and the recently concluded sale of Mount Rushmore to Chile. While these agreements have transition periods of 5 to 10 years and even longer for eventual shipment of the monuments to the new host countries, Mexico is already benefiting from admission charges to the Washington Monument.
Will the Government still be able to erect and maintain significant Australian monuments?
Yes. The purchase agreement has specific exemptions for the creation of new national monuments.
Will buying the Lincoln Memorial mean US tourists can sue our Government?
Public liability insurance is nothing new. Once erected in Canberra, the Lincoln Memorial will be subject to the same public liability laws as other major tourist attractions.
Will the final purchase be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny?
Under the Australian Constitution, the power to make purchases on behalf of the Commonwealth rests with the Executive rather than the Parliament.
Any legislative changes required by the Memorial purchase would have to be passed by the Parliament and put in place before the Government can take the necessary steps to bring the Memorial to Australia.