This is the latest edition of the Menzies Brief - Vol 19, No. 5, 2016
A message from the President
Hands up for the Dimboola road trip
For over 20 years the MMSA and the Menzies Foundation have awarded the Menzies Centenary Prize of $10,000 to contribute to tertiary education costs of a Year 12 student at Dimboola Secondary College in Victoria.
The prize was first awarded in 1994 to mark the centenary of Sir Robert Menzies’ birth in nearby Jeparit.
Each year one Menzies scholar and the Menzies Foundation team head out on a road trip to Dimboola to attend the school’s awards night and present the prize. Having heard the stories of the alumni who had gone before me, I was inspired and only too happy to put my hand up for this honour in 2014. I had a wonderful time.
The school was established in 1924 to honour those who fought in World War 1 – it is a beautiful school set on a hill overlooking Dimboola and the Little Desert.
In these small, struggling, western Victorian towns, it is wonderful to see the school and community spirit in action and see the ambition and promise of the students and their families.
Needless to say, we were treated like royalty for our stay. I had the privilege of making a short speech at the school presentation night and then to meet the families and locals afterwards. You become keenly aware of what a difference it can make for a young student to have additional funds to contribute towards their first couple of years studying a long way from home.
But it’s not just about the prize; it can be really inspiring for these kids to hear about how our studies have helped shape who we are and what we achieve.
We are putting out the call for a scholar to attend this year’s Menzies Centenary Prize presentation and represent the MMSA at Dimboola on Thursday 15 December. If you would like to share in this experience, please contact Sarah Hardy or Kate Nolan at the Foundation.
I recognise it is a big commitment – essentially two days away from the office or uni – but I promise you it will be worth it. Your employer may have volunteer leave which could be used for this purpose. It should really be seen as just one way we can give back and encourage some other young people to follow their study plans as potential future leaders….remembering Australia’s longest serving prime minister started his scholarship journey just down the road.
Dimboola is approximately 3 and a half hours’ drive from Melbourne and four and a half hours from Adelaide. The Foundation will meet your travel costs (Law Scholar Kate Peterson travelled from Sydney to make this trip last year) but clearly Victorian or South Australian scholars might be better placed to get there.
This year the trip will have additional signficance with the opening of Menzies Discovery Park in Jeparit the following morning.
The Foundation team will leave from Melbourne on the morning of Thursday 15 December and head back on the afternoon of Friday 16 December.
I can give my personal recommendation that this is a trip you will always remember.
Dr Josie Barbaro President, Menzies Memorial Scholars’ Association
2017 Menzies Scholarships awarded
Law and International Law
The newly awarded 2017 Menzies Scholar in Law and the Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholar in International Law share an interest in refugee issues but might be taking their careers in slightly different directions as they head to the UK next year.
2017 Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholar in International Law, Lyndon Goddard, of Sydney, says he would like to contribute to the development of refugee policy and creating greater awareness of Australia’s international legal obligations when he returns from studying a Master of Laws at Cambridge. Lyndon is currently working with King & Wood Mallesons.
Melbourne’s Nathan Van Wees, the 2017 Sir Robert Menzies Scholar in Law, who topped his year of 400 at Monash University, has a few plans after he completes his BCL at Oxford next year. Nathan would like to work in academia by adding to the theoretical frameworks for interpreting Australian legislation. He would also like to work as a barrister to put this understanding into practice. Nathan is working at the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Olsen Garland, the 2017 Menzies Scholar in Engineering, has some disruptive energy ideas to shake up the energy sector after he completes his MBA at the London Business School. He wants to help bring cheaper, more efficient, zero-emission electricity to markets at home and abroad by combining business nous with his electrical engineering skills.
Olsen is the first Menzies Scholar in Engineering from the University of Newcastle, having already won the University Medal and several other prestigious academic awards as he completed an electrical engineering degree with first class honours.
The Menzies Foundation has announced a new partnership with the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS) to offer the Sir Robert Menzies Indigenous Mentoring Fellowship valued at $20,000 for one year.
MITS is a residential transition school in Melbourne, for Indigenous students from remote and regional communities.
Every year, one young Indigenous leader will receive the Fellowship, enabling them to provide essential mentoring, peer support, and cultural connection to MITS students on a regular basis throughout the school year, whilst undertaking their own study.
2013 Menzies Law Scholar, David Heaton, is on the Board of MITS.
Image courtesy of Annette Ruzicka.
Menzies annual event takes shape – have you RSVP’d?
We are putting the final touches on all of the events to celebrate our new scholars and the Menzies Alumni at Pier One in Sydney on 17 November.
If you haven’t yet RSVP’d please get back to us as soon as possible – you can RSVP via this link.
One of Australia’s most respected journalists and communicators, Narelle Hooper (pictured), is our guest speaker and her deep understanding of what really makes our leaders, companies and the economy tick, will help give us an insight into leadership for the future.
