Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
As historians analyse his career, how will history judge Sir Robert Menzies?

ROBERT MENZIES: In other words, you want me to make a statement about a matter that I have said I am not making a statement about. You are trying in vain. You must restrain your eagerness.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Robert Gordon Menzies is one of the giant figures of Australian political history, yet it is only now, fifty years after he founded the Liberal Party, that his life and legacy are being seriously scrutinised.

JUDITH BRETT: Menzies did see it as important to provide a particular sort of moral and cultural leadership and he saw that as important to the role of a politician, in a way I think political leaders now don't put so much emphasis on.

DONALD HORNE: Menzies' greatest achievement of course was to have formed the Liberal Party itself. That was the best thing he did. He seemed to run out of ideas after that.

KERRY O'BRIEN: How, in the end, will history judge Menzies? That's our story tonight. Tonight and tomorrow night, we will be looking back to another era in Australian politics, when 10 percent unemployment and ballooning international debt were unimaginable nightmares. The Menzies years were Australia's most prosperous and stable; average incomes soared; the great Australian dream of home ownership for many became reality; and the same man was Prime Minister for sixteen years. But the legacy of Sir Robert Gordon Menzies is far from universally acclaimed. He has been variously dismissed as a dangerous autocrat with a fervent anti-communist bent, or in the words of Paul Keating, as a dead hand on Australia's economic and cultural development.

Meanwhile, in the 50th anniversary year of the Liberal Party in which the formation of which Menzies was the driving force, his modern inheritors are dipping back into his legacy to try to find their way back from eleven years in the wilderness. Surprisingly, historians have only recently begun to critically analyse in detail the career of such a dominant political figure. Hopefully they will shed definitive light on whether Menzies was a great Prime Minister as well as a great politician. Tonight we will talk about the Menzies legacy with the most recent Liberal Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, who also served in the Menzies Government; and to one of Australia's most prominent historians. But first, Margot O'Neill reminds us of the formidable career of the man they called Ming the Merciless.

MARGOT O'NEILL: No federal politician has ever matched Robert Menzies' record of economic prosperity or stability. When he retired in 1966, his towering frame and razor wit seemed an immutable part of Australia's political landscape.

ROBERT MENZIES: I am delighted to think that after all these years I can look around my own country and say, this is strong country, its people are prospering, the population has grown. It does matter in the world.

MARGOT O'NEILL: But there was another view of the Menzies years.

DONALD HORNE: Well, by the time I wrote The Lucky Country in 1964 Menzies had become a bit of a joke.

MARGOT O'NEILL: By the end of his prime ministership, Sir Robert Menzies was seen by many as an ageing almost mawkish royalist, out of touch with an increasingly independent Australian identity.

ROBERT MENZIES: I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die.

DONALD HORNE: There is a sentimental belief, you know, that Menzies was a great giant in the Liberal Party throughout its history, which so far as the latter part of his career goes, is entirely false. He missed opportunity after opportunity and those opportunities were picked up to some extent, by Harold Holt, who began to reform the White Australia policy and began to develop openings with Asia. The three Ministers who succeeded, the three Liberal Ministers who succeeded Menzies as Prime Minister and those may be forgotten, but they actually achieved in their brief and inglorious time, more than he had done in about ten years.

MARGOT O'NEILL: For sixteen years Robert Menzies was a dominant force here in Federal Parliament, his oratory and wit often cowing friend and foe alike. That imperial Menzies style dominated Australia for an entire generation. He was a symbol of Australian stability and prosperity but by the '60s, a new generation believed he had kept Australia in a cultural and political straight-jacket and they couldn't wait to push his legacy aside.

Menzies supporters struggled to preserve his image amid the turbulent social change that followed his government. Here in her first television interview, Menzies' daughter, Heather Henderson, laments that too often her father has been portrayed as a caricature like the champagne-sipping elitist in the ABC TV series, The True Believers.

HEATHER HENDERSON: Well, I find it sickening really, and infuriating because I know he was not like that. He was straight; he was honest; he wasn't scheming round corners drifting round in a black tie with a glass in the hand all the time. They completely missed his humour because that sense of humour was really a very important part of him.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Nearly twenty years after Menzies retired, political historian, Dr Judith Brett, became one of the first to seriously examine who he was.

