PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 104

SPEECH AT THE ROYAL COMMONWEALTH SOCIETY DINNER . HOTEL CANBERRA

Photo of Menzies, Robert

Menzies, Robert

Period of Service: 19/12/1949 to 26/01/1966

More information about Menzies, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/09/1959

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 104

Sir, I think that every speech on an occasion like this ought to be,; in with a species of confassion, and my confession will begin kby the telling of a story which has a moral but it happens to be exactly ttw opposite moral from the owe that Itm supposed to
XG'ntLn I remomber, that man, years ago it must be mny years
ago. because I vas a lawyer mid quito respestablej I was a mw)
ber of the Bar' Oo~ ineil in the State of Victoria and a omplaint, had
been made against a rather wesl~ in member of the Bar. It qmme
before the Cinittee of Coumail and a very respected and respetable,
senior mamber or the iA r, who was present put his stol-eimi
spectacles on, looked at the rest of us, tok thm off, vithdzev his
chair 6 Inches from the airele and said " I want to make It quits
clear that the man about whom this coplaint is made is a man for
whom I don't oars, and therefore I declare myself disq Mlfod bF
bias and Iwiii take no further part in the proceedings'. He 0elsbrated
that br doing back another 6 inches but,, of course not ly
leaving the room. Those are the naosties of life. that I think
you all ought to orn to understant.
W* ell an this ocession I's disqualified Or bias. But It
Is the other ; in of biLas, because Lord and Lady do I& Warr are
ervery old friends of mine. We have knweach other and if
ImySay 8o# liked each other for a quarter of a century. It is
oeof the hepwna things in myown life$ and In the life of my wife,
that vs should fa vs them : oth In Australia and that he,, a dubious
character ( Laughter) was once described tw a former Country Partr
colleagne of mine as the best pig-farmer In jroat Britain. And I
rembr being delighted to know that he was a very go04 pig.. fazmer
SI had no reason to doubt It but I was particularly pleased be.
cause in spite ofthat unpromising beginning he did not propose, a
stabilization scheme for pips. But really, we are old friends. I
couldn't tell you how delighted I an that he has orn out here, and
that he has come as Chairman of this 4reat Society.
You know It is a great mistake to take it for granted
that people take up posts of this kind just for' fun. They take up
r * to of this kind because they have something In them that tells
hem that this particlar thing is important. After all, my
firiend lord do I& Warr at fiva, an I imagines esablishing the
Red Mban tuibe Mom a; the DelaWUTe Indians' always Imagined
that thoug& the features haven't persisted as much as one might
have supposed has had a rich and varied experience of U1t. It
I saWo to you about his biograplW you would all be fasoinated. and
he as had a lot of experience of polities and he knows how pollticians
think. That is not a very easy thing to know. For exemplo,
the Oceissionar lpf Taxation over there, he doesn't know bow politicians
& think, but we always know, or we think we knw, how he
thinks, which is perhaps all the more imprtant.
ilut Lord do la ia" r has really had a restarkable aii'rond
* xp-! rienoe of plitical. affairs and vtien I found that he was to be
Chairman of the Royal = CooWveaIth Society I can't tell you how
pleased I was because this is no task of theocqi this Is a task of
practice, of somebody who understands what's jo o n.
A" d so having discharjed my obligation to declare my biasj
as any Company Director, I believe, would the next thing I want to
say to you in that his arrival here and Uis mission around Australia,
helps to remind us, if we need to be reminded that the Crc eatho
this British ~ owath of owe, has ibeat thinga, we..
maxiable thiug stirring tishave happened to It and, In perticularp
have happened to it in the ladt l't or 15 years. And vs

2.
my easily find ourselves divided into two schools of thoughts
Those who sy 0" ell we know the old* Ran it changed?' and those
who say * We no-begin to understand the no which is quite diftbrent,
in 3507 ways, but which is enriched bor the meories and pr-4ctioes of
the past'. And this is the cwuoial question. Are wo to go on chan&.
Ing an little as possible, being as reluctant as possible, or are we
to 2147 e " w we are, There are maydiffer enoes. There are
indeed s & Aties different prsonal alleglanme but we are a re-
BaabU & of. s nots'resembling too intimately the state
of affairs of 25 years agog or 50 years aip, or 75 years agop but
an association of countries with certain omn feelings and* as I
always hopes with certain oomon passions and faiths*. And If
that Is the position then the C I Mlt has not looked backex
cept to derive pride from Its past._-It looks for~ rard to see VLat it
can do for the world and in the world# not only in your lifetimes,
and am, but In the lifetimes of many# zany millions of people in
the future. And Lord de I& darr is a Chairman who has that forward
looking mind; not anchoring himself by regret, buit propelling him.-
self bF a clear' vision of the future and that,, Sirs is th* second
reason why I'm delighted to see him.
And the third reason is really involved in the sooo.. I
rememiber a few years ago, I hop nobody will quote this against me,
though that wouldn't be a novelty, 9 but I remember saw years age
addressing a patriotic society in London and feeling rather horrified
by the fact that 9% of those present were old dodderers like me
fou sees this was a sort of old sen's and old womm's association.
We we" e all mietyrespectable people. We ocouLdn' t have been
better. Oie said the proper things and we listonodto the pror
things* The Stitish Commnwmealth is not an old ommuity. M Brit.
ish Ctath In point of faat, viewe In the eyes of historyis
one of the young, vigorous things in the world. [ et's pet that Into
our minds, True we've gone through a phase. We've seen all sorts
of chanoos, but It Is the future that matters. And I hope that one
of the results of i-ord do la Warr's visit to Australia will be that
all over thisContineat, and not least in Canberra, we will aee soores
and hundreds and thosands of young amn md young women who are
podto be British who have a sense of the destiny of the British
Coiaanealtt, wo, 2ill join this Society and work. in it and with it
so that our grand.. 4hildren m or two of whom already show a dispositIon
to be rather offensive so that our grandchildren wat be
heard to say in a few years' 1imZ ' Poor old follow. Bit of a G. M. t
orew' but vill coe to believe that they've Inherited something,
something of pride, something of responsibilityq something ef passion,
that means so much to the world. And for those three reasons, am
of bias, and the other two of reason, I = delighted, Sir, to acoept
your invitation to speak in support of this toast*.

Transcript 104