Jon Stanhope wants to commemorate Australia’s former Prime Ministers with statues, starting with Robert Menzies and John Curtin.
In his press release he says the idea came about during a meeting with Mr Menzies’s daughter Heather Henderson and that Mr Menzies is an ideal choice for a statue because of his dedication to Canberra (and also he didn’t want a suburb named after him).
â€œSir Robert Menzies had a deep and sustained commitment to the development of Canberra as a national capital and his legacy is one of which all Australians can be proud,â€ Mr Stanhope said. â€œOf all Australiaâ€™s prime ministers, he was the most dedicated to this city and the most conscious of its importance. He made the Lodge his family home between 1939 and 1941, during his first period as prime minister, and again for an unbroken 16 years from 1949 to 1966. Both he and Dame Pattie Menzies were deeply attached to Canberra, Dame Pattie even returning to the capital for the last years of her life, during the 1990s.”
Mr Stanhope also notes that many other countries have monuments and statues to great leaders, including Washington’s Jefferson and Lincoln memorials and London’s statues of Richard the Lionheart, St George and the Duke of Wellington (although perhaps the press release writer should have mentioned Cromwell and Churchill as statuary recipients in London, rather than Richard the Lionheart and St George since the former two were actually PMs).
To balance a Menzies statue out nicely, one of John Curtin has also been proposed, although the reason given is that he was also a wartime leader, not that he’s a Labor fellow.