Robert Gordon Menzies, later Sir Robert, was
Australia’s longest-serving prime minister, leading the party that he founded,
the Liberal Party into Government, from 1949 to 1966 winning seven successful elections in a
row. More than this, he had been prime minister from 1939-41 though less
successfully, but from which he learnt much about governing, people and himself.
Menzies also has the distinction of being one of few Australian prime ministers
who retired while still firmly in office at a time of his own choosing. There
was never anyone like before him, and there will never be anyone like him
again. Universally respected, but almost until recently, almost universally
forgotten, even by his own party, Menzies suffered for a time neglect, blame
for presiding not governing, being too oriented to Britain and even being lazy.
Moreover, his successes both politically and across areas like Australia’s
economic growth were snubbed as being easily achieved given the nature of his
opponents, and the post World War Two boom. Such views belie the difficulties
of the times, Menzies’ numerous achievements, his own skills, foresights and
his enduring integrity. This volume explores Menzies many attributes, while
acknowledging his frailties.