Heather Henderson and Mary Elizabeth Calwell reflect on their fathers’ legacies, growing up in a political environment, and offer their perspectives on a different era in politics.
Office of Maria Vamvakinou MP
Daughters of Robert Menzies and Arthur Calwell say parliament wasn’t always a “fort”
The Conversation, CC BY 79.2 MB (download)
Last week, Michelle Grattan moderated a very special discussion with the daughters of Menzies and Calwell at Parliament House. This podcast episode is a recording of that event.
Arthur Caldwell almost defeated Robert Menzies in the 1961 federal election, dominated by debate over the economy and unemployment.
National Archives, National Library of Australia, Wikimedia
In 1960, Harold Holt, the then-treasurer, urged the government to abolish import restrictions, resulting in a minor recession. This nearly swung the election in the ALP's favour.
Paying for petrol in Brisbane in 1949 using what are likely petrol ration coupons.
State Library of Queensland
Historians attribute the Coalition's election victory in 1949 to issues like bank nationalisation and the Communist Party. But the decisive issue was petrol rationing.
It is becoming harder to argue that neoliberal market solutions, from tax cuts to deregulation, will necessarily benefit and protect ordinary voters.
Whether they form the next government or not, the Liberals need to reconsider their reliance on neoliberal economics, which may no longer be serving the party – or the country.
In his speech Frydenberg repeats Scott Morrison’s warning that storm clouds hang over the global economy.
As it approaches the election, the government's economic pitch on its
record is being linked to the argument that the Coalition is the best
manager in uncertain times.
Morrison’s preacher-style stump speech invoking Menzies sent some wider messages.
It’s hard to fault Morrison’s first fortnight, if you can get past his description of events that tore down a PM as “that Muppet Show”, and swallow any cynicism about his careful choreography.
Josh Frydenberg and Scott Morrison may turn to Robert Menzies’ lessons on how to rebuild a party.
Their longest serving leader built the modern Liberal Party after its predecessor collapsed in 1941– but it took him eight years and defeat in two elections.
Turnbull may be the last of the old liberal-conservative politicians.
Turnbull brought a Menzian style to his leadership, but the world has changed quite a bit since Robert Menzies.
To become prime minister, Turnbull made himself a willing hostage at the outset to right-wing policies that contradicted his political persona.
In staying hostage to this right-wing lunge, rather than fighting to move it back to the mainstream, Turnbull erased his moderate face, destroying his only utility – electoral utility – to the Liberals.
The insults have becoming increasingly personal, but they don’t always work.
Creating epithets for political opponents has a long history in Australia – and when it works, it can be devastating.
A reversion to imperial imbalance in the British-Australian relationship began with the Whitlam government’s election and ended with its dismissal.
The continued embargo on documents relating to the dismissal of the Whitlam government point to the lingering imperial power that comes from an incomplete severance of colonial ties.
Malcolm Turnbull: not at all in the middle.
Canberra's attitude to nuclear weapons has always been riddled with contradictions. Homegrown nuclear campaigners winning the Nobel prize have put the cat among the pigeons.
Politics Podcast: Judith Brett on The Enigmatic Mr Deakin.
Judith Brett's biography, The Enigmatic Mr Deakin, reveals the intense inner world of one of the most important fathers of Australian federation.
The University of Canberra’s Nicholas Klomp and Michelle Grattan discuss the week in politics.
Malcolm Turnbull has reasserted this week that the Liberal Party needs to be in the ‘sensible centre’.
While a lot of people just shrug impatiently at insider politics, a substantial number have turned to 'outsider' players.
Malcolm Turnbull’s speech reminded his Liberal colleagues that he has not stolen the party and his leadership is legitimately Liberal.
Malcolm Turnbull's claim that Robert Menzies' party was meant to be one of the 'sensible centre' has some validity – but it may also be that that centre has shifted significantly, too.
The reference to Tony Abbott in his London speech gave Malcolm Turnbull some body armour.
If he was emphasising he's a centrist, that is hardly a surprise, although when he translates it into policy it annoys the hell out of those on the right.
The Liberal Party contains moderates like George Brandis, Christopher Pyne and Malcolm Turnbull, and conservatives such as Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz and Peter Dutton.
With fringe right parties feasting on the margins of conservative political discontent in Australia, deeper questions are being asked about whether the Liberal Party itself is at risk.
Scott Morrison talked about the challenges of a nation indifferent to the business of politics.
Scott Morrison's comments reflect the concern in the government at the difficulty it is finding in cutting through to the electorate.
B.A. Santamaria (left) played a significant role in the Labor split and the formation of the Democratic Labor Party.
Viewed from today’s post-Cold War and secularised society, the conflicts at heart of the Labor split appear curiously arcane. Yet its ghosts remain.