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30 November 2016, Government Party Room, Parliament House, Canberra
It is a sign of the rising recognition of the significance of Sir Robert Menzies that six of the new members and senators quoted his words in their Maiden speeches.
In recognition of the new members’ contribution to Sir Robert’s legacy, the Menzies Research Centre decided to show its appreciation and support with the presentation of special framed mementos to them.
MRC Executive Director Nick Cater said he was struck by the number of times Menzies was mentioned in the Maiden speeches. He praised the efforts that individuals including former Prime Minister John Howard and Robert Menzies’ daughter Heather Henderson put in making the name of Menzies great again. He said, “When I took over the Menzies Research Centre, one of the most important things we had to do was to celebrate the legacy of Sir Robert…because it seems to me whenever there’s a question of values or principles that we need to confirm, what we believe or what our starting point is, Sir Robert’s words are always the best place to start because he had such a clarity of vision about what liberalism meant in Australia and what he wanted the party to stand for.”
The MRC was delighted that Heather Henderson, Sir Robert Menzies’ daughter, could attend this special occasion and make the presentations in person, in honour of her father.
As Mr Julian Leeser MP (Member for Berowra, former director of the MRC) said to Heather, “…you remain an inspiration for all the work that you do, in maintaining a living legacy in yourself of your great father and reminding us all the time of the importance of his values which still guide us today.”
The framed mementos were presented to the following Members and Senator:
- Mr Julian Leeser MP – Member for Berowra
- Senator Jane Hume – Senator for Victoria
- Mr Tim Wilson MP – Member for Goldstein
- Mr Ben Morton MP – Member for Tangney
- Mr Trevor Evans MP – Member for Brisbane
- Ms Nicole Flint MP – Member for Boothby
During the presentations, The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP made some brief remarks about the Menzies legacy, including his promotion of free enterprise, the power of the individual, a more prosperous economy and the introduction of the original Colombo Plan. Mr Frydenberg said, “it really was in taking on the sectarian divide, and promoting the individual freedoms which we know from his Forgotten People addresses and other fireside chats which Menzies has left an indelible mark on the political landscape.”
Each frame comprised a portrait of Sir Robert, alongside a quote by the former Prime Minister – the meaning of which was encapsulated in the individual member and senator’s Maiden speech. The photograph is one of the finest portraits available, taken by distinguished portrait photographer, Godfrey Argent in 1968. The picture now forms part of the National Portrait Gallery collection in London.
Special thanks to Alistair Ewart and his team at Winning Edge Presentations, for their exceptional professionalism and workmanship on these hand-made prestige frames. We also thank Mr Frydenberg for putting us in touch with them.
Quotations printed on each framed photo are listed below:
Mr Julian Leeser MP -Member for Berowra
(Quote): The greatest function of a democratic government is to create a climate in which enterprise will ﬂourish and productivity will increase (Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, 20 November 1969)
Frame presented to Julian Leeser MP by the Menzies Research Centre on the occasion of his first speech to Parliament, 14 September 2016
Senator Jane Hume - Senator for Victoria
(Quote): There is no reason why a qualified woman should not sit in Parliament or on the Bench or in a professorial Chair or preach from the pulpit, or if you like, command an army in the field (Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, 29 January 1942)
Frame presented to Senator Jane Hume by the Menzies Research Centre on the occasion of her first speech to Parliament, 31 August 2016
Mr Tim Wilson MP - Member for Goldstein
(Quote): Governments, contrary to a well-known political superstition, have no money of their own… they spend what men and women have earned and have paid to them in either taxes or loans (Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, 20 November 1969)
Frame presented to Tim Wilson MP by the Menzies Research Centre on the occasion of his first speech to Parliament, 31 August 2016
Mr Ben Morton MP - Member for Tangney
(Quote): Practically every political problem is a human one. On our decision will depend the well-being or happiness, or security of many individual men and women (Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, 12 May 1970)
Frame presented to Ben Morton MP by the Menzies Research Centre on the occasion of his first speech to Parliament, 12 October 2016
Mr Trevor Evans MP - Member for Brisbane
(Quote): The time has come to say something of the forgotten class - the middle class - those people who are constantly in danger of being ground between the upper and the nether millstones of the false war; the middle class who, properly regarded represent the backbone of this country (Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, 22 May 1942)
Frame presented to Trevor Evans MP by the Menzies Research Centre on the occasion of his first speech to Parliament, 14 September 2016
Ms Nicolle Flint MP - Member for Boothby
(Quote): The freedom to do our best and to make that best better… a freedom that goes deep into the very dignity of man (Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, 7 September 1947)
Frame presented to Nicolle Flint MP by the Menzies Research Centre on the occasion of her first speech to Parliament, 31 August 2016