Donate now

Menzies Foundation Newsletter February 2018

Send Date:

Menzies Foundation News

From the CEO

Liz Gillies CEO Menzies FoundationWelcome to the first edition of the Menzies News for 2018 and my first job should be to introduce myself.

I am the new CEO of the Foundation and it’s fair to say I join at a pivotal time in the Foundation’s history.

There has been quite a bit of change since you last heard from us. One of the most significant of these is the appointment of the new Board Chair, Peter Jopling AM, QC just last week. Peter will bring a renewed focus on helping the Foundation achieve impact in some important areas for Australia’s future. You can read more about the new Chair and his plans in the story below.

The Foundation and Board have extended their thanks to long-serving Directors, Diana Menzies and Sandra Mackenzie OAM, who have resigned their positions, and welcomed Harvey Kalman, Chris Butler and John Menzies who will strengthen the financial expertise available to the Foundation.

Our priority now is celebrating and acknowledging the achievements of the first 40 years of the Menzies Foundation…. and then working hard to create new history in Sir Robert’s name by setting in train a new strategic plan.

You will be hearing more from us in coming months about the exciting prospect of engaging with and supporting entrepreneurs in science and technology, learning from their entrepreneurial journey and developing a body of knowledge about what works in an Australian context.

Our other new foray is into the classrooms of Australia. We’d like to identify those school leaders with the capacity to dramatically improve student outcomes and give them the backing to try new things.

The first cab off the rank will be the opening of our Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholarship in Law in the second half of this year.

Finally, we are very much looking forward to the planning session planned with our Alumni Advisory Group in March.

It’s a very exciting time and we very much look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Liz Gillies
CEO, Menzies Foundation

Jopling takes top job

Peter Jopling AM QC3Peter Jopling AM QC, a respected barrister, has been elected the new Chair of the Menzies Foundation setting the stage for the Foundation to move into a new era.

Mr Jopling said his priorities would be the finalisation and implementation of the new strategic plan which has defined three strategic areas of focus:

  • Investment to identify and support the development of entrepreneurial leaders to harness and exploit new opportunities for innovation in science and technology.
  • New investment in school-based education leaders (eg. Principals) from all sectors and systems who have the capacity to dramatically improve student outcomes.
  • Continued investment in international law specialists who can help shape Australia’s response to increasingly complex global issues.

Mr Jopling said the Board will move towards a venture and catalytic model of practice so the Foundation’s fellowship program can contribute to a systematic change platform which will, amongst other things, help foster partnerships and collaborations which best harness resources for significant social impact.

“We’re committed to seeing the Foundation create impact in some important areas for Australia’s future – ensuring our entrepreneurial scientists have the opportunity to learn what works best in the Australian market and backing some of the finest teachers in the country so they can dramatically improve student outcomes.”

Read more

30 years of research excellence in Tasmania

Sir Ninian

This year the Menzies Institute for Medical Research in Tasmania marks 30 years of achievement.

For 30 years the people of Tasmania and Australia have benefitted from a centre of research excellence which is renowned for internationally significant medical research supporting healthier, longer and better lives. The Menzies Foundation has dedicated over $3.5 million over 30 years to the Menzies Institute of Medical Research with the final grant paid last year.

One of the proudest achievements of the Menzies Foundation coming up to its 40 year celebrations is the role we have played and the investment of over $9 million in the establishment of four Menzies health and medical research institutes. These institutes have grown to develop world-class reputations for their research.

Pictured above is the late and Right Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen KG, AK, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, QC, when he was Governor General of Australia, alongside Dame Pattie Menzies, at the opening of Menzies Tasmania.

Read more

Our scholars achieve amazing things

  • Rubbing shoulders with Reese Witherspoon as she takes on the male-dominated entertainment industry, Harvard Menzies Alumna, Sarah Harden, has been appointed CEO of Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine. It’s not every day you’re in the New York Times and Variety in the same week. She should probably get used to it!
  • Harvard Menzies Scholar, Professor Michael Hiscox, who is the Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs at Harvard and a leading mind on behavioural economics and nudge theory, has recently been working with the world’s largest chocolate company on its cocoa sustainability program.
  • NHMRC/Menzies Fellow Dr Misty Jenkins, at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, has been leading some research which could help safely adapt a new immunotherapy to reach hard-to-treat brain cancers.
  • Professor of English and Theatre Studies at the University of New England, Professor Anne Pender, will return to Harvard for a four month residence with the assistance of a Fulbright Scholarship to study three successful Australian authors who live in the US.

In the media

  • Michelle KerrinMichelle Kerrin, the Inaugural Menzies Indigenous Mentoring Fellow, wrote about her experience with Indigenous education and the role all parties have to play in Closing the Gap. Her story was published in The Guardian.
  • The Daily Telegraph and other News Limited media ran a story about a number of trials being conducted by NHMRC/Menzies Fellow, Professor Matthew Kiernan, and his collaborators in the fight to find a cure for MND.
  • Director of the Human Rights Law Centre, Dr Aruna Sathanapally, a Menzies Law Scholar, was quoted in The Australian, speaking about the proposed changes to the government’s controversial foreign interference laws.
  • Harvard Menzies Scholar, Professor Kim Rubenstein continued to be the go-to constitutional law expert for commentary on Australia’s ongoing constitutional issues related to the effect of section 44 on the eligibility of our politicians to sit in Parliament.
  • Harvard Menzies Scholar and MIT Assistant Professor, Tracy Slatyer, was the subject of a story about her work to solve one of the greatest mysteries in physics and also the subject of a terrific artist’s impression of her. We hope she got a copy!

One of the best years of my life

Courtney DoveAt the end of her year as the Menzies Indigenous Mentoring Fellow to the students at Melbourne Indigenous Transition School, Michelle Kerrin told us how much it all means – daunting but one of the best years of her life.

Last year’s Menzies Centenary Prize winner, Courtney Dove (pictured with her medallion), also had a similar story to tell on her own experiences living at Queen’s College at the University of Melbourne.

Read more

Passing the Menzies’ baton

Dianne and John Menzies

The nephew of Sir Robert Menzies, successful CEO, business coach and mentor, John Menzies, has joined the Menzies Foundation Board, taking the baton from Diana Menzies.

Having dedicated 10 years’ service to the Board, Diana felt it was time to step down and allow for other family input.

Diana expressed gratitude toward the people who had the vision, determination and commitment necessary to establish the Menzies Foundation, nearly 40 years ago.

“My particular interest has always been the young men and women who have been awarded scholarships and the brilliant work they do.”

Read more

Cricket tradition continues

It may not have been the greatest showing by the Australian XI, but the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, kept Sir Robert Menzies’ tradition alive when he hosted the PM’s XI at Manuka Oval in Canberra recently.

English all-rounder David Willey, took home the Menzies medallion for man of the match in the T20 game, with 79 runs off 36 balls and 3-32 with the ball.

PMs Cricket

The Prime Minister is pictured with Menzies Foundation CEO, Liz Gillies and Director, Dr John Stocker AO.

Thank you for your donation

If you would like to be an early supporter of the Menzies Foundation’s new focus areas, please consider a donation which can be organised on or offline. Donations can be made via our website, or please contact the office on +61 3 9419 5699.