On This Day In 1966: Menzies Retires, Holt Government Takes Office

Having announced his retirement on January 20, Sir Robert Menzies officially departed the prime ministership on this day in 1966. Harold Holt’s first ministry was sworn in at the same time.

It was a historic moment 50 years ago that brought to an end the political career of Australia’s longest-serving prime minister. Menzies had been Prime Minister for two years between April 1939 and August 1941. He formed the Liberal Party in 1944 and served for six years as Opposition Leader before defeating the Chifley Labor government in December 1949.

Menzies went on to win six more elections in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1961 and 1963. When he retired, he had been prime minister for 16 years and 5 weeks.

Holt

Harold Holt took office at the age of 57 with a ministerial career that had started 26 years earlier. He had first served under Menzies in 1940 and had been Treasurer since 1958. [Read more…]


Liberal Party Climate Change Policy: 1990 vs 2007

This is a leaflet produced during the 2007 Federal Election campaign, attacking the Liberal Party’s climate change policy.

The leaflet compares the party’s policy in the 1990 election when Andrew Peacock was leader with the policy under Prime Minister John Howard in 2007.

In 1990, Peacock’s Shadow Minister for the Environment and the Arts was Senator Chris Puplick, a prominent moderate in the party.

In 2007, Howard’s Minister for Environment and Water Resources was Malcolm Turnbull, also a prominent moderate. [Read more…]


The Opposition Leader As A Factor Influencing Voting Behaviour

Australia’s parliamentary elections are increasingly focused around perceptions and packaging of the leaders of the various parties.

The election of Senator Natasha Stott Despoja as the leader of the Australian Democrats in 2001 was an indication of the importance political parties place on leadership as a determinant of the voting patterns of electors.

Prime Minister John Howard’s attacks on Kim Beazley’s supposed lack of “ticker” in the 1998 election was another indication that Opposition leadership can be a factor in elections. [Read more…]


Peacock Returning From USA

The Australian Ambassador to the United States, former Liberal Party leader Andrew Peacock, has announced that he will relinquish the post early in the new year.

This week, the Washington Post reported on Peacock under the heading “Strutting Out of Town in Full Feather”:

Unless your column is nice to me, you better bring a bloody food-taster, mate,” Australian Ambassador Andrew Peacock advised us yesterday when we asked about the goodbye party he’s throwing for himself tonight.

Though we firmly believe he was joshing, how could we not be nice? During his three years in Washington representing Down Under, the 59-year-old bachelor-ambassador was wonderful copy–quickly establishing himself as one of this city’s more amusing and colorful characters. Not only does he talk salty and exude Crocodile Dundee charm, he hosted fabulous dinners at his gracious Massachusetts Heights residence and managed to squire Shirley MacLaine and Madeleine Albright.

“She’s a special friend,” Peacock said when we asked if he’s going to miss the secretary of state.

But he seemed to be quoting reincarnation theories of Warren Beatty’s big sister when he added: “In the end we all die, but then we return in a continuing process of endless adventures.

In December, Peacock will head back to Melbourne for a posh but as-yet-undisclosed job in the private sector. “I love Washington,” he said. “And what I don’t like about this city, I’ll keep to myself.”


Andrew Peacock (Liberal-Kooyong) How-To-Vote Card

This is the how-to-vote card issued by Andrew Peacock in Kooyong for the 1993 federal election.

Peacock represented Kooyong since 1966, when he succeeded the Liberal Party’s founder, Sir Robert Menzies. He was Defence and Army minister during the Gorton government (1969-71) and External Territories minister during the McMahon government (1972). He was Foreign Minister in the Fraser government (1975-80) and Industrial Relations minister (1980-81). He unsuccessfully challenged Malcolm Fraser for the leadership in 1981, before returning to the cabinet as Industry and Commerce minister in 1982. [Read more…]


Michael Duffy Gives Peter Costello A Lesson In Question Time

This exchange between the Keating government’s Attorney-General, Michael Duffy, and the new Liberal member for Higgins, Peter Costello, is regarded as one of the standout moments in the House of Representatives in 1992.

The incident is a rare example of a demolition job done with style and wit.

Hansard transcript of Peter Costello’s question to Attorney-General Michael Duffy – September 10, 1992.

Mr COSTELLO —My question is directed to the Attorney-General. Was the Director of Public Prosecutions correct when earlier this week he voiced his concern that the Australian Securities Commission will not devote sufficient resources to identification, investigation and prosecution of corporate crime? Is it true that major corporate crime investigations have been halted because of disagreements between the ASC and the DPP? Why has the Attorney-General failed to do anything in the last 12 months to resolve this argument and to ensure that a proper stand is taken on law enforcement against major corporate crime? [Read more…]


Bob Hogg: 1990 Federal Election Analysis

Bob Hogg, National Secretary of the ALP, has addressed the National Press Club on the outcome of the 1990 Federal Election.

The complete audio of Hogg’s speech and answers to questions is available here. The transcript only covers the questions.

  • Listen to Bob Hogg

This is a transcript of the question and answer session following Bob Hogg’s National Press Club Address.

AMANDA BUCKLEY (Daily Telegraph): Mr Hogg, I want to ask you about the heavy cost of TV election ads. You were trying to get them knocked off before the election, and I’m wondering in retrospect, whether you’re glad you failed, considering you think that they were pretty effective. Will you be trying again before the next election, and how much did they end up costing you, overall? [Read more…]