JUDITH BRETT: He saw the ... part of the role of political leadership as arguing for particular moral values which he thought should shape the political life of Australia; that is, he didn't put the same priority on the development of policy as modern political leaders do.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Brett focused on Menzies' 1942 radio speech, the Forgotten People. It appealed to the middle class as the central force in Australian politics and it became the centrepiece of the Liberal Party he founded in 1943.

ROBERT MENZIES: The home is the foundation of sanity and sobriety. It is the indispensable condition of continuity.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Another Menzies revisionist, Dr Alan Martin, is the first person to have systematically studied the early development of Menzies' political ideals which were encapsulated in the Forgotten People speech.

ALAN MARTIN: The other thing, of course, that he really stood for was the importance of British institutions. He believed that British democracy was the highest form of government by contrast to any contrived forms like communism, like fascism and so on.

MARGOT O'NEILL: When Britain went to war in 1939 just months after Menzies first became Prime Minister, there was no question that Australia would join the fight too.

ROBERT MENZIES: May God in his mercy and compassion, grant that the world may soon be delivered from this agony.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Menzies went to London to look after Australian interests in the war effort. He was gone four long months but while he was taking these home movies, his enemies in Australia plotted his demise. Shortly after his return he was dumped as Prime Minister. It was a massive humiliation. Most commentators believed it was the end of Menzies' brilliant political career but in a spectacular comeback he led the Liberal Party to power eight years later, in 1949.

ROBERT MENZIES: We represent all the people, not just the ones who voted for us, but the ones who voted against us.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Menzies was to be humiliated again. This time in his bid to divide and conquer his Labor opponents, he lost a national referendum to ban the Communist Party in 1951, but he bounced back three years later when he succeeded in speeding the debilitating split in the Labor Party by calling the Petrov Royal Commission into a Russian spy ring. The ensuing bitter feud over anti-communism in Labor ranks kept it out of power for two decades. But if Menzies' considerable political skills ensured his grip on power, the question remains, what did he do with it? Supporters say his greatest contributions were the funding of tertiary education, the development of Canberra, and enabling Australia to bask in a post-war economic boom where high unemployment was unheard of.

But he has been blamed for capitulating to the Country Party and maintaining high protection barriers from which Australia is still recovering, and for neglecting south-east Asia, other than seeing it as a series of potential communist dominoes that needed to be contained militarily as in Korea and Vietnam. Menzies denied that he treated the region with contempt.

ROBERT MENZIES: This idea that I was the sort of fellow that regarded orientals as if they were coolies is just an invention by stupid, ignorant fellows who get books published.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Donald Horne remains unimpressed. He believes Menzies only ever had one good idea.

DONALD HORNE: Menzies greatest achievement of course was to have formed the Liberal Party itself. That was the best thing he did. He seemed to run out of ideas after that.

MARGOT O'NEILL: Menzies' daughter says he warned her that his legacy would be hotly debated.

HEATHER HENDERSON: Look dear, you just must become adjusted to it. There is going to be the most dreadful criticism of me when I die but in the long run, it will probably come right, so don't get too upset.

KERRY O'BRIEN: That report from Margot O'Neill, and now tonight's guests. Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister of Australia from 1975-83. He entered Parliament in 1955 as the Liberal Member for Wannon in Victoria and served as a backbencher under Menzies until 1966, when he was appointed Army Minister by Menzies' successor, Harold Holt. Fraser stayed close to Menzies after his retirement and during Fraser's own prime ministership. Malcolm Fraser joins us tonight from Johannesburg, where he has been attending the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela.

Stuart Macintyre is the Ernest Scott Professor of History at Melbourne University, and he is the author of numerous books and publications including Volume 4 of the Oxford History of Australia. Amongst his many professional activities, he sits on the Council of the Constitutional Centenary Foundation, and Professor Macintyre joins us from Melbourne. I recorded this interview a short time ago.

Malcolm Fraser, how do you believe that history should judge Robert Menzies as Prime Minister?

