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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Goodbye Al

Whitlam govt minister Grassby dies
A former cabinet member in the Whitlam Labor government, Al Grassby has died. Albert Grassby was the immigration minister from 1972 to 1974. Mr Grassby was born in Brisbane in 1926. He worked as a journalist before entering politics in 1965 as the member for Murrumbidgee in the New South Wales Parliament.

In October 1969 he won the federal seat of Riverina, and in 1972 was appointed the immigration minister for the new Whitlam government - until he lost his seat in the May 1974 election. Mr Grassby initiated extensive reforms in immigration, citizenship and human rights legislation, and is credited with introducing the policy of multiculturalism to Australia.

He was also known for wearing highly colourful ties and recently told a newspaper they represented the country moving from a dull and colourless past to a new colourful Australia. Mr Grassby died in a Canberra hospital this morning.

I remember Al as a superb example of natural intelligence, wit and Australian larrikinism that is sadly absent now. And an extremely snappy dresser with lashings of European styling that none of us had EVER seen before. I just wish the picture above was in colour.


  • Yes indeed, Flash Al ("the Gypo's pal").

    And good ol' B. Peterson is gone too. He said he could govern Tasmania by phone from Queensland.

    You don't get fun people like this in politics anymore. Frivolity has been corrected.

    By Blogger R H, at 1:22 am, April 26, 2005  

  • The Australian Tues 26/4 has a lovely piece on Al Grassby by Barry Cohen.

    Boyntons blog post 'bicycles' has great old photos of cyclists do visit:

    By Blogger Brownie, at 3:22 pm, April 26, 2005  

  • And I forgot to say that this is a marvellous photo of him too. It's captured him. Captured Al. Flash Al.

    By Blogger R H, at 10:47 pm, April 27, 2005  

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