Success, failure and resilience: the formative years of Robert Menzies | The Canberra Times

Reading between the lines, I think that Menzies was, to some extent, taken in by Curtin. Menzies was certainly on to Chifley’s methods, for he accuses him-with some justice, I think-of “a sort of nave vanity; that he hoped to be underestimated, with advantage”. Yet was Curtin not also playing a game of his kind; one that he, too, played to his advantage? I hesitate to make too much of modern comparisons, but I’d suggest that the prime ministership fell to John Curtin in 1941 in a manner that, in one respect, bears some comparison with how it fell to Scott Morrison in 2018. The precious parcel ended up in the hands of Curtin, of Morrison, but mysteriously neither appeared to have had anything to do with putting it there. John Edwards challenges the interpretation of Curtin as the reluctant leader, and I am inclined to agree with him. The reluctant leader is part of the myth of “Saint Jack”, and Curtin played it to his advantage, just as the mythmakers have subsequently played it to the advantage of his reputation.