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Liberal Party Cinema Advertisement: The Golden Age (1946)


This is a Liberal Party cinema advertisement for the 1946 federal election. It proposes that in the post-Second World War period of growing prosperity, life for ordinary men and women under the incumbent Labor government is by no means as good as it should be.

Curator’s notes

This film is one of a small collection of archival election campaign films held at the National Film and Sound Archive on behalf of the Liberal Party of Australia.

When Joseph Lyons died in 1939, after 20 days of Earle Page as caretaker prime minister, Robert Menzies was voted into the leadership position. He became prime minister, heading a minority United Australia Party government. A series of events, symptomatic of longstanding divisions in the non-Labor side of national politics, culminated in Menzies’s resignation in 1941. In the years that followed, the divisions continued to fragment. By 1944, Menzies and his supporters decided to take action. They convened a meeting and representatives of 18 non-Labor political parties and organisations attended. The meeting lasted three days and resulted in the foundation of the Liberal Party of Australia.

The federal election held on 28 September 1946 was the first to be contested by the newly formed Liberal Party. Support for the new party and membership numbers were quick to grow, but the organisation was too young to present a robust alternative to the popular Labor government of John Curtin’s successor Ben Chifley. As Professor Judith Brett, political historian of La Trobe University, stated in the ABC Radio National Hindsight series 'An Attitude of Mind and Faith’, ‘The non-Labor side of politics had to be put back together again. There was institutional, organisational building that had to happen.’ In the House of Representatives the new Liberal Party won 15 seats and the Country Party 11 seats, to the ALP’s only slightly reduced majority of 43 seats. In the Senate the Liberal and Country Party alliance won only 3 seats to Labor’s 16.