Chasing the Norm

Australian academic and blogger on politics, international relations, and culture

Civic republicanism and Sir Robert Menzies: the non-liberal side of the Liberal leader

[with Ben Jones] ‘Civic Republicanism and Sir Robert Menzies: The non-liberal side of the liberal leader’ Journal of Australian Studies 37 (4) 485-502, 2013.

Abstract: Robert Menzies was the founder of the Liberal Party and a constitutional
monarchist. His political thought, however, often reveals a civic republican
understanding of the crucial problems of government and society. This article will
examine some key events and influences on Menzies and argue that his political
philosophy and understanding of politics can be more accurately understood
as classically republican. In his support for a limited monarchy, his defence of
public life, and insistence on civic virtue through education, Menzies supported
fundamentally republican ideals. This article offers scholars a way to get past
some of the seemingly contradictory elements of Menzies’s career and arguments,
along with reassessing the role and understanding of republicanism in Australian
political history.

Keywords: Robert Menzies; Australian politics; liberalism; republicanism

Download the Article [PDF format].