Narelle is the former editor of the Australian Financial Review's BOSS Magazine, a member of the Walkley Foundation advisory board and the board of the Documentary Australia Foundation. Narelle has interviewed Australia's top CEOs and business leaders and thinkers from around the world and is the author of “New Women, New Men, New Economy”, released last year.
Community Grants We’re very excited to be announcing the recipients of the Menzies Alumni Community Leadership Grants at the evening event too. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter a submission; there was a terrific response. The successful community projects will be revealed on the night!
As with all first-time grant programs, we’ve learnt through the process and will be making some modifications to the criteria for next year. In the meantime, a panel of six, which included three scholars and three of the Menzies Foundation team, awarded grants to projects which best met the intent of the program.
If you have any feedback on the process or the criteria, please send it through to Kate Nolan.
Hosting Baroness Amos
A handfu of our Melbourne scholars and Menzies Foundation Board Directors were lucky enough to spend an hour or so having morning tea with Baroness Valerie Amos CH PC, Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, before she delivered the annual Menzies Oration on Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.
And even more lucky scholars attended the Oration dinner afterwards at the University of Melbourne Law School where they heard some incredible insights from Baroness Amos’ time at the UN, when she was the Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs.
You can read the full Oration on preparing global citizens and protecting freedom of speech: the role of universities, here.
Our scholars do amazing things
The smartphone app which helps parents identify the early signs of autism, ASDetect, developed by 2006 Menzies Scholar in Allied Health, Dr Josephine Barbaro, was one of the 10 Australian finalists in the Google Impact Challenge. The award of $250,000 for the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University will mean the app can be translated into Mandarin. The app also won a national iAward for Research and Development Project of the year.
1991 Menzies Scholar in Medicine, Professor Bill Rawlinson AM, one of the world’s leading researchers into the cause and prevention of Congenital CMV (the most common viral and infectious cause of congenital disability in newborns) has just been elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. He joins other Menzies Alumni, Professor Matthew Kiernan (one of the leading researchers into Motor Neurone Disease), Professor Jamie Vandenberg from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Centre, and Professor Robyn O’HehirAO, who is leading research into a peanut allergy vaccine.
Professor Vandenberg (1989 Menzies Scholar in Medicine) has also been announced as one of the recipients of an NHMRC Research Fellowship valued at over $800,000 to conduct research on sudden cardiac arrest: improving detection of patients at risk. More on the NHMRC research recipients soon!
Composer, teacher and 2001 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Nicholas Vines, was in Boston for the performance of his music and libretto as part of the 10th anniversary production of Guerilla Opera’s Loose, Wet and Perforated.
1993 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Professor Esther Charlesworth will celebrate a decade of humanitarian projects for Architects Without Frontiers (the organisation she established) on 22 November, with a fundraising event featuring Julian Burnside AO.
For Mental Health Week, 2003 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Dr Kerry Proctor, talked about her experiences in implementing programs that work to help reduce the instances of bullying towards same-sex attracted young people and the potential impacts of a plebiscite on marriage equality.
1985 Menzies Scholar in Law, Justice Susan Kenny of the Federal Court had some advice for potential Menzies Law scholars.
In the media
2008 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow in Medicine, Dr Misty Jenkins, was named as one of the Westpac 100 Women of Influence.
Never one to shy away from the controversial issues, Medical ethicist and 1994 Menzies Scholar in Medicine, Professor Julian Savalescu, gave his thoughts to the ABC on whether doctors should have the right to conscientiously object.
1994 Menzies Scholar in Law, Dominique Hogan-Doran, was named Barrister of the Year at the Lawyers’ Weekly Australian Law Awards.
Theoretical physicist at MIT and 2006 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Dr Tracey Slatyer, did a Q&A with Quanta Magazine about dark matter and her fascinating work.
Another Harvard Menzies Alumna (2002), Alexandra West, was appointed as the first manager of innovation and strategy with Cbus.
2015 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Matthew Tyler, has been published in Inside Story on Pay for Success contracting to improve the effectiveness of social services in Australia.
Menzies CEO visits US scholars
Menzies Foundation CEO, Sarah Hardy, has recently returned from the United States where she caught up with a number of our scholars as she started a course on Fundraising at Harvard University.
Sarah met with our first ever Menzies Scholar in Law, Sarah Beshar (1982), Bob Anderson (1997 NHMRC/RG Menzies Scholar in Medicine), Simon Hannaford (1987 Menzies Scholar in Law), and Alexis Whitton (2015 NHMRC/RG Menzies Scholar in Medicine).
She also had the opportunity to meet the class of 2015 and 2016 Harvard Menzies Scholars; Patrick Mayoh, Sibella Matthews, Nick Gattas, Matt Tyler and Andrew Thomas (pictured).
“It’s one of the most joyous parts of my role to meet with the Menzies Scholars, hear their stories and find out what incredible challenge they are hoping to tackle next. They are all so different, at varying stages of their career and with different passions. But they have one thing in common; the vision and drive to do things better,” Sarah said.
