David Littleproud calls for an indictment of the fire in the Old Parliament House

A fire was lit as part of a traditional smoking ceremony by protesters, but it quickly spread and corroded the entrance to the building.

Protesters were seen mocking and clapping as the building burned.

Firefighters respond at the fire-damaged entrance to the Old Parliament House following a protest.
Firefighters respond at the fire-damaged entrance to the Old Parliament House following a protest. (Andrew Ellinghausen)

Sir. Littleproud told Today it was a “sad day for our democracy”.

“Regardless of your race, regardless of your religion, regardless of your faith – no one has the right to vandalize a symbol of our democracy,” he said.

“I understand that people need to have a case these days, they need to be angry, but vandalism is not the way to do it.

“I think we are better than that as a nation.”

Former Nine News host John Mangos used to work as a correspondent in the Old Parliament House and was “speechless” over watching the entrance burn.

Old Parliament House on fire in Canberra.
Old Parliament House on fire in Canberra. (Heidi Murphy)

“It’s an ornament to Australia. It’s an ornament to Australian architecture,” he said.

“This is exactly where Gough Whitlam famously said ‘May God save the Queen because nothing will save the Governor General’.”

Not everyone was equally sad to see the building burn.

Firefighters sweep after putting out the fire at Old Parliament House in Canberra.
Firefighters sweep after putting out the fire at Old Parliament House in Canberra. (Alex Ellinghausen)

The building was quickly evacuated and the fire extinguished by ACT Fire and Rescue.

No one was injured during the fire, but the interior of the building suffered extensive water damage.

Police are seeking to review CCTV footage from inside the building at the time the fire was lit.

So far no one has been arrested and no charges have been filed.

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The old parliament building remains closed during the investigation.

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