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Thursday, 23 August 1973
Page: 279

Dr JENKINS (SCULLIN, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Immigration and I was reminded of it by the condolence motion on Tuesday for the late Arthur Calwell. Has the Minister taken any action on my suggestion advanced by question without notice on 16 May for a museum of migration and citizenship to be established in Canberra? If so, what is likely to eventuate in preserving our heritage and history in this way?

Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - The honourable member for Scullin did ask me in May of this year what could be done to preserve the heritage that we have in migration and citizenship by way of establishing a museum in Canberra to house all of the documents and to retain all of the segments of our history which, I might say, are dispersed and could easily be lost. I did have some talks with the Minister for the Capital Territory and he was enthusiastic about the idea. I also indicated at that time that I would look to see whether anything had been done by my predecessors and I found that the honourable member for Bowman had asked a question of the previous Minister for Immigration, now the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, in 1970. He had expressed similar concern that the heritage of history that we have in migrant and citizenship should not be lost. The previous Minister indicated that he welcomed the suggestion and he would follow it up. I discovered from the files that he did this and I am pleased to say that I have now arranged for a small history section to bring together all the data we have so that it will not be lost and I hope to arrange for its publication. So, that is one section of it. In regard to the proposal of the honourable member for Scullin, I will continue my talks with my colleague, the Minister for the Capital Territory, to see whether the museum could be established. The thought had occurred to me in view of the proposal for a new Parliament House - on Capital Hill, I believe - that if this great, historic structure were to be left without a use, it could well become a museum for our past enterprises.

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