MALCOLM FRASER: It should judge him as Australia's greatest Prime Minister in the post-war years and maybe over a much longer period than that. I am not surprised at some of the mean-minded views that have come from critics because the Left has always been extraordinarily envious of the social and political achievements of Robert Menzies. In international matters, it was the Menzies Government that took the first, most important and dramatic steps in terms of Australia's relationship with Asia. The Colombo Plan was far-sighted and imaginative for its time but the Australian-Japanese trade treaty in 1955-56 was a bold move, undertaken because the Menzies Government did not believe Britain when Britain said she would not join the Common Market. We had to prepare for a different economic and trade future and the Japanese trade treaty was the foundation of that, one of the most far-sighted and the most significant step towards Asia that Australia has ever taken.

People forget the context of the times. Before independence, there was a real communist insurrection in Malaya which the British and we helped Malaya overcome, and that went on for ten years. We helped Malaysia against confrontation and very successfully. The war in Korea somebody derided, but that was a United Nations conflict and we supported the United Nations which maintained the independence at least, of South Korea. So in these matters Menzies, I think, was far-sighted and his government a good one.

Internally, education certainly, he took the Commonwealth into massive support for universities, but before that he had established and expanded a Commonwealth scheme that gave opportunities to tens, hundreds of thousands of young Australians who otherwise wouldn't have had it. He was the first Prime Minister to take an interest in and to support the arts. He established a health scheme which was probably the best we had ever had and which got destroyed because its cover was inadequate for three or four percent of the population. The development - the Snowy Mountains scheme added greatly to Australian wealth and living standards rose. And one of the, I think, tragic and unhappy things is that his critics of the Left cannot understand how a Liberal or a conservative Prime Minister was able to establish such a long reign where growth was above the OECD average, inflation was under control and unemployment below 2 percent, when Labor has now established the circumstances in which they believe 10 percent is the norm and something that Australia has to live with. It is time that history looked on Menzies a little more kindly.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Stuart Macintyre, how do you broadly perceive Menzies as Prime Minister?

STUART MACINTYRE: Well Kerry, let me first of all say that I welcome the renewed interest in Menzies because on any account, he is a very formidable politician and a significant figure. I think I see him as someone who had extraordinary gifts. He re-made a political career and came back from the dead but that he was someone who squandered his talents. Perhaps in a sense, he was a victim of his own success. By the mid-1950s he had very few rivals either within his own party or in the Opposition and the result was a series of historically unimaginative policies that held Australia back. So I obviously disagree with Malcolm Fraser on many of his estimates of external and domestic policy. Let me briefly say that I think that Menzies' attitude towards Asia was an unhelpful one; that he looked at it always in terms of a communist threat and overlooked nationalist and ethnic developments in the region. And that I think domestically, he presided over a period of growth that was general to the Western capitalist world and that the policies he pursued were in the long run, not ones that were very helpful for Australia's future development.

MALCOLM FRASER: Could I take up a couple of points in relation to that. It is common to say from today's perspective, with the Cold War ended, that the concerns and the fears of the '50s or early '60s were unreal and unjustified. It was for the grace of General Nasution and his courage that prevented a communist takeover of Indonesia. I have already mentioned the circumstances of Malaya and it was in support of Malaya and in support of Malaya later against confrontation, that Australia was very heavily involved with Asia. The Colombo Plan was imaginative. The trade treaty with Japan was not only imaginative but so soon after the peace treaty with Japan, it was a courageous and very necessary step for the development of Australia.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Brief response .... sorry, Malcolm, we could actually spend the night going on this and I am going to have to be a little bit harsh in cutting you both off to try and get through all of these areas. But can I have a very brief response from Stuart Macintyre on those specific points?

STUART MACINTYRE: Yes, I would say that Australia's policy towards its region in the 1950s, and indeed in the 1940s, was one that could have gone either way. Under the Chifley Government, of course, we were very engaged in the region and we were important to the achievement of Indonesian independence. Thereafter, I still believe that we were primarily concerned with strategic issues. I certainly agree about the character of the Colombo Plan which was indeed an imaginative one, but it is quite telling that when the ANZUS Treaty was concluded in 1951, it was on Australia's wishes that the south-east Asian countries were excluded and that this was made a treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States, and there was a profound ignorance of the complexities of the developments in the region.

