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gibbs, sir

Sir Robert Menzies Lecture

The Sir Robert Menzies Lecture is an annual lecture delivered in Melbourne, Australia, by a prominent politician, academic or other noteworthy individual, about various aspects of modern liberalism. The lectures have been held annually since 1978, and are named in honour of Sir Robert Menzies, Australia's longest serving Prime Minister and one of the world's most respected post-war statesmen.

History

The lecture was first proposed by the Monash University Liberal Club in 1976, when the president of the club was Michael Kroger, and it was held in its early years at the Robert Blackwood Hall on the Clayton campus of the university. The inaugural speaker was the then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. The establishment of an on-campus conservative lecture was a bold move in a time where student politics were predominantly left-wing. The 1981 appearance of Margaret Thatcher drew strong protests from students; at the same time, Thatcher's lecture was one of the best-remembered of the series.

Since the first lecture, the Sir Robert Menzies Lecture Trust, chaired by Dr Alan Gregory AM, has been established to ensure the year-to-year running of the finances and organisation of the lecture. With the exception of Thatcher's 1981 speech, the lecture has been maintained as a free event, and is now held each year at Parliament House, Melbourne. The Monash University Liberal Club continues to be involved with the Trust in the operation of the lecture.

John Howard is the only person to have given the lecture on two occasions (in 1980 when he was the Federal Treasurer, and again in 1996 after he had become Prime Minister).

Patrons

Sir Robert Menzies willingly agreed to lend his name to the Trust, but died before the inaugural lecture was delivered. The founding patron of the lecture was Sir Robert's widow, Dame Pattie Menzies, and the current patron is their daughter Heather Henderson.

Lecturers

Year Lecturer Position
1978

Malcolm Fraser

Prime Minister
1979

Andrew Peacock

Minister for Foreign Affairs
1980

John Howard

Treasurer
1981

Margaret Thatcher

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
1982

Sir Garfield Barwick

Former Chief Justice of Australia
1983

Sir Sridath (Sonny) Ramphal

Commonwealth Secretary-General
1984

Sir Robert Muldoon

Prime Minister of New Zealand
1985

Professor David Kemp

Professor of Politics, Monash University
1986

Hugh Morgan

CEO of Western Mining Corporation
1987

Dame Leonie Kramer

Various positions
1988

Don Mazankowski

Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
1989

Sir Paul Hasluck

Former Governor-General
1990

John Hewson

Leader of the Liberal Party
1991

Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Blainey

Former Dean of Arts at the University of Melbourne
1992

Jeff Kennett

Premier of Victoria
1993

Sir Harry Gibbs

Former Chief Justice of Australia
1994

Professor Allan Martin

Professor
1995

Sir Zelman Cowen

Former Governor-General
1996

John Howard

Prime Minister
1997

Peter Costello

Treasurer
1998

Don Argus

CEO of National Australia Bank
1999

Petro Georgiou

Member of Parliament (he held Sir Robert Menzies's former seat of Kooyong)
2000

Claude Smadja

Managing Director of the World Economic Forum
2001

Chris Patten

UK Member of the European Commission
2002

Alexander Downer

Minister for Foreign Affairs
2003

Tony Abbott

Minister for Health and Ageing
2004

Philip Ruddock

Attorney-General
2005

Michael Thawley

Australian Ambassador to the United States
2006

Julie Bishop

Minister for Education, Science and Training
2007

Richard Alston

Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
2008

Gerard Henderson

Executive Director of the Sydney Institute

External links

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