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Tuesday, 21 August 1973
Page: 7

Mr GRASSBY (Riverina) (Minister for Immigration) Mr Speaker,I rise to add a personal postscript and also one on behalf of the Department of State which was founded by Arthur Augustus Calwell. It is my privilege to head that Department at this time. Mr Calwell founded the Department. Immigration was his last portfolio in government. I remember very vividly that when the government changed in 1949 he made a speech at a citizenship convention which he had arranged but over which he, of course, did not preside because there had been a change in administration. He said to the Minister who succeeded him from the other side of the Parliament: 'I bequeath you a fine Department and I hope to have it back in good order.' That ambition of Arthur Calwell was not realised but one thing that we on all sides of this Parliament can say is that he did bequeath to the nation the Department of State which he founded, in which today there are many people whom he brought in, including the permanent head of that Department, Mr R. E. Armstrong, who began his career in the administration as private secretary to Arthur Calwell. He is now the permanent head and the custodian of the traditions that Arthur Calwell brought to the same Department of State. He left it with initiative, integrity and dedication which I am happy to place on record after my short term of personal stewardship. I should like to say also that he was a great personal inspiration. He gave his advice in a friendly but firm way. I was always grateful for it. I must also say that he was a great inspiration to me personally as the epitome of Australian democracy and an egalitarianism. I once sent him a telegram in which I said:

When Adam delved and Eve span, Where was then the gentleman?

I think if there were a gentleman in terms of service and dedication then it was Arthur Augustus Calwell. I am very pleased, on behalf of all who served in the Department of Immigration over the years and who serve now, to add to the tributes which have been paid to him today in the House of Representatives.

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