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Menzies' daughter angry as Howard named best -

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LISA MILLAR: The daughter of Australia's longest-serving Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, is angry a
national journal has awarded the mantle of the country's greatest PM to John Howard.

In last month's literary and cultural magazine, Quadrant, the former senator and treasury secretary
John Stone bestowed Mr Howard with the title of best prime minister.

In this month's edition, Mr Menzies' daughter Heather Henderson hits back in a letter to the
journal.

Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: Former Howard Treasury secretary, John Stone, says Howard is Australia's best, or at
least equal best with Menzies, Prime Minister in the county's history.

JOHN STONE: He inherited an economy which was in a mess, but more importantly, he inherited a
country that was in a mess, a country that was still engaged in pointless and fruitless debate
about a national identity. It was mired in guilt of people talking about saying sorry, and other
stuff of that kind, and at the end of his time in office, those things had either been totally
cleared away or well on the way to being cleared away.

RACHAEL BROWN: And do you contend that that helped give us back our sense of pride in being
Australian?

JOHN STONE: I certainly do, yes. Look, if one wants some evidence, have a look at the young people
today and have a look at the hugely increasing, and continually increasing, respect which is paid
to ceremonies such as ANZAC Day.

RACHAEL BROWN: It's no surprise that Menzies' daughter Heather Henderson has contested the mantle,
saying her father, unlike Howard, had the wit to know when to go.

Menzies retired in 1966, after a second term of office lasting sixteen years.

Ms Henderson wrote to Quadrant that no-one can hold a candle to her father.

HEATHER HENDERSON (READ BY ACTOR): The passage of time has thrown into increasingly prominent
relief two particular aspects of his period in office: his respect for parliament and his concern
for the constitution. Moreover, his personal qualities, his character and personality, and his
breadth of outlook have become widely recognised in the Australian community.

RACHAEL BROWN: And she speaks of her father's pride in being Australian.

HEATHER HENDERSON (READ BY ACTOR): In the late 30s, at the end of a successful case before the
Privy Council in London, my father was offered a package made up of a room in the best chambers in
London, and income of 30,000 pounds a year, and in due course, a seat in the House of Commons. He
said, "Thank you very much, but no. My future lies in Australia."

RACHAEL BROWN: Ms Henderson declined an interview with The World Today, saying she feels she's
stuck her neck out enough already.

Mr Stone agrees it's difficult to compare the two leaders given their reign was during very
different social and economic times

JOHN STONE: Whether Howard's achievements exceed or only equal those of Menzies merits an article
in its own right but I do think that Mr Howard lived in much more difficult times, than Mr Menzies.

Menzies didn't have to contend with the aftermath of the Vietnam generation, or the aftermath of
the selfishness of the baby boomers, and so on and so forth. He lived in much more fortuitous
times. He didn't have to contend with the nonsense of the Stolen Generation, or the nonsense of the
multiculturalism, or all cultures are equal. Menzies had, in that sense, a much easier ride. I
don't wish in any way to detract from Sir Robert Menzies' achievements...

RACHAEL BROWN: Do you agree with what she's said in terms of his special qualities in his term in
office being his respect for the parliament and concern for the constitution?

JOHN STONE: I do. I do agree with those comments entirely. The constitution, and also the public
service, were two elements where I marked Mr Howard down.

LISA MILLAR: That's former treasury secretary to John Howard, John Stone, speaking to Rachael
Brown.