PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 1190


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: 09/11/1965

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 1190

Speech by the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies
I would like to say " thank you" to. Phil McBride.
He didn't refer to himself of course, but if you knew Phil
McBride as clzsely as I have known him for many many years,
you would know that he is a very hard man to dodge and the
moment that he decided there ought to be a headquarters
building, it was as good as done. True, he recruited all
these other notable people to whom he has referred, but I know
Phil and I am quite satisfied that but for him, we might not
have achieved the result so soon. Always a difficult man to
contradict. On the many occasions when I have in a small
voice said " Yes, Phil Ientirely agree with you" the has
looked so taken aback that he has usually restate the
proposition ( Laughter) in case I had misunderstood it. He
has drive, and or course he carries with him a reasonable
amount of healthy South Australian bias. That's obvious from
everything we have been told this morning. In fact it
explains why Tom Playford is here this morning, practically
lroking over the estate. ( Laughter)
Now as we have been reminding ourselves in the
last twenty-four hours, this is a national party, a natioral
-arty that was made up originally out of a mass of fragments,
a solid unified national party. Now that itself is a great
achievement. And a national party is a party that has a
national policy, and over these years we'have been able to
provide the country with policies which, open to attack as
hey may be in point of detail, h.' ve in the broad achieved
great results for our country. So we had a national party with
a nationa_ policy and now we have what was lacking1 a true
national headquarters in the national city. This t think is
real landmark in the history of the party, a national
headquarters. You imagine it in the past our national secretariat,
our Federal secretariat has been scattered here and there, part
of it in Sydney, part of it here in Canberra. Now it assembles
here. It conducts its operat-. ons in research, study, in
public relations, in achieving effective close and natural
contact with the Parliamentary party. these things are of
tremendous importance and I want to say on behalf of my
Parliamentary colleagues that we attach importance to the
c:: istence of this buildin and the presence of the Secretariat
because we know that thisowill be a source of knowledge, a
source of wisdom on many thinj, and that the levels of achievement
in Parliament itself will thereby be raised. Now this is
very good. Long distance communications are one thing, and
failing all else they do. But the close daily contact so that
Members know what is going on in the mind of the Secretariat
and the Secretariat, importantly, knows what is going on in the
mind of the Ministers, this is, i think, a tremendously important
matter. Now, I am not a controversial fellow and therefore
I won't buy into an argument about the architecture. I think
it's delightful, but t en I am an old-fashioned reactionary
Tory whe* it comes to architecture, and perhaps on some other
matters for all I know. But it is a lovely building. It has
charm; it reflects, I think, great skill in its architecture
and magnificent achievement in its craftsmanship. The building.....
/ 2

look around this room and you see the most astonishing craftsmanship
which some people had begun to think no longer existed in
a mass production period of time. So I like this building, and
I defy the so-callod modern architects who disagree. All I can
say about some of them is that if they had their way, they have
a ree hand in the great cities of the world over the nex fifty
years, nobody will Know what city he is in because they will all
look the same ( Laughter) and I like to believe in a little
character in a city. Fancy taking away the character of London,
for example, by putting up a series of glasshouses. It gives
me the horrors. And therefore when we were told that we were
to have a building that looked as this one does and didn't look
like a dairy ( Laughter), I was delighted and I still am.
Over there in the corner somewhere I think is, if not
a storied urn, at least an animated bust, I believe. All I can
say because I am not going to anticipate what Sir vVilliam
Anderson will be sayin about it all I can say about it is this
that to the extent that it resembles me it will be a sign and
a warning to those who come after me. ( Laughter) From that
point of view., it will turn out to be a very useful addition to
this room. I am very greatly honoured that this room should have
been named after me, very greatly honoured that I should have
the opportunity of opening the building. I concur in everything
that Sir Philip McBride said. I merely added a few words on
my own account because that seems to be the thing to do. History
will be made in this room. Year after year, decade after
decade, good history will be made in this room. It must be
good, otherwise the new generation will hAve failed to maintain
their vision and I don't believe that they will. Wo are a
pirty with an enormous d-stiny. That is a thing that has to be
remembered a creditabl history. Twenty-one but a great
destiny, a great responsibility, and the existence of this
building and the meeting of the people who will meet in this
building these things will make a contribution I am sure to
our country, our greatly loved country which will be quite
imperishable. Sir, I have great pleasure in declaring the building

Transcript 1190