40 years on – reawakening a strong, knowledgeable Australia in Menzies’ name

23-May-2018

The Menzies Foundation has used the occasion of its 40th anniversary to look back at achievements and to usher in a new era with some significant changes to its strategic direction.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the announcement of a memorial to Sir Robert Menzies by then Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser.

Menzies Foundation Chair, Peter Jopling AM QC, speaking at a 40th anniversary dinner at the Melbourne Museum, said the Menzies Foundation wanted “to re-imagine and reawaken Sir Robert’s vision for a strong, knowledgeable Australia.

“We have a 40-year track record of backing outstanding Australian leaders who are willing to tackle intransigent problems – from mental health, cancer and autism, to global human rights issues and the depletion of natural resources.

“On the occasion of our 40th anniversary we have reflected on how the Foundation can meaningfully contribute to the constructive dialogue to build a more successful nation. And it is that future we want to focus on if the Foundation’s work is to remain of value and benefit to the Australian community of the 21st century,” Mr Jopling said

The Foundation has outlined three new areas of focus: entrepreneurship in science, leadership in our schools, and guiding Australia’s response to complex global legal issues.

Mr Jopling said the Foundation was committed to raising the profile and importance of support for

Australian entrepreneurial science and technology start-ups.

“Over the next decade we will support a number of science entrepreneurs by establishing an incubator network and building a resource pipeline to support these start-ups to go to market and then to scale.

“In doing this we will build a greater understanding of what helps and hinders Australian science and technology start-ups. We will work with the science, business and government sectors to share knowledge about the opportunities, barriers and impediments in this space to help others.

“Our second area of focus is leadership in education.We aspire to dramatically improve student outcomes by enhancing leadership capability in Australia’s education sector,” Mr Jopling said.

The Foundation will soon release details of a partnership with the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.

The third area of focus sees a reshaping and modernising of the law scholarship named in honour of Sir Robert and former Governor General, High Court Justice, and Chair of the Menzies Foundation, the Right Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen.

The Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholarship in Law will enhance Australia’s capacity to grapple with complex global issues.

“We have sought to identify what are said to be the most pressing legal issues confronting Australia to ensure our scholars develop a practical capability to deal with such issues and share their knowledge widely.” Mr Jopling said.

“For the next three years, the Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholarship in Law will focus on the legal implications of cybersecurity breaches for the nation. Cybersecurity breaches have grave implications for our citizens and community, the government and business sector.We very much look forward to our scholars making an important contribution in this field of endeavour.”

Mr Jopling, who was an associate of Sir Ninian, said he would have been intrigued by the complexity of this rapidly growing international challenge. The Honourable Justice Susan Kenny, also a former associate of Sir Ninian’s will chair the scholarship selection committee. The scholarship will open for applications later in 2018.

“Like our namesake, the Foundation is committed to supporting leadership initiatives to make a difference. We will continue to strive for a stronger, more informed and knowledgeable Australia,” Mr Jopling said.

To mark the 40th anniversary, the Menzies Foundation has also released ‘Taking the lead: 40 stories of impact’ focusing on the achievements of many of its scholars and fellows as well as the significant contribution made to the establishment of the four Menzies health and medical research institutes.

From peacekeeping in Iraq to leading research into finding the cure for Motor Neurone Disease or helping parents and children on this autism spectrum by identifying their symptoms early, the Menzies Scholar and Fellows continue to make their mark as Australian leaders.

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