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Wednesday, 16 May 1973
Page: 2170

Dr JENKINS (SCULLIN, VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration. During the previous Parliament I suggested the setting up of a museum or a collection of articles showing Australia's immigration program and its history. Has the Minister's Department taken any steps to ensure preservation of documents and other articles relevant to migration programs during Australia's history? If not, will the Minister take steps to have this carried out? Will the Minister investigate the possibility of such a collection and museum showing the history of Australia's immigration program being set up as has been done in the United States?

Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - I am afraid that in reply to a question without notice I cannot say exactly what happened during the previous Parliament or what consideration, if any, was given by my predecessors to this suggestion. But I must say that I am very much attracted to it. I think there should be somewhere a national compilation of documents and material that would illustrate in one place the history of migration perhaps from the arrival of the First Fleet on 26th January 1788. I think it is an excellent suggestion. I have often thought that Canberra, the national capital, is remarkably bare of monuments to our past either to people or to events. I can recall only my friend Mr Robert Burns and a past monarch being commemorated by monument in Canberra. 1 think it would be a very fine idea -

Mr Whitlam - They were both probably in the same condition.

Mr GRASSBY - One was a better poet, Mr Speaker. I think it would be an excellent matter to consider. I will certainly examine what consideration, if any, was given by my predecessors to the question which the honourable member mentioned had been advanced. I will certainly ask my Department to explore whether we could have a collection and perhaps the basis of a monument to migrants in the national capital which would bring together all this historic data.

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