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Robert Menzies
 
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 3:33 pm    Post subject: Robert Menzies Reply with quote



Both controversial Australian PMs, Bob Hawke and Robert Menzies had Cornish ancestry. In the case of Menzies, his Scottish ancestry is better known, but his maternal grandfather, John Sampson, was a miner from Penzance who also came to seek his fortune on the gold-fields, in Ballarat.

iIronically much of his reputation today rests upon two wars, WWII, and Vietnam. His Vietnam involvement is not so fondly remembered. He died in 1978.

He is arguably the most important Australian PM of all time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Menzies

Quote:
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, KT, AK, CH, FAA, FRS, QC (20 December 1894 15 May 1978), Australian politician, was the 12th and longest serving Prime Minister of Australia.

His first term as Prime Minister commenced in 1939, after the death in office of the United Australia Party leader Joseph Lyons and a short-term interim premiership by Sir Earle Page. His party narrowly won the 1940 election. A year later, his government was brought down by MPs crossing the floor. He spent eight years in opposition, during which he founded the Liberal Party of Australia. He again became Prime Minister at the 1949 election, and he then dominated Australian politics until his retirement in 1966.

Menzies was renowned as a brilliant speaker, both on the floor of Parliament and on the hustings; his speech "The Forgotten People" is an example of his oratorical skills. Throughout his life and career, Menzies held strong beliefs in the Monarchy and in traditional ties with Britain, despite Britain's move away from the Commonwealth. In 1963 Menzies was invested as the first and only Australian Knight of the Order of the Thistle. Menzies is regarded highly in Prime Ministerial opinion polls and is very highly regarded in Australian society for his tenure as Prime Minister.

...

In 1965, Sir Robert made the fateful decision to commit Australian troops to the Vietnam War, and also to reintroduce conscription. These moves were initially popular, but later became a problem for his successors.

Despite his pragmatic acceptance of the new power balance in the Pacific after World War II and his strong support for the American alliance, he publicly professed continued admiration for links with Britain, exemplified by his admiration for Queen Elizabeth II, and famously described himself as "British to the bootstraps". Over the decade, Australia's ardour for Britain and the monarchy faded somewhat, but Sir Robert's had not. At a function attended by the Queen at Parliament House, Canberra, in 1963, Sir Robert quoted the Elizabethan poet Thomas Ford, "I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die".

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