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Liberal Party Cinema Advertisement: The House that You Built (1949)


This is a Liberal Party cinema advertisement for the 1949 federal election. It presents the election as a choice for the electorate between ‘the socialist way of life’ offered by the Labor Party and the ‘free democratic way of life’ offered by the Liberal Party.

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 the Liberal Party lost the 1946 federal election, there were some in the newly formed party who sought to remove Robert Menzies as leader. But in the years immediately following, as the early stages of the Cold War began to manifest globally, Menzies’s popularity with the Australian electorate increased dramatically. He had a genuine fear of communism and his professed determination to fight it on all fronts garnered support from the growing middle class and increasingly prosperous working class. In the meantime the serving Chifley government was experiencing setbacks. A string of significant difficulties arose for Chifley, among them his failed attempt at nationalising the banking system and his unsuccessful handling of a long and damaging coal strike.

The nation went to the polls on 10 December 1949. The vote gave Robert Menzies his second and more illustrious period as prime minister and transformed the former Opposition’s minority of 40 per cent to a majority of 60 per cent in the House of Representatives. In the House, the Liberal Party won 55 seats, the Country Party 19 seats and the ALP 47 seats. In the Senate, the Liberal-Country Party Coalition won 23 seats to Labor’s 19.