R G Menzies
Character: Robert Gordon Menzies
You have been subpoenaed to appear before the Royal Commission on Espionage. A subpoena is a formal written order issued by a court commanding a person to appear under penalty as a witness in a trial or an inquiry such as a Royal Commission.
All three members of the group will work closely together to prepare for the Character to appear before the Royal Commission. This will involve:
Preparing a speech (testimony) which outlines, from your point of view:
who you are;
- your views on communism and the USSR (Soviet Union);
- the extent of espionage within Australia;
- your actions in the Petrov Affair: and
your understanding of the response of Australians to communism and the events of the Petrov Affair.
Preparing evidence (facts, documents etc) that supports your case.
You will be called when the Royal Commissioners are ready for you.
Be prepared to answer any questions from the Royal Commissioners especially about Soviet espionage in Australia.
Prime Minister, Robert Gordon Menzies, was often referred to as Bob Menzies.
Prime Minister Menzies and Colonel Spry favoured a Royal Commission on Espionage for the following reasons:
Precedent: After the Gouzenko defection in Canada, the Canadian Government had established a Royal Commission which had eventually produced an outstanding report on Soviet espionage in Canada and was extremely highly regarded inside ASIO.
Legal necessity: Under the statue of its establishment ASIO had been given no legal power to require of anyone that they must speak to its officers or answer their questions. By agreement with Menzies, it was clear that the Royal Commissions Act could be amended to give it the power of subpoena.
Public education: That the Royal Commission on Espionage would alert Australians to the reality and danger of Soviet espionage.
Robert Manne, The Petrov Affair, 1987
- Old Parliament House Petrov Affair website – The Politicians
- Museum of Australian Democracy’s Prime ministers of Australia website
- National Archives of Australia Prime Minister’s website – Robert Menzies
- Menzies Virtual Museum. Look especially at ‘The Petrov Spy Case’, R G Menzies
- The National Archives of Australia, The Petrov Affair – Menzies the Prime Minister
- The Age, ‘If a terrorist defected’ April 5 2004 by Robert Manne
- ABC, Australians – Robert Menzies