Towards an independent foreign policy

Towards an independent foreign policy

Editor’s note


Putting aside the presumption that this nation – or any nation – has an easily defined identity, it is an interesting exercise to revisit the conclusion drawn by Australia’s longest-serving prime minister as he described “the thing which sticks firmly in the mind of the average Australian.”

This was 1935 and Robert Menzies, then the attorney-general, was visiting London. He was speaking against the backdrop of rising despotism and fascism and he had a comforting message for his audience at Chatham House. The thing that was firmly stuck in the mind of every Australian, he explained, “is that he is entirely British.”

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