MALCOLM FRASER: That is quite an inaccurate explanation of how ANZUS was formed.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well .... this of course, was always going to be a problem in trying to do what we are doing tonight, because as I have said, we could talk for hours on this and not really plumb the depths. We will have to press on.

I would like to look at the '50s. Domestically, people were preoccupied with the personal focus of building new lives after two debilitating world wars and a depression, but in an international climate of Cold War ideology and fear, how would you summarise the way that Menzies played the '50s as Australia's leader, but also as a politician? Malcolm Fraser.

MALCOLM FRASER: I think in some respects your introduction gave far too much credit for Menzies in his relationships with the Labor Party. The Labor Party destroyed itself. It would have been a gross dereliction of duty if Menzies had not acted in relation to Petrov who was a known spy of the Soviet Union, within Australia, and whatever the Labor Party did about that was entirely its own affair in which Menzies had no part at all.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What about the move to ban the Communist Party?

MALCOLM FRASER: I think .... in my interpretation of that, this was something that .... where Menzies probably bowed to a number of ex-servicemen and to the Right-wing of the Liberal Party. If you look at his campaign in support of that referendum, I don't believe he had his heart in it. I do not believe he really fought. If you look at Dr Evatt's campaign compared to Menzies' campaign, Menzies had few meetings and whatever because I think I know Menzies well enough to know and to understand that he knew that in a democratic society you argue against a bad idea, you do not ban it or proscribe it.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Can I get a response from Stuart Macintyre just on those points?

STUART MACINTYRE: Well, I disagree with that. I think all the historical evidence is against it. In fact, during the amendments in the Crimes Act in the 1920s which were trying to ban the Communist Party, Robert Menzies contributed a legal opinion, giving his clear support to the idea. Furthermore, he made it a principal plank of his election campaign in 1949. He was told by the High Court it wasn't possible and he insisted on taking it to referendum. You could well argue that he lost the battle but won the war because in the aftermath of the defeat of that Bill, he commonly suggested that the Labor Party was soft on communism.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Malcolm Fraser, what about ... and I am particularly keen to ask this since you are in South Africa and your own opposition to apartheid is well known and well recorded. What is Robert Menzies' record on South Africa in all of those years that he was going to Commonwealth conferences?

MALCOLM FRASER: He was opposed to apartheid as strongly as I was. I was probably more emotional in my opposition; he would have been analytical. But there was one significant difference which ended after Sharpeville. Up to Sharpeville, he sought to maintain the view that this was a matter for South Africa and if there was to be international pressure on South Africa, it should be private pressure. And the record shows quite clearly that he argued through the '50s with South African leaders that the more they advanced the theory of apartheid as they themselves were propounding it, the more it was doomed to the most terrible failure and disaster because in the theory of apartheid, there was to be equal but separate development. We know that never happened but that was the theory.

And Menzies argued because he was a lawyer; he had tried to do it rationally; he had tried to persuade his opponents rationally. He argued that the more the blacks and the coloureds here had equal education and equal economic opportunity, the less would they accept political inequality. So he was saying that if the government of that day in South Africa was to be successful in the economic and educational aspects which we know they never were and never intended to be, but he took them at their word on it, the more they would sow the seeds of apartheid's own destruction. And it was only after Sharpeville that his government determined to do things in a public way, but it was not till 1977 and my government, that the sporting bans on apartheid ... on South Africa, were put in place. So that was again many years after Menzies and one of the difficulties from this perspective is to judge Menzies in the context of his time and not from a different age when views and attitudes have changed.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Stuart Macintyre, are you impressed with the fact that Menzies was taking that stand behind the scenes, it seems?

STUART MACINTYRE: No, I am not. I mean, I think that Malcolm Fraser is being too modest. I think one of his great achievements was to take a stand against apartheid and to make Australia count in the campaign against it. I have no doubt that Robert Menzies disagreed with apartheid and disliked it and he frequently said so, but he also consistently argued that it was not proper for the British Commonwealth, as it then was, to interfere in the domestic affairs of a fellow country. And he consistently opposed the raising of the issue at Commonwealth meetings and indeed, he regretted very much the withdrawal of South Africa from the Commonwealth in 1961.

