Source: The Queen
Title: R.G Menzies: Farewell dinner for former Prime Minister.
ADDRESS BY HON QUEEN ELIZABETH II, ON THE OCCASION OF THE FAREWELL DINNER FOR FORMER PRIME MINISTER ROBERT GORDON MENZIES
The Former Minister of Housing,
Ministers, Deputy Ministers,
Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP,
Colleagues and Friends,
I am very happy and honoured to be part of this celebration tonight as we as the Government and country bid farewell to one of our outstanding colleagues, the former Prime Minister of Australia.
I am saying celebration because I feel it is the best way to describe an otherwise odd contradiction of being sad to lose a colleague, and at the same time being elated that he is still very much part of the family.
Born into humble circumstances, Menzies obtained a first-class secondary and university education by winning a series of scholarships. He established himself as one of Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers, and then entered the Victorian parliament in 1928. He won a seat in the federal parliament in 1934 and served as Attorney-General and Minister for Industry in the United Australia Party government of Joseph Lyons.
Menzies was Prime Minister when World War II began in 1939. In 1941 he lost the confidence of members of Cabinet and his party and was forced to resign. As an Opposition backbencher during the war years, he helped create the Liberal Party and became Leader of the Opposition in 1946. At the 1949 federal election, he defeated Ben Chifley’s Labour Party and once again became Australia’s Prime Minister.
Menzies’ second period as Prime Minister laid the foundations for 22 consecutive years in government for the Liberal–Country Party Coalition.
Menzies was often characterised as an extreme monarchist and ‘British to his bootstraps’, but as Prime Minister he maintained Australia’s strong defence alliance with the United States. During his second period in office the ANZUS and SEATO treaties were signed, Australian troops were sent to support US-led forces in Korea, and Australia made its first commitment