Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Minister for Communications

Minister for the Arts

Manager of Government Business in the Senate

Opening of Action Stations exhibition

9 November 2015

Australian National Maritime Museum - Parliament House, Canberra

While we all love Karl and Lisa, Steve Liebmann to me you're still the Today Show.

I'd like to acknowledge Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, Chief of Navy, one of our nation's distinguished military leaders. And the Chair of the Australian National Maritime Museum, Peter Dexter. And Peter can I acknowledge through you, your incredibly hard working council members who are with us today. Kevin Sumption Director of the museum. What a wonderful job you have, I don't know how you drag yourself to work every day Kevin. But good to be with you. But can I particularly acknowledge the volunteers of the museum, many of whom have served with the Navy, have served on these vessels, even helped build them. Without the efforts of the volunteers the Museum would not function the way that it does.

As Steve mentioned I've got the great privilege of being the Minister for the Arts and part of my important responsibility is to have charge of the great national collecting institutions. The institutions that play such an important role in telling our story as a nation. That help to frame the way we see ourselves. And also, help to shape the way that we see our future. And today with the unveiling of this fantastic new pavilion, we are really witnessing what is one of the truly important events in the history of our national collecting institutions.

But I do this morning want to start off with a bit of a confession, I often when at an event where we are acknowledging the Australian Defence Force, must confess to feeling a little bit inadequate. My own military service is fairly modest, I served for 3 years in the Australian Army Psychology Corps. As Private Fifield. And a reservist at that. And Admiral, the closest we got to going tactical was the odd skirmish against the Dental Corps. And we did muse on occasion whether we should change the motto of the Psych Corps to "psych swiftly". But that never eventuated. But it is indeed always a great honour for me to be in the presence of people who have served in the Australian Defence Force and those who continue to serve.

And while the Australian National Maritime Museum is not a military museum as such, nor a Royal Australian Navy museum as such, it's impossible to have a museum that focuses on our maritime history without having the Royal Australian Navy and its service at the heart and the centre of such a museum. And it's just so appropriate in this, the year of the Centenary of the Anzac, that the Australian National Maritime Museum rededicates itself to telling the story of the Royal Australian Navy. And this pavilion is the embodiment of the commitment the museum has.

For those who had the opportunity already to go through this pavilion, you'll have had the chance to see the stories of those who've served. To see the objects that tell the story of their experience in service. To interact with those objects. And my 4 year old I'm sure will be here very soon to do just that. But very importantly, this pavilion embraces and uses digital technology. And all of our national collecting institutions are embracing digitisation. Not only to help people interact, not only to help tell the stories at the physical location, but also to make the holdings of the museums and the stories available online to people around the nation. So that is indeed very important work that the Australian National Maritime Museum is doing.

Can I in conclusion say to those who have served in the ADF, and, in the Navy in particular, and those who continue to serve, thank you. To those who will pass through this wonderful pavilion, can I say welcome. And to those who have helped make this pavilion a possibility, to those who've worked so hard to bring this vision to fruition can I say, congratulations.

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