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Taking liberties with Menzies’ politics betrays his life and legacy


After all, there are a lot of issues to be conservative about Menzies – in one of the best sense of that overused phrase. That is most evident in his traditionalism, particularly in his emotional devotion to British establishments. As John Howard identified in his latest guide of smart essays Feeling of steadiness, there isn’t any contradiction between classical liberalism and institutional conservatism. Menzies embodies each one of the best because the Liberal Get together.

What Menzies does is just not an ideology in any respect. The essence of his liberalism was that he valued the liberty of the person; It was the character of his conservatism that he despised doctrine. In his final speech to the Federal Meeting of the Liberal Get together, in 1964, surveying his lengthy public life, he stated: “We now have no doctrinal political philosophy. When authorities motion or management over us appeared one of the best reply to an actual downside, we utilized that reply… However our first impulse is at all times searching for solutions for personal enterprise, to assist people assist themselves, to create a local weather, financial, social, industrial, favorable for his or her operations and development. … Because the etymology of our identify ‘Freedom’ suggests, now we have stood for freedom. “


It’s important for a political get together that has not too long ago turned opposition to debate its future path. For the Liberal Get together, that appropriately means a dialogue of the place it is headed in politics: is it changing into extra reasonable, or extra right-wing? However there may be additionally a hazard that such debates may very well be usurped by political quacks to distort the get together’s historical past and assault its core values. That generally sees usurpation of the identify of its nice founder – who created the Liberal Get together with the categorical objective of glorifying progressive classical liberalism as a substitute. anti-socialist in Australian politics – to justify the ideologically excessive views he would clearly hate.

On the CPAC convention, one outstanding participant – a federal vice chair of the Liberal Get together – stated that “we ought to be glad” that some Liberal seats had been misplaced to Labor and different political events. get together members. These embody MPs corresponding to Tim Wilson, Trent Zimmerman and Jason Falinski, classical liberals within the Menzies custom who’ve been described as “leftists”, whose defeat is “an excellent factor”.

It wasn’t simply Paul Keating who wished to destroy Menzies’ creation.

George Brandis is a former Australian excessive commissioner to the UK and a Liberal senator.

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