On November 30 last year, two activists who opposed Australia’s offshore detention policy abseiled down the front of Parliament House to unfurl a banner calling for the closure of offshore processing centres.

That incident came amid proposals for a $60 million security upgrade to Parliament House, which along with beefed-up surveillance included a 2.6-metre perimeter fence which would restrict access to the house’s grassy slopes. Reaction from the design community was swift. Pritzker prize winner Glenn Murcutt said the changes were terrible…