Starting in difficult conditions in 1949, the Menzies Government met and countered the economic challenges of shortages and inflation. It had to take strong deflationary measures, but given time to work its policies led on to an era of all-round expansion at a stable rate. It was not, of course, the cause of all our progress over the last decade, but it is the special achievement of the Menzies Government that it created a climate of economic flexibility and a pattern of political leadership to which Australians gave an unprecedented response.
All of you know something of the development which has come during the last ten years. It has been well told in our publication entitled "The First Ten Years." I will not here attempt to re-tell the story. I do, however, commend to you a knowledge of the development record this publication sets out, for it provides ample justification for our party's foundation and for our continuance in office. What I want to point to at this juncture is the psychological impact of an era of Liberalism on Australians, and the effect of the party's development programmes on our thinking and our national character.
Dr. White's account yesterday of the harnessing of our natural resources by that great research organisation, CSIRO, has both evoked our admiration for what has recently been done and enlivened our vision of what the future may hold. I believe we are about to enter a decade even more exciting and dynamic than the last. I repeat what the Prime Minister said last year: "If I were a young man, with all the world in front of me, I would want to be in Australia at the beginning of what I believe to be its most wonderful period of development."
...I believe there is a relationship today between political outlook and national mood. As the Liberal Party, we have shown during ten years of national government that we believe in the future greatness of this country. We set aside a system under which our annual rate of national progress was geared to unimaginative plans and quotas laid down for previous restriction-minded socialist governments. We expressed in Liberalism a philosophy and policies which go with expansion. We not only make allowance for individual enterprise, we place reliance upon it. We anticipate that with growth there will be changes, and are not upset when they come. We welcome initiative and risk-taking by the individual and have taken care not to destroy his rewards. We seek to stimulate rather than restrict, and though we must plan ahead, we consult and encourage rather than direct.
...We will have one great advantage over the next ten years in the fact that the age composition of our population will be favourable to a greater rate of expansion. We must see that our young people are matched with sufficient resources to allow them to make a maximum productive contribution.
As well as maintaining a high annual rate of migration, the Menzies Government has attracted over 2700 million worth of private foreign capital and made full use of international loan resources. It has used tax and tariff policy to encourage industrialisation, and it has consciously invested in public works at a heavy rate to balance expansion by the private sector. Although seeking loans overseas, it has financed practically all its domestic capital from revenue, and it has not saddled future generations with a heavy task of repayment.
Federal President's Address to Federal Council 17 November 1959 (A Liberal Party publication)