1950 – Menzies government

Members of 1950 Cabinet

The 1950 notebooks

Nine Cabinet notebooks were created in 1950. The notebooks belong to series A11099. This series contains Cabinet notebooks dating from 1950 to 1995, divided into sets that appear to correspond with changes in government.

Digitised copies of the original Cabinet notebooks can be viewed online in our collection database RecordSearch. The links in the table below will take you to the item description page in RecordSearch for each noteboook. Once in RecordSearch, click on the 'View digital copy' icon to browse the notebook.

Submissions, decisions and other records


Cabinet considered over 240 submissions in 1950. Submissions and related decisions are held in series A4639.


Although most Cabinet business was conducted on the basis of submissions, the Prime Minister could decide to raise, or allow a colleague to raise, a matter without submission. The Cabinet decision itself is the only formal record of such deliberations. Cabinet made over 100 decisions without submission in 1950. Decisions without submission are held in series A4931.

Cabinet committee papers

Cabinet Committees were formally established by Prime Minister Robert Menzies in 1950. Cabinet Committees considered more routine matters, which relieved Cabinet of business of lesser importance and assisted Cabinet to make decisions more expeditiously.

There were two types of Committees - Standing Committees and Ad-Hoc Committees. Standing Committees were designed to handle problems which 'engage the collective responsibility' of the Full Cabinet. Ad Hoc Committees were usually established at the direction of the Cabinet or the Prime Minister to handle a specific question. Once the matter was finalised the Ad Hoc Committee was dissolved.

Cabinet Committee papers from 1950 are not incorporated into the sequence of records of the full Cabinet as occurs later. Rather they are held separately in series A4933.

In 1950 the Committees of Cabinet were as follows.

List of committee names and abbreviations

Ad HocAH
Civil AviationCA
Civil Aviation Engineering WorksCAEW
Conditions of the Defence Forces 1951/1952CDF51
Commonwealth Public ServicesCPS
Commonwealth WorksCW
Development of CanberraDC
Development of External TerritoriesDET
Defence ForcesDF
Darwin Harbour FacilitiesDH
Department of InformationDOI
Economic PolicyEP
Ex-Servicemen’s CommitteeEXS
Foreign AffairsFA
Flax IndustryFI
Flood ReliefFR
Industry and DevelopmentID
Industrial RelationsIR
Jubilee CelebrationsJC
Legislative ProgrammeLP
Navigation ActNA
National Health ServicesNHS
National ServiceNS
National Service BillNSB
Overseas Commercial RelationsOCR
Overseas Commercial Relations (Dollar Receipts)OCR(A)
Overseas Commercial Relations (ITO & GATT)OCR(B)
Overseas Commercial Relations (Oil)OCR(C)
Overseas Commercial Relations (Treaty of Friendship)OCR(D)
Post Joint-Organisation Marketing of WoolPJO
Production and Marketing of Primary ProductsPMPP
Prisoner-of-War SubsistencePOW
Purchase of Second-hand ShipsPS
Rehabilitation of Post Office ServicesRPOS
Aid to South East AsiaSEA
Salaries of Permanent HeadsSPH
Sales TaxST
Social ServicesSS
Transport PolicyTP
USA Wool DelegationWD
Wool Tax LegislationWL

Cabinet Secretariat files

Files created by the Cabinet Secretariat, known as ‘C’ files, are held in series A4940. These files contain the original submissions, briefing papers, decisions, and background papers such as departmental advice, and exchanges between officials and Ministers not included in the formal Cabinet papers.

Fourth Menzies Ministry

The fourth Menzies Ministry was in place from 19 December 1949 to 11 May 1951.

In 1950 the Cabinet consisted of the following Ministers.

MENZIES, The Right Hon. Robert GordonPrime Minister
FADDEN, The Right Hon. ArthurTreasurer
HARRISON, The Hon. Eric JohnMinister for the Interior
Resident Minister in the UK
HOLT, The Hon. HaroldMinister for Labor and National Service Minister for Immigration
McEWEN, The Hon. JohnMinister for Commerce and Agriculture
SPENDER, The Hon. Percy ClaudeMinister for External Affairs and External Territories
CASEY, The Right Hon. Richard GardinerMinister for National Development
Minister for Works and Housing
McBRIDE, The Hon. Philip AlbertMinister for Defence
PAGE, The Right Hon. Earle Christmas GraftonMinister for Health
O’SULLIVAN, The Hon. NeilMinister for Trade and Customs
McLEAY, The Hon. GeorgeMinister for Fuel, Shipping and Transport
WHITE, The Hon. Thomas WalterMinister for Air and Civil Aviation
ANTHONY, The Hon. Hubert LawrencePostmaster-General
Acting Minister for the Interior
FRANCIS, The Hon. JosiahMinister for the Army
Minister for the Navy
SPICER, The Hon. John ArmstrongAttorney-General
LYONS, The Hon. Dame EnidVice President of the Executive Council
SPOONER, The Hon. William HenryMinister for Social Services
COOPER, The Hon. Walter JacksonMinister for Repatriation
BEALE, The Hon. Oliver HowardMinister for Supply

Read about the events and issues that made the news in 1950.

Cabinet notebooks 1950

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019