AUSTRALIAN POLITICIAN PUTS PRESSURE ON MARBLES ISSUE

Article from: The Advertiser

Return Elgin marbles, UK told

GREG KELTON, STATE POLITICAL REPORTER

OPPOSITION Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith has moved to build Liberal connections with the multicultural community by calling for the Elgin Marbles to be returned to Greece.

He has written to British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the marbles, currently in the British Museum, to be returned to their homeland.

The sculptures - commonly known as the Elgin marbles - were removed from the Parthenon and Acropolis in Athens 200 years ago by Lord Elgin, then Britain's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

They have been a major attraction in the British Museum since 1816 and Britain has consistently rejected Greek calls for their return.

Mr Hamilton-Smith said he would also be moving a motion in Parliament next week calling for a bipartisan support for the sculptures' return.

"I am doing this on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people from the Greek community who reside in SA and Australia who, like me, believe the return of such important historical treasures would be an appropriate and just course of action," he said.

"Recently, one of the world's richest museums, the J Paul Getty in Los Angeles, returned several artefacts to Greece that had been removed under doubtful circumstances.

"The British Museum should now follow suit and return one of the world's greatest ancient treasures to its place of origin."