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Opening of the Gandel Atrium National Museum of Australia

Thank you Mat. And can I, on behalf of everyone here, acknowledge the great leadership that you provide for this important national institution. And also, through you, acknowledge the fabulous staff of the Museum.

Jude, thank you so much for your welcome. It is important that at occasions such as this, that we do pause and reflect on those who have trod this ground before us, and those who will do so after us.

John and Pauline, it’s an honour to be in your presence. And I’ll have a little more to say about you both shortly.

It’s wonderful to have Ambassadors and High Commissioners with us here today. Welcome to you.

Great to have the former President of the Senate, Margaret Reid, with us, who you heard from Mat is a very frequent visitor to the Museum. Just one word of caution Margaret. That is, if you come here often, don’t stand still too long otherwise Mat might make you an installation. Just be careful.

And it’s also great to have the leaders of our cultural institutions with us here.

Well we’re gathered together to mark what is an important occasion in the life of the nation. We’re here to formally open the Gandel Atrium. This is a wonderful and enhanced gateway to the Museum. But it’s also one of the great public spaces of our national capital. And it’s fitting that the atrium bears the Gandel name, as an acknowledgement of a great Australian family who have contributed to our cultural life through a tremendous philanthropic trust.

John and Pauline, as we all know have developed businesses and given employment opportunities to thousands of Australians. But they’ve always been focused on how their hard work and good fortune can enrich and benefit the cultural and thought life of the nation.

So while they’ve certainly been part of the economic sinews of the nation, they’ve also nourished our soul. And whether that be through their involvement and contributions to the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Museum Victoria, the Jewish Museum of Australia or countless other projects and institutions.

And now through a partnership with the National Museum of Australia. Not just through the creation of this great space. Not just through helping to acquire the Bogong Moth that is flying above us. But importantly through the Defining Moments Digital Classroom.

John and Pauline have always had a passion for education. And that is finding expression through this partnership. Through what is a digital resource. Custom designed. Aligned to the national curriculum. Accessible to classrooms, students and teachers, right around the nation.

And so whether it be from the Dreaming, to the landing at Gallipoli to the Aeroplane Jelly jingle, or to the National Apology and beyond. Australian students will have access to the remarkable resources, to the repository of knowledge and history that is embodied in this institution.

And John and Pauline, and the Museum, really are about the same thing. And that is to help us all to better understand the past, to make sense of the present, and to be better prepared for the future.

So John and Pauline, on behalf of the Government, thank you for your ongoing contribution to our cultural life, our thought life, and the education of Australia’s young people.

It gives me great pleasure to officially declare open the Gandel Atrium and to launch the Defining Moments Digital Classroom. Thanks very much.