MALCOLM FRASER: Look, I accept a lot of that but again, try and judge it in the context of the times and the strength of the private arguments that he was putting to South African leaders, against apartheid. And he happened to .... you know, it was a difference of beings.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Can we move on now to the '60s, and of course the '60s gave us Vietnam. Malcolm Fraser, how well does Menzies emerge, do you believe, over Australia's involvement in Vietnam?

MALCOLM FRASER: Well, I am one of those who will never apologise for our involvement in relation to Vietnam because I believe the involvement was right, but that would take more time to argue tha*nt you have. But I was one of those who went into the universities and the campuses and the teach-ins on Vietnam more vigorously than most. That conflict was lost in Washington and I would never again want to see Australia involved in a conflict with any ally unless we had a strong voice and influence in the conduct and strategy of the war.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I understand the context that you have set out earlier about communism in the rest of the region, but how honest was Menzies when Australian troops were first committed in April of 1965, where Australia and America, when you look at the history that has emerged since, where Australia and America appeared to push South Vietnam into making the request for more US troops and for that commitment of the Australian battalion; that the Americans were actually pulling the strings in Saigon rather than responding to a genuine plea for outside help.

MALCOLM FRASER: No, that is not correct. I have been .... I had visited Saigon quite often - I had been there originally in 1963 or 1964, I had travelled through the region - and we need to remember that Vietnam was divided by international agreement between the north and the south, and then there was a consistent campaign by the north to subvert and to overturn the south. I think it is .... you know, the doctors and the medical teams that we had in South Vietnam long before there was any medical equipment, any military commitment, if you hear the stories they were told and that they heard, things that they saw about what was happening in South Vietnam, you might understand a little more of the justification for Australia's involvement.

KERRY O'BRIEN: The point that I am making is how that was played out and how honestly that was told, and the extent to which Australia was acting in what it perceived to be its own interests about strengthening the ANZUS commitment, about responding to the United States, rather than about any direct concern about South Vietnam. And before you respond to that, I would like to bring Stuart Macintyre in and just hear what his perspective is on that.

STUART MACINTYRE: Well Kerry, we have documentation that was tabled in the Australian Parliament in 1975 and we have subsequent documentation made available in the United States. And it is quite clear that the Menzies Government was less than frank with the Australian people when it said it had a request to assist the United States in the defence of South Vietnam because in 1964, the Australian Government was very keen to engage the Americans in the defence of South Vietnam. They were in a sense, caught out because they were only offering themselves fifty advisers and eventually they had to offer a battalion. But the notion that somehow the South Vietnamese Government requested aid and that the United States Government orchestrated Western aid is quite misleading.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Malcolm Fraser, a brief response.

MALCOLM FRASER: Well, this is a very great re-writing of history because South Vietnam wanted help, they needed help, and if you speak to people like Lee Kuan Yew and other members of ASEAN, they also believed that it was important for the American involvement and support in Vietnam. We forget at times that ASEAN was a very fragile instrument, established to overcome political divisions within the members of ASEAN ....

KERRY O'BRIEN: But the point ....

MALCOLM FRASER: But wait a minute. Can I just finish this sentence please? The time that the Vietnam conflict afforded ASEAN, enabled it to strengthen itself, enabled it to develop a cohesion on a common purpose, especially in relation to foreign affairs and external matters, would stand it in good stead. So there were many benefits from the conflict. It is a tragedy, in my view, that the conflict failed but with the conduct, with the way the war was written, the rules, the strategies prescribed by Washington, it was indeed doomed to failure.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Very brief response from Stuart Macintyre on Vietnam and then we will move on.

STUART MACINTYRE: Well, it is quite difficult, isn't it, because I would need to produce the documents and show them to you. But it is quite clear that the Australians went to America late in 1964, urged the Americans to become more involved, urged bombing in fact, and they were very anxious to draw the Americans in further, and it is quite duplicitous of, or was quite duplicitous of the Australian Government to suggest that they were responding to a request. It was a request that they helped to arrange.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Look, we will have to move on ....

MALCOLM FRASER: One point I have to make about that ....

KERRY O'BRIEN: As brief as you can.

MALCOLM FRASER: What year was President Kennedy's assassination?


