Robert G Menzies, Prime Minister, Menzies Bog Orphee discussed on Between The Lines


This is an ABC podcast. Tom, Switzerland, walk into between the lines. It's great to have you company today now Anzac Day program Litz travel back to a time when prime minister's command that quality of leadership that the Romans cold gravitates to pass prime ministers one from each side of the political tracts Bain chiefly in power from forty five to forty nine and longest serving prime minister Robert Menzies empower for more than eighteen years. Stay with. When prime ministers leave politics when politics leaves they more privately that don't usually just fight into the sunset. Do they they invariably still speak out about all and sundry? What did Gareth Evans? Call the condition. Relevance dip revision syndrome. One exception was Robert g Menzies after he retired as prime minister nineteen sixty six at a time of his choosing after sixteen years in the job. He rarely spoke out Schori, right? A couple of days, but after nearly a year as a private citizen. He was came to stay below the cut and thrust politics rotting to his beloved daughter hitter. I must confess that. I have not missed politics retied, even the smell of the battle hardly reaches. My nostrils. That's Robert Menzies in a private limited it to his daughter in light sixty six met later featured in some correspondence that hit Henderson published in twenty eleven. Well, now comes a new Menzies bog Orphee that reveals personal insults from our longest serving prime minister after he left office. The book is called Robert Menzies the politics and the is Troy Branston. He's a senior rata and Cole missed with the Australian newspaper and a full myspace rotted prime minister, Kevin Rudd. Troy, welcome to the Sean hell now, there'd be many books about Robert Menzies agenda as law. He's legacy. I think of Ellen mountains two volume biography in the nineties John Howard's book on the men's era in twenty four how did a documentary on that too for the how does your book shed new lot on our longest serving prime minister. Well, he's longest-serving prime minister. But it's been more than twenty years since there's been a full law, Barbara fee, written-off emits remarkable really to think that he would go so long without this kind of attention in terms of the book world, but look fan it to be a compelling ustralian story of a guy born in ninety four and a country town the last prime minister born in the. Nineteenth century. He rises all the way to the top job in a stray Lian politics. And what are tried to do is go back and look at him. Always judging him in the context of the times did he leave but providing a contemporary lens over it. And I would not have done the bulk could not find significant new causal material. And so I I went through his papers at the national library more than six hundred boxes there. The family gave me new letters and articles and things like that that he'd written covered a series of interviews that he'd given for a plan bar graffiti, which was never written. So on actually surprised that there are so many historians on bog Rofe who have not gone back to these rich are causal material which does provide I think in new perspective on Menzies for a contemporary audience. I did have an authorized bog raphia by the name of Francis. Mcnicoll tills that story. Yeah. Look, it's a it's a tragic story really because he had he had commissioned Francis. Mcnicoll enlighten on sixties to rotties fischel. Bog orphee? She had been a journalist. For the economist magazine. She was well connected. In political circles husband was a vice Admiral, and I think the task simply overwhelmed her, but what she did do was conduct a series of interviews with Menzies in non and seventy two and nine hundred seventy three in the twelve out of his life where he was extremely revealing about all aspects of these law. He's early life. He's political contemporaries policy issues listens. He'd learned from politics, and she did a lot of research interviewed other people, but these interviews have been sealed for nearly fifty years and the family took the exclusive access to the pipe offer open to the public. But the problem was is for so long many other people who had wanted to write books were not able to because she was designated as the official Barak of ROY. And it's been under wraps for twenty five years until you got access to them. Yeah. I think these interviews of largely forgotten but the ship transferred to the Menzies foundation, and I was able to get access to those with the support of the national library and also Menzies family as I said men's. Unlock today's politicians in retirement. He very rarely spoke out, but he did give an interview to Francis. Mcnichols brother-in-law David mcnicoll to prominent journalists for Pekka in the mid nineteen seventies. And then of course, it was Heather Henderson's book is Robert Menzies daughter that was in twenty eleven which revealed. Her father's litters that revealed. He's personal insights about he's thoughts on many issues, especially successes. Well, the interviews of very revealing because he does talk about easily law if he's entry into politics and provides a whole range of commentary on political personalities at home and abroad. One of the most significant stories are found, Tom which had not been really appreciated by other bog refers is the decision that he's two brothers might enlist in the first World War and Menzies decided to stay Heim. He was a student at the time. It was a family decision. He ceased to eloped as well with a soldier, and this plunged the family essentially into emotional turmoil that he was branded a coward for the rest of his law for not serving. So in these interviews. Menzies was very revealing in a personal y sign that the motivation for him to going to politics. Galvanizing force was to do service in another white, and you make it very clear that he had Menzies had a very good relationship with his political rivals must notably John

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