United Action will beat Menzies

Place Oceania: Australia
Accession Number ARTV09310
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 33.4 cm x 24.4 cm
Object type Poster
Physical description linocut on paper
Maker Fox, Len Phillips
Place made Australia
Date made c 1945-50
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953
Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Unlicensed copyright


Poster depicting a blue collar worker in overalls reaching over to grasp the caricatured figure of the Australian Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, who holds a poster with the words 'War Bans High Prices'. Menzies was Prime Minister when World War II began in 1939. In 1941 he lost the confidence of members of Cabinet and his party and was forced to resign. As an Opposition backbencher during the war years, he helped create the Liberal Party and became Leader of the Opposition in 1946. At the 1949 federal election, he defeated Ben Chifley's Labor Party and once again became Australia's Prime Minister. Menzies' second period as Prime Minister laid the foundations for 22 consecutive years in government for the Liberal Country Party Coalition. Menzies was often characterised as an extreme monarchist and 'British to his bootstraps', but as Prime Minister he maintained Australia's strong defence alliance with the United States. During his second period in office the ANZUS and SEATO treaties were signed, Australian troops were sent to support US-led forces in Korea, and Australia made its first commitment of combat forces to Vietnam. Len Fox (1905-2004) was a well known writer and activist. In 1933 he witnessed the hunger marches and the effects of the Depression and began to develop an interest in Communism and the work of Marx, Engels and Lenin. In 1934 he returned to Australia and joined the Movement Against War and Fascism. The following year he joined the Communist Party and in 1940 moved to Sydney where he wrote for the weekly left newspaper, 'Progress' and subsequently wrote for the journals 'Tribune' and 'Common Cause'. In 1956-57 he took time off from the paper to travel to North Vietnam , with his wife, the well-known playwright, Mona Brand, to help the North Vietnamese government with English language education and translation. He returned to Australia and took over editorship of the 'Common Cause'. He was also a painter and poet and a long time campaigner for Aboriginal people's rights.