Stop the Menzies Institute Campaign

Fund our education, not conservative political institutes! Say no to the Menzies Institue on Campus!


About the Institute:

The Robert Menzies Institute is due to open in Old Quad at the University of Melbourne this November. This Institute is clearly non-partisan – all figures on the board are Liberal Party members, former Liberal staffers or candidates, Liberal Party donators or conservative public figures. To make things worse, the Institute is being backed up by the Menzies Research Centre, which constantly puts out racist and sexist publications. They believe that universities and schools are putting out revolutionary information in our classes, and that this is all to destroy conservatism.

The Federal Liberal Government has poured $7 million into setting this Institute up on campus. Meanwhile, the very same Liberal Government cut almost 10% of funding to universities in the most recent Federal Budget. To make things worse, the University of Melbourne and its Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell haven’t said a word about the funding cuts, but are more than welcome to accept their Liberal Party mates building a home on campus. Over 750 staff jobs were cut last year, and more than 450 this year alone, despite the university making an $8 million profit last year in the middle of a global pandemic. Dozens of subjects have been cut, research funding has been slashed, and our tutorial sizes are constantly increasing. To sum it up, this money should be spent on our education, not conservative political institutes.

About the board members:

  • Georgina Downer: will be the CEO of the Institute. Failed Liberal Party candidate who was caught up in the infamous sports rorts saga. Trump supporter and idolises neoliberal conservative Margaret Thatcher. She even wrote an opinion piece idolising Donald Trump in the Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Nick Cater: Executive director of the Menzies Research Centre and columnist for Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian. Climate change denialistanti-lockdown supporter.
  • Peta Credlin: the former Chief of Staff for Tony Abbott when he was Prime Minister, and is now a Sky News Commentator who puts out racist and anti-lockdown views through the channel.
  • and a whole lot of other conservatives, mining magnates, corporate lawyers etc.

About Robert Menzies himself:

Menzies was no Liberal War hero as the conservative media loves to paint him as. In reality, he was a racist, a fascist, and a war monger. We’ve collated some info on the man the Liberal Party and our university want to celebrate, so you can know the true ideology behind the Institute.

CONTENT WARNING: the following section contains information that could be distressing. Includes the mention of racism, apartheid, destruction of Indigenous land, supporting Nazism etc, the Vietnam War, Japanese invasion of China. We will refrain from going into detail but you can read more in the links provided.

Menzies, the racist:

Menzies, the fascist:

Menzies, the war monger:

  • re-established conscription to send Australian forces into the Vietnam War.
  • Sent Australian iron to Japan in 1938 when Japan was an expanding fascist and imperialist power, invading China at the time. Anti-war workers refused to load the iron at the docks, so Menzies threatened to get them all sacked and to put the docks under martial law.

What we have done (so far!!):

  • Campaign officially endorsed by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Unimelb branch.
  • Campaign officially endorsed by the Unimelb Graduate Students Association (GSA).
  • Campaign officially endorsed by the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU).
  • Campaign officially endorsed by the National Union of Students (NUS).
  • Spoken to The Age about our concerns on the Institute – you can read the article on The Age website by clicking this link.
  • Crashed Unimelb’s Science Week Forum that Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell spoke at, asking him key questions about the Institute, alongside the numerous job cuts and subject cuts happening at Unimelb. You can read more on our Facebook post by clicking here.
  • Held several campaign meetings open to all students, alongside the GSA Education team.
  • Discussed the Institute and the campaign during our Education Action Collectives.
  • Held an online rally on Wednesday 18 August 1pm against the Menzies Institute, with student speakers and interactive activities.