MALCOLM FRASER: President Kennedy had already cast the die for the United States. He had already taken the initial steps that led to commitment and greater commitment, and to accuse Australia of being the instrument of that in 1964 is totally and absolutely false.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But what about the documents that Stuart Macintyre is talking about and the exchanges of record involving Australian Ambassadors in Saigon and in Washington and documentation that has come to light from the United States, as well?

MALCOLM FRASER: Look at the decisions that President Kennedy made before he was assassinated? They all preceded those documents.

KERRY O'BRIEN: We are going to run out of time. What I would like to look at now with both of you is what you regard as the Menzies legacy. Stuart Macintyre, what would you say, looking back from the perspective of the '90s, is the legacy of Robert Menzies?

STUART MACINTYRE: Well, the Menzies legacy as it has been discussed in the aftermath of the last federal election, is of a conservative politics that can speak for a broad base of Australians, constructed by Menzies very successfully in the 1940s, cannot be constructed in the same way in the 1990s because of social changes, but one clearly that has to concern conservatives. The only other thing I would want to say, I think, is that Robert Menzies had a conception of politics that in many ways, I find attractive. He didn't apologise for politics; he regarded politics as a worthwhile and rewarding activity; he regarded it as a form of public service, which indeed he practised according to his own lights; and he brought to it a breadth of imagination that is lacking from conservative politics in the '90s. In those two respects I think that there is a Menzies legacy that is worth taking seriously.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And are there policy areas that you regard as achievements?

STUART MACINTYRE: Well, as a member of the Council of the National Library, I would have to agree with the suggestion that he was important in building up Canberra and cultural agencies. I was myself a beneficiary of the expansion of the Australian universities. Yes, there are important areas of social policy in which he left a lasting achievement.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And a legacy on the other side of the coin, if you like, in terms of policy failure by omission or otherwise.

STUART MACINTYRE: The policy failure I have suggested is that he clung to a view of Australia and its place in the world that was outmoded. The irony is that he is the last Prime Minister to have retired, rather than have been pushed out, but he left too late.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Malcolm Fraser, the lasting legacy, if you like, from the perspective of the '90s of Robert Menzies.

MALCOLM FRASER: Well, the positive aspects that Stuart mentioned, I obviously agree with. But Menzies had a view of government, I think, which is quite different from that of government today. In his view, the purpose of government was to enable those forgotten Australians, but ordinary Australians wherever they were, to lead the kind of lives they wanted to and to advance themselves and their families; to establish a social welfare safety net to pick up those who couldn't manage, who had fallen by the wayside. But also he governed Australia to maintain profitable manufacturing, mining and farming and that is why unemployment stayed at 2 percent or less. Today's Australia, the basic objective of a good life for Australians is a by-product and government policy, because of massive international debt that Menzies or I never incurred, now means that policy is determined on the basis of keep those financial markets happy or the whole thing will fall apart, and as a consequence, hundreds of thousands of Australians live very difficult lives and are unemployed.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Of course you have to acknowledge though that he didn't have to contend with the huge shifts of money; he didn't have to contend with the global markets of today and the globalisation of the economy; and he didn't have to contend with the technological age.

MALCOLM FRASER: Technology has always been a factor and a lot of what you are talking about I know is today's jargon, but a lot of it is jargon. Our Reserve Bank did not have to lose control of capital movements across our borders. If you go to many other countries around the world, Reserve Banks remain much greater control than does ours, and that is one of our very great problems and something which today's orthodoxy in Australia does not recognise.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now, what do you recognise of failures of policy?*. What would you regard as the failings of Robert Menzies?

MALCOLM FRASER: I think that is in some sense difficult. Probably a failing that I also was involved in, he did not leave behind a secure and strong succession and not many strong leaders I suppose, do, and the Liberal Party paid a very heavy price for that. You know, by today's standards, he was accused of being interventionist, but part of this program and the debate of the '50s and '60s was that he didn't do enough. You can't have it both ways. A continuation of the kinds of policies, modified as they would have been over time, drawing us closer to Asia because every government has taken successive steps in that direction. I do not believe there were significant failures in the post-war Menzies. In the pre-war Menzies, pre-world war Menzies, of course there were.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And we are just about to lose the satellite but thanks very much, Malcolm Fraser; thank you Stuart Macintyre.