More than once our distinguished Leader and Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, has directed our- attention to the responsibility that falls upon all of us to ensure that this Party shall not grow old in its ideas and not lose sight of its historic mission. That mission may be defined as the preservation of individual freedom and a determination to restrain the powers of government. The threat to individual freedom and the bid to enlarge the powers of government were power- fully in the minds of those who answered Sir Robert Menzies' call for a new party in 1944.
... We can learn from our opponents that inflexibility- in political thinking is repugnant to the Australian- mind of 1965 and that for a political party to become the prisoner of a dogma is fatal to its prospects.
...We are not to be held back, nor do we want to see Australia held back, by the belief that our national destiny is to be found in a bureaucratic State where theorists are paramount Nor do we want to be held back by proclaiming that we are the party of one group or section. I think we can say without vanity that our Party has never been isolationist in outlook and when I say that I am not confining the word to external security. In every sense of the word we refuse to be an isolationist, sectional party. Indeed, nothing could be more negative and reactionary than the arrogant claim that one set of views or one political creed has a kind of divine right. I would expect every Liberal to say that the interests of the community as a whole should always prevail over the interests of any individual or any group. I have said, but it bears repeating, that we as a Party should never be afraid of new ideas. The very essence of our Liberalism is a belief in variety. And this, I suggest, raises the question of political education. By political education I do not mean political propaganda I mean informed discussion about political affairs.
... I hope you will agree with me that political education should not be written down to propaganda cliches and appeals to prejudice. Reasoned argument and informed discussion are what more and more of the electors look for and these include many who have, in the past, not seen things our way politically. More and more we should concentrate on getting our views and our argument across to people on the other side of the political fence. When we consider the fragmentation- of the Labor Party today, we should cease to regard any area as an ALP stronghold. There are breaches in the wall at every point and through them surely we can send the fresh air of new ideas.
The ground could not be more receptive. The consequences of the change from what I might call "class politics" to the politics of an affluent society cannot yet be accurately measured, but they have already created dismay among our opponents. Con- siderably more than half the electors described as "white collar workers" vote Liberal, and research and public opinion polls suggest that more than 40% of "skilled workers" vote Liberal. This is not surprising when we get down to a study of political facts. Indeed, it is too often forgotten - and some of the blame rests with us - that the Liberal outlook was responsible for the most important measures that shaped Australian social and political thinking in the early days of Federation.
...I believe that we have a continuing responsibility to think nationally rather than parochially about our Federal system of government. I say that because the size and diversity of the continent demand that our thinking should be large and unshackled. It is true, of course, that some of the sovereign powers are exercised by the Commonwealth Parliament and Government and some by the State Parliaments and Governments; but the relationship is not static - certainly not when we see the changes and develop- ments occurring in Australia Each government has its task, but all are servants of the people, and I see it as our duty to make our written constitution flexible enough to serve the interests of a nation growing at a rate unthought of a generation ago.
Indeed, when one thinks of the changes that have occurred in our material circumstances and the changes taking place under our eyes in the world about us, one must be impressed by the constant need to recruit the best available talent to the Liberal Party. What is true of industry and the professions is true of a political organisation in 1965. This is not said in a critical vein. On the Federal parliamentary level in particular we have drawn to our cause many men of conspicuous talent. On the organisational side also quiet but devoted service has been given to the Liberal Party by men and women drawn from all walks of life. But this must continue. Political organisation, not less than government, calls more and more for specialist talent. We can never have too many first-rate minds.
Federal President's address to Federal Council 12 April 1965 (A Liberal Party Publication)