ACT News

Senator Zed Seselja to honour Menzies with inaugural tribute dinner

ACT Senator Zed Seselja has joined forces with three federal counterparts to launch the Sir Robert Menzies Canberra Dinner in honour of the former Prime Minister and the 70th anniversary of the Liberal Party. 

The October 29 event, which will be held in the halls of Old Parliament House and raise funds for beyondblue, has been the project of Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, Parliamentary Secretary Josh Frydenberg, Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, and the ACT Senator. 

"It's a bit of a joint one with Kevin Andrews, Bronwyn Bishop and Josh Frydenberg and we're all in it together but I think it was probably initiated by Kevin as the Member for Menzies," Mr Seselja said. 

He said the event, which had initially intended to support victims of the Malaysian Airlines disaster, was a sign of a strong push within the Liberal Party to pay greater recognition to the contributions of Australia's longest serving Prime Minister.

"He's considered by the Liberals to be the greatest or the second greatest Prime Minister depending on who you speak to," he said. 

"Gough Whitlam is revered on the left but I think it is difficult to say he was as significant a figure as Robert Menzies was."

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Mr Seselja said the 70th anniversary of the party was an appropriate occasion to recognise the role Menzies had played in the formation of the party and as a post-war Prime Minister. 

"He played a great role in the Liberal Party but if you look at the changes that occurred in those nearly 20 years you saw the expansion of our universities, you saw home ownership go through the roof, and our ties with Asia grow."

"He has a great legacy and I think all political leaders could learn from him," he said. 

The inaugural dinner, which is expected to be a sell out with 200 of 300 spots filled as of two weeks ago, will play host to heavyweight Liberals along with Robert Menzies' daughter Heather Henderson as a special guest. 

"Obviously there's a good cause this year with the support of beyondblue," said Mr Seselja. 

Mr Seselja used his maiden speech to Federal Parliament last year to draw attention to the role Menzies played establishing "the great tradition of Liberal Governments in building Canberra".

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