“It was a great opportunity to hear from some of our earliest law scholars who now live in New York (Simon and Sarah) and give them an update on the work of the Foundation. It’s heartening to hear that even though they live so far away they still keep up with Menzies Foundation news.”
The Fundraising course continues through to May, so with any luck Sarah will again be able to make contact with some of the Menzies Scholars living in the US.
Menzies Scholar Spotlight
2008 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Associate Professor Anne-Marie Hill, is a Master of Physiotherapy, completed her PhD on the prevention of in-hospital falls, and heads up a large research team at Curtin University in Perth. Anne-Marie is also an active member of the Menzies Alumni Advisory Group and would love to hear directly from any other Menzies Scholars in WA who’d like to catch up or discuss issues of importance to the Foundation. Her contact details are below this story.
What is your job? I am a now an Associate Professor in Research at Curtin University working in the field of gerontology, in particular falls prevention. I work with a large research team that is based right around Australia.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your work? Working as part of a national research team and feeling we are making a difference – speaking with older participants in research projects who are tremendously pleased at improvements they have been able to make is really fantastic.
Who has influenced your career? How? My mentor, Professor Terry Haines, and close research colleague, Dr Steven McPhail, have provided me with wonderful inspiration to work to improve outcomes for older people and to advance much needed research in our field. They are always on the phone with good ideas and assistance!
Who provides you with inspiration? From a personal perspective all the older people I have treated over many years were always so supportive of me and encouraged me to do research in the field. They kept me going when problems arose!
How has the Menzies Scholarship helped you? The Menzies scholarship was an exciting event which assisted me to focus on achieving high research goals. I think looking back it provided a ‘turbo boost’ to my research pathway. The Menzies Foundation has been instrumental in building the research capacity of Allied Health both in Australia and internationally, which is wonderful as it allows us to improve the health care we offer to all Australians.
What is the book that has influenced you the most? Reading is a passion of mine and it’s hard to pick one book – but I have to say that I have re-read all of Dorothy Sayers’ books till they have fallen apart and luckily now have them all on Kindle!
What are your passions outside of work? I love gardening and swimming and most of all my five grandchildren!
How do you describe leadership? I think a leader is someone who has a vision of what could be achieved and is willing to take the difficult steps first, and then inspire and support others to do the same. I think you can never demand people follow you as a leader, you have to inspire people to want to walk with you to achieve outstanding goals.
If you were Prime Minister of Australia, what would you do first? I would have a national day dedicated to celebrating the Indigenous cultures in Australia and provide committed ongoing funding and support services for all indigenous communities to work with their young people so that a sense of hope is generated for our Indigenous Australian young people.
The Hon Linda Burney MP, shadow Minister for Human Services, will deliver the 2016 Menzies Oration on Friday 18 November at the Darwin Convention Centre for the Menzies School of Health Research. The first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Australian House of Representatives will deliver the Oration on ‘Truth Telling and Generosity: Healing the Heart of a Nation’.
Menzies Health Institute Queensland has celebrated its first year with an event at the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University. Director of the Menzies Health Institute Queensland and newly appointed Pro Vice Chancellor Health at Griffith, Professor Sheena Reilly, acknowledged the role of the Foundation in helping shape the direction for Menzies HIQ and said the focus would continue to be about the translation of research which makes a difference in people’s lives and improves health and wellbeing. Take a look at this great video about MHIQ’s work.
Menzies Institute of Medical Research in Hobart hosted the 2016 Menzies Debate on the Stem Cell Revolution, more hype than hope? Over 220 people attended to hear from some of the best stem cell researchers in the country including; Associate Professor Tracey Dickson, Menzies Deputy Director and leader of the Neurodegenerative Diseases/Brain Injury research theme at Menzies, Dr Kaylene Young, Menzies neuroscientist and winner of the 2014 Metcalf Prize for Stem Cell Research and Associate Professor Alex Hewitt, Menzies/School of Medicine clinician and researcher in Ophthalmology, winner of the 2015 NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship Award. Pictured is Professor Martin Pera from Stem Cells Australia and the University of Melbourne.
4 November – Menzies UK Scholars’ Dinner, House of Lords, London
17 November – Menzies Foundation Board meeting, Sydney
17 November – Menzies Scholarship awards and MMSA AGM, Pier One, Sydney
18 November – Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, 2016 Oration featuring the Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services
15 December – Menzies Centenary Prize presentation to Andrew King, Dimboola Memorial Secondary College.
16 December – Official opening Menzies Discovery Park, Jeparit Victoria.
Thank you to our scholarship panels
A very big thank you to the Menzies Scholars who have taken part in the latest round of scholar evaluations either as reviewers or panel members.
This is an important way to get involved with the work of the Foundation and to get a first look at the talent coming through. It is a very big help to the Foundation to ensure we continue to have a high standard for our scholarships.
If you would like to be involved in future years, please contact Pam Shearman.
Does your CV and LinkedIn profile list your Menzies scholarship or link to the Menzies Foundation LinkedIn page? It would be great for us if it did! #justahint #profilebuilding