The ‘Three Wise Monkeys’ #2012-0057
Resin cast of Leslie Bury, William McMahon and John Gorton caricaturised as three monkeys.
This resin cast depicts three prominent Australian political leaders: Sir Leslie Bury (1913-1986), Sir John Grey Gorton (1911-2002) and Sir William McMahon (1908-1988). Gorton and McMahon were both prime ministers (Gorton from 1968-71 and McMahon from 1971-72) and had been senior ministers in the Menzies and Holt governments. The third figure, Leslie Bury, was prominent as a senior minister under Holt, Gorton and McMahon, most notably as Treasurer (1969-71) and Foreign Affairs Minister (1971). Bury, along with McMahon and Gorton, was also a leadership contender to succeed Harold Holt but could not gather enough support in the Liberal Party. Bury is perhaps best remembered for his role in the conscription debate – during the Vietnam War, as Minister for National Service, he and army minister Phil Lynch were frequently targeted by protesters shouting ‘Lynch Bury and bury Lynch’. Bury was applauded, however, for his role in removing the ‘marriage bar’ for women in the public service, allowing women to marry and retain their employment positions.