Sir Robert Menzies Lecture

The Sir Robert Menzies Lecture is an annual lecture delivered in Melbourne, 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.[1]


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 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.

After the first lecture, the Sir Robert Menzies Lecture Trust was established to ensure the year-to-year running of the finances and organisation of the lecture. The inaugural chairman of the Trust was Dr Alan Gregory AM (1978 to 2010). Since 2010, Ron Wilson has been chairman of the Trust.

With the exception of Thatcher's 1981 speech, the lecture has been maintained as a free event, and is now held each year at various locations in Melbourne, including 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).


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 Mrs Heather Henderson AM.


Year Lecturer Position Venue
1978 Malcolm Fraser Prime Minister Monash University, Clayton Campus
1979 Andrew Peacock Minister for Foreign Affairs Monash University, Clayton Campus
1980 John Howard Treasurer Monash University, Clayton Campus
1981 Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University
1982 Sir Garfield Barwick Former Chief Justice of Australia and Former Attorney-General Monash University, Clayton Campus
1983 Sir Sridath (Sonny) Ramphal Commonwealth Secretary-General Monash University, Clayton Campus
1984 Sir Rob Muldoon Prime Minister of New Zealand Mannix College, Monash University
1985 Professor David Kemp Professor of Politics, Monash University Monash University, Clayton Campus
1986 Hugh Morgan CEO of Western Mining Corporation Monash University, Clayton Campus
1987 Dame Leonie Kramer Professor of English, University of Sydney and former ABC Chair Monash University, Clayton Campus
1988 Don Mazankowski Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Monash University, Clayton Campus
1989 Sir Paul Hasluck Former Governor-General Monash University, Clayton Campus
1990 John Hewson Leader of the Liberal Party Monash University, Clayton Campus
1991 Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Blainey Former Dean of Arts at the University of Melbourne Monash University, Clayton Campus
1992 Jeff Kennett Premier of Victoria Monash University, Clayton Campus
1993 Sir Harry Gibbs Former Chief Justice of Australia Monash University, Clayton Campus
1994 Professor Allan Martin Professor of History, Australian National University Monash University, Clayton Campus
1995 Sir Zelman Cowen Former Governor-General Monash University, Clayton Campus
1996 John Howard Prime Minister Monash University, Clayton Campus
1997 Peter Costello Treasurer Monash University, Clayton Campus
1998 Don Argus CEO of National Australia Bank Monash University, Clayton Campus
1999 Petro Georgiou Member of Parliament (Sir Robert Menzies's former seat of Kooyong) Monash University, Clayton Campus
2000 Claude Smadja Managing Director of the World Economic Forum Parliament of Victoria
2001 Chris Patten UK Member of the European Commission Parliament of Victoria
2002 Alexander Downer Minister for Foreign Affairs Parliament of Victoria
2003 Tony Abbott Minister for Health and Ageing Parliament of Victoria
2004 Philip Ruddock Attorney-General Parliament of Victoria
2005 Michael Thawley Australian Ambassador to the United States Parliament of Victoria
2006 Julie Bishop Minister for Education, Science and Training Parliament of Victoria
2007 Richard Alston Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Naval and Military Club, Melbourne
2008 Gerard Henderson Executive Director of the Sydney Institute Parliament of Victoria
2009 Malcolm Turnbull Leader of the Liberal Party Parliament of Victoria
2010 Lecture Postponed due to ill health of lecturer
2011 Noel Pearson Director, Cape York Institute Parliament of Victoria
2012 Jeff Bleich United States Ambassador to Australia Parliament of Victoria
2013 Lecture Postponed due to Federal election
2014 Josh Frydenberg Member of Parliament (Sir Robert Menzies's former seat of Kooyong) Parliament of Victoria
2015 Christopher Pyne Minister for Education and Training Hotel Windsor, Melbourne
2016 Paul Kelly Editor, The Australian Hotel Windsor, Melbourne
2017 Robert Doyle Lord Mayor of Melbourne Melbourne Town Hall
2018 Lecture Postponed due to change in

Federal leadership

2019 Scott Morrison Prime Minister Ernst & Young, Melbourne


External links

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