“I actually think you’d have a real fight amongst members about where it should go, I think there would be a lot of enthusiasm.”
Mr Gorman said he wanted Australians who don’t live within easy reach of Parliament House to be able to come and see their politicians at work.
“I think [Australians] would be pleasantly surprised by the quality of speeches, contributions and the purposeful passion in which things are argued out in this place.”
Along with 227 MPs and their staff, parliamentary sittings also require support staff in the chambers, as well as tight security, office space, a car service and accommodation.
Mr Gorman said existing infrastructure should be used, such as state parliaments or regional council buildings. The Labor MP, who was first elected to Parliament in the Perth byelection last year, added that while there would be a cost to the interstate sittings, it would be worth it.
“My take is that democracy is expensive no matter what you do … it is expensive to get everyone here to Canberra,” Mr Gorman said. “Parliament being held in Canberra has economic benefits for the ACT – share some of those economic benefits around.”
The West Australian noted that parliamentary committees often have hearings around the country, and that some state parliaments have conducted regional sittings. He added Australia was more than capable of hosting Parliament out of Canberra and dealing with the related infrastructure and security needs.
“We can do it. We’ve hosted the G20, we’ve hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Australia can host big stuff.”
Asked about support for his idea within government ranks, Mr Gorman said, “the person who could make it happen, I haven’t spoken to about it and that’s the Prime Minister.”
“I’m low down on his diary list.”