The role of the National Archives of Australia

Cabinet once again considered building a new headquarters for the National Archives (then the Australian Archives) within Canberra's Parliamentary Triangle, with the building also fulfilling the role of a government information centre. Home Affairs Minister Barry Cohen and Attorney-General Senator Gareth Evans agreed that additional activities such as the dissemination of information on the workings of government and the centralising of the freedom of information function could be accommodated within the facilities already proposed for the Archives' building. However Finance Minister John Dawkins suggested that the new building should be a government exhibition, information and advisory centre, and that 'the national and public responsibilities of the Archives could suitably be carried out by expanding the Archives regional repository in the industrial suburb of Mitchell'. Cabinet decided in October 1984 that the new building could encompass both the archives and information functions, and that the preliminary design for it should be tabled in Parliament.

In December 1985 a new submission provided details of an Information and Exhibition Centre to be included in the Archives' building. The Centre would be managed separately from the Archives because 'while the Centre will not be used for partisan political advantage the factual information it will present on Government policies, programs and contemporary issues may be subjects of political contention'. Cabinet had not considered the submission by the end of 1985. The proposed building did not eventuate and the Archives finally found a home in the Parliamentary Triangle in 1998 when it moved into the historic East Block building on Kings Avenue (see A14039, 3480).

Selected documents

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
ItemSubmission 1060, 2 October 1984, Australian Archives national headquarters building – possible enhancement of role1984–85NAA: A13977, 1060

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