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Al Grassby and Penny Dent, Community Relations Commission, Canberra
, 1982

by John Williams

montage of gelatin silver photographs

The Hon. Al Grassby AM (1926-2005), politician, was a journalist before he became the Labor Member for Murrumbidgee in 1965. As Minister for Immigration in the Whitlam government from 1972 to 1974 and then the first Australian Commissioner for Community Relations, Grassby became well known for his flamboyant dress sense and gregarious, idealistic nature. A lifelong advocate for multiculturalism, he remained emblematic of those years in which immigration increased by nearly 50%; Vietnamese refugees and orphans from other countries were welcomed; opportunities for overseas students were broadened; exploitation of migrant workers was addressed; educational and resettling programmes were expanded; and non-English language programming on radio and television was initiated.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999
Accession number: 1999.37