Bertram Stevens, leader of the United Australia Party, 25th NSW Premier 1932 – 39.
His accountancy credentials belie an extraordinary personality. His biographical snippets are fascinating. He died poor in Concord West in 1973 though accorded a State Funeral. (I met him in 1968 in company with Frank Hardy and his Woodstock groupies.)
Stevens was the Australian representative on the Eastern Group Supply Group established to support the British war effort from the Asia-Pacific. He served in New Delhi 1941- 42. A report of his appointment in the Barrier Miner (Broken Hill) is attached; Opposition leader Forde's narky comment is notable!
By all accounts, he was a highly efficient administrator. Unaccountably - several unconfirmed explanations are on offer, including meetings with Gandhi, and contacts later with Richard Casey https://bit.ly/3jFQq59 - Stevens developed a lifelong empathy for Indians. Upon his return, he founded the India League of Australia and wrote prolifically (mostly pamphlets) about Indian politics and intra-British Empire migration and investment opportunities. In 1958, he revealed his true colours on the migration issue by openly advocating modifying the White Australia policy.
"In India, at least, there are opportunities for investment of capital collaboration on a very considerable scale. [But] It should be firmly borne in mind that trade will not solve our problems. There is [a] need for something wider in the way of collaboration. It must subserve the raising of living standards of the huge population throughout the Eastern Group. It must be political as well as economic. The fullest development can only be secured by the collaboration of the governments concerned in plans to utilise to the full, the resources of this region for the benefit of the population dwelling therein. "
Stevens was ahead of his time. He advocated the conduct of bilateral relations beyond extractive mercantilism and self-interest if such an engagement were to endure. He foreshadowed from Terra Australis the sentiment of 'mutual benefits' the stock phrase that now populates press releases on bilateral and multilateral dialogues.
The Quiz Questions was:
Australia Day - India Republic Day
Deadline: Midnight 26 January 2022
Barry O’Farrell, former Premier of New South Wales (2011-14), is Australia’s High Commissioner to India (2020 -). With his professional political background, he has taken an imaginative public approach to advance Australia’s political, economic and social interactions with India. Bilateral relations have never been better.
Question to Australian and Indian citizens:
Who was another former Australian State Premier who served in New Delhi, promoted awareness of local developments and forcefully advocated the case for Australia developing closer relations with India?
DMM will accord Recognition to:
1st Two correct Respondents from India: Invite to Dinner in New Delhi or Mussoorie. Surprise Guests.
1st Two correct Respondents from Australia: Invite to Dinner in Canberra or Sydney. Surprise Guests.
Please respond (by Midnight 26 January 2022) to:
Sir Bertram Stevens Ex-Premier to India