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Chairs Statement

The Hon Dr David Kemp AC, Chair.
The Hon Dr David Kemp AC, Chair.

The Museum of Australian Democracy is Canberra’s youngest national cultural institution, located in one of the nation’s most important historic buildings Old Parliament House. Here we tell the story of Australia’s remarkable journey to become one of the world’s most vibrant democratic nations.

May 2019 marked the 10th anniversary of the museum. In the lead-up to this significant milestone, we took the opportunity to review activities: engaging with the government and the public in the creation of a new strategic plan; developing a program to upgrade and refresh galleries and spaces; and creating new partnerships to further strengthen the contribution of research to our work.

Two external reviews of the museum’s activities and operations were conducted this year. The Australian National Audit Office report Effectiveness of Board Governance at Old Parliament House found that the governance and oversight arrangements adopted by the Old Parliament House Board are effective. The Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories report Telling Australia’s Story—and why it’s important: Report on the inquiry into Canberra’s national institutions highlighted our excellent school programs while identifying opportunities for growth.

We thank the government for providing capital investment to equip us to modernise critical infrastructure, conduct essential building maintenance works, upgrade exhibitions and develop a new plan to protect the heritage values of Old Parliament House. The capital works include the modernisation of our digital infrastructure, a crucial undertaking to transform our current environment and innovate the museum experience.

Our ongoing success would not be possible without the contributions of our partners, volunteers, staff and donors, and the leadership of our outstanding Executive Director, Ms Daryl Karp AM. I would also like to thank my fellow Board members and to welcome new member Mrs Maria Myers AC.

I also thank Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP and the Department of Communications and the Arts for their support during the year.

On 1 September 2019, responsibility for Old Parliament House will move to the portfolio of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. We look forward to working with our new minister, the Hon Ben Morton MP, and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Hon David Kemp AC

Chair