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Political Parties

The Liberal Party of Australia (LP)


The present Liberal Party developed from an alliance of various free enterprise parties and was formally established in 1944 by Robert Menzies. It has a record of governing many times federally and in most States.

Interests represented:

Robert Menzies founded the Liberal Party to represent what he called 'the forgotten people': office workers, shopkeepers and small business owners who supported themselves and their families and did not look to governments for assistance. Today, the membership is drawn from a broad cross-section of the community and financial support is provided by party branches, professional and business people and business enterprises. Strongest electoral support comes from metropolitan residential suburbs and districts with high levels of income and property ownership. In more recent years the Liberal Party has successfully attracted broader support from a non-traditional constituency: wage earners in blue-collar occupations with more conservative views about society.


The Liberal Party of Australia promotes 'free enterprise' and individual liberty, that is, the idea that businesses and individuals should be free to pursue their interests and develop wealth with limited government controls to ensure fair dealing. It argues that the greatest benefits will flow to all citizens if governments encourage business, restrict intervention and keep services limited to helping those in the community with most need while encouraging self-reliance.


The Liberal Party consists of its seven State and Territory (ACT) Divisions (excluding the Northern Territory) which are independent of one another, except at the federal or national level where they are proportionally represented on the Federal Council. The Federal Council formulates the party's Federal Platform, a non-binding statement of beliefs and principles, which guides policies pursued by the federal parliamentary party. The Federal Executive, in part derived from the Federal Council, administers the federal functions of the party. Members of the Liberal Party are pre-selected by the State and Territory Divisions as candidates for elections. The leaders of the parliamentary parties are elected by the members of the parliamentary party in that parliament.

In the Parliaments:

The Liberal Party is represented in most State and Territory Parliaments as well as the Federal Parliament. The Party has formed government in all of these parliaments since its foundation, but usually with the support of a coalition party such as the Nationals. Since the Second World War, the Liberal Party has governed in coalition with the Nationals (formerly the Australian Country and then the National Party) on each occasion that it has been elected to government at the federal level: 1949–1966 (led by RG Menzies); 1966–1967 (led by HE Holt); 1968–1971(led by JG Gorton); 1971–1972 (led by W McMahon); 1975–1983 (led by JM Fraser); and 1996–2007 (led by JW Howard).

The Liberal Party of Australia website

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