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Canberra's Top 4 Political Places

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by Natasha Stewart (subscribe)
Food and words.
Published May 1st 2012
It's hard to forget about the political side of life when you're in Canberra, so why not embrace it instead? These 4 spots are worthy attractions in their own right, but why not throw them all together for a day of political fun.

Parliament House

Parliament House is the first obvious stop, and it's not because of the thrilling tours detailing Australia's political history, Question Time is the only reason you'll need. Sure it's broadcast on television, but there's nothing like watching out polls argue like school children in the flesh.

Parliament House is free to visit, and you can have a wander on your own, but if you want to watch Question Time you'll need to book a ticket. Call the Sarjeant-at-Arm's Office on 6277 4889 before 12:30pm on the day you're visiting. It's still free but it's also popular, hence the need to book.

Open year round (except Christmas Day), 9-5. Open from 9am on Monday and 8:30am Wednesday and Thursday (sitting days).

The Museum of Australian Democracy & The Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Old Parliament House may not hold Question Time anymore, but it is home to two interesting spots. The Museum of Australian Democracy follows Australia's history, and asks what democracy is and what it means in Australia.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy can be found on the lawns, right outside the museum. It's a site that has been surrounded in controversy since it's inception, but one that deals with important issues in Australia's history.

The Museum of Australia Democracy is open year round (except Christmas Day) 9-5, and requires a small donation: $2 adults, $1 children, $5 family.

Embassy Drive, Yarralumla

The most interesting political buildings in Canberra aren't even our own. In the suburb of Yarralumla you'll find the majority of foreign embassies and high commissions in Australia. It's almost like travelling through the World Showcase area of Epcot at Disney World. Sure you can't explore the embassies, and even if you could they probably wouldn't be as interesting inside, but they're designed as traditional national buildings.

Good ones to check out include: The Embassy of the People's Republic of China, The Embassy of the United States of America, and The High Commission of India. Some highlight interesting aspects of a nation's architecture, other's show just how boring government buildings can be.

Don't plan to stop for long at each Embassy, you can generally see everything with a quick drive by.

The International Flag Display

This is apparently the world's largest display of international flags. Sure it may fall into the 'kind of pointless world records' category, but they're still pretty cool. If you're a geography buff see if you can name the county that each flag comes from, small plaques at the base of the flags will tell you if you're right.
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Why? Embrace Canberra's political side
When: Generally open 9-5
Where: Canberra
Cost: Free ($1-$2 at the Museum of Australian Democracy)
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