Kevin Rudd has purged his Parliament House office of all traces of John Howard. He has ordered his predecessor's hand-picked Chesterfield-style chairs and the desk of Liberal icon Sir Robert Menzies to be put into storage. The Prime Minister has wiped his office clean of Mr Howard's interior design touches and restored more contemporary fittings purchased when Parliament House was built in 1988.
Mr Howard was sometimes lampooned by critics for his taste in furniture, particularly following his 1999 decision to spend $10,000 on the green leather suite for his office. Scornful critics charged that the chunky furniture would be better suited to Old Parliament House and that Mr Howard had offended the design atmosphere of his huon pine-dominated office. He had previously dumped his prime ministerial desk in favour of the antique used by his hero Sir Robert - the former long-serving prime minister and Liberal Party founder. The desk had been used by several prime ministers between 1927 and 1973 but mainly by Sir Robert.
A spokeswoman for Mr Rudd confirmed yesterday that all of the furniture acquired during the Howard years had been removed from the Parliament House office and placed in a storage basement. This included the green leather chairs, which had been replaced by the original fabric seats in a pale orange. "The Prime Minister has had the normal furniture taken out of storage and put back in his office," Mr Rudd's spokeswoman said. "The furniture purchased by the previous office is now in storage." She said the changes included the Menzies desk.
Posted by John Ray