The Liberal Party of Australia was founded in 1944 by Robert Menzies, then leader of the United Australia Party, following various incarnations of the main non-Labor parties. Menzies went on to lead the Liberal Party for 17 years before retiring from politics in 1966.
In 1949 the Liberal Party, in coalition with the Country Party, was elected into federal office. It capitalised on the conservatism of the post-war period and the growing fear of communism, campaigning to ban the Communist Party of Australia. The Liberal Party remained in office for the next 23 years.
Federal success was eventually replicated at state level, and in 1969-1970 the Liberal Party was in government either alone or in coalition throughout the country. In 1996 the Liberal Party was re-elected into federal office, in coalition with The Nationals, and governed until 2007.