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Posted 21 January 2009 - 12:31 PM
† Hon. Al Grassby, AM OI - The Father of Multiculturalism
Born 12 July 1926 - Died 23 April 2005.
Al Grassby was a colourful man. His brightly coloured shirts and ties were the items that many people first noticed. But those who knew Al knew his bright and strong interest in peoples from all cultures, all creeds, and all walks of life was the most colourful part of his life and it was his passionate and life-long interest.
Al Grassby was born in Brisbane of an Irish mother and Spanish father who had lived in Chile. As a child his family moved constantly to Newcastle and Sydney, and then to Sudan, Italy, France, Spain and Scotland and during these travels he acquired a deep understanding of diverse cultures. Al returned to Australia in 1948 and subsequently took up an information officer position with the CSIRO in Griffith.
He was a NSW member of parliament from 1965 to 1969 when he was elected to the Federal Parliament. He was Australian Federal Minister for Immigration from 1972 to 1974 and he initiated extensive reforms in immigration, citizenship and human rights legislation and is credited with introducing the policy of multiculturalism to Australia. Although it was the Holt government that had officially ended the White Australia Policy in the mid 1960s, it was Al Grassby who set about removing all traces of it from Australian law and from government practice. This earned him the title of the father of multiculturalism in Australia.
After he left parliament, he was appointed the first Commissioner for Community Relations. This enabled him to pursue his passion for ensuring Australia became a rich, blended and tolerant society of people for a range of cultures who live together in harmony.
Al Grassby was awarded the Order of Isabel la Católica by His Majesty the King of Spain
Al Grassby was later appointed Director of International Operations, Australian for INFO International which included a special assignment for UNESCO with an international schools program in 7 countries. He conducted a review of multicultural information services by NSW Health Service; examined Aboriginal Australian experience of land management in North Australia; advised a Japanese company involved in establishing a joint Thailand/Australian enterprise; and he conducted the writing of Burnum Burnum’s Aboriginal Australia.
Al Grassby never retired. In 2001 he was a founding director of the Multicultural Business Chamber of Australia. Al’s vision included drawing on the diverse talents and skills of people from a range of cultures for the commercial betterment of business in Australia. He remained an active Director until the time of his death at the age of 78.
Al Grassby is the father of multiculturalism in Australia.
Christopher Peters, AM OI JP
Multicultural Business Chamber of Australia Incorporated
28 April 2005
Edited by Abacus 7, 21 January 2009 - 12:49 PM.
Posted 21 January 2009 - 05:14 PM
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"Ototo'i wa usagi o mita no...Kino wa shika...Kyo wa anata." -Kotomi Ichinose (Clannad) [see below for translation]
"Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you." -The Dandelion Girl
"You are not alone, and you are not strange. You are you, and everyone has damage. Be the better person." -Katawa Shoujo
Posted 22 January 2009 - 06:12 PM
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