In 1949 the Liberals, in coalition with the Country Party, were first
elected to national government. Sir Robert Menzies went on to lead
Australia and the Liberal Party for 17 years, before he retired from
politics in 1966. The Menzies period is recognised as a "golden era" in
Australia’s history with widespread prosperity, a flourishing economy and
work for all.
Initiatives of this period:
high living standards for all Australians and the level of consumer goods per head (cars, radios etc) rose dramatically
the ratio of home owners rose from little over 50% to around 75% of the population in a decade
great progress in industry, manufacturing output, primary industry production and mineral development
Australia achieved a position in the world’s top ten trading nations
consistent spending on defence programmes
the arrival of 1 ¼ million immigrants in ten years
introduction of a succession of social security measures such as creating the pensioner medical and free medicines service
expansion of support for education programmes
introduction of needed improvements such as the national divorce laws
the introduction of child endowment for the first child
free medical treatment for pensioners and dependants
free milk to school children
abolished the land and entertainment tax
introduced Medical Benefits Scheme, and introduce free "life-saving" drugs for the needy
negotiations with respect to the ANZUS treaty, to join Australia, New Zealand and the United States in a defence alliance pact
negotiations with respect to the South East Asian Treaty Organisation, SEATO
promoter of Columbo Plan assisting South East Asian nations
reciprocity in social security with United Kingdom
encouraged growth of Canberra as a national capital
introduced Homes for Aged Scheme
introduced capital grants to mental hospitals and aid for teaching hospitals
tax deductions introduced for school fees and allied expenditure
introduced National Health Scheme based on self-help, providing cover for all citizens
voted in the international forum to restrict nuclear
completed rail standardisation between Sydney and Melbourne and funded other standardisation works
completed dams including Chowilla Dam in SA and Blowering Dam in NSW
tax concessions introduced for married pensioners
development of Beef Roads Scheme to develop inland Australia
special grants introduced for anti-tuberculosis campaigns
Department of Housing, Home Savings Grants Scheme and Housing Loans
Insurance Corporation to help more Australians own their own home
establishment of sheltered workshops
introduced Aged Pensioners Home Assistance Scheme
introduced invalid pensions
established Australian Universities Commission
introduction of Commonwealth scholarships for secondary schools as means of introducing State Aid to all schools
The first New South Wales Liberal/Country Government was elected to office
on 1 May 1965 under the leadership of Sir Robert Askin. The New South Wales
Liberal/National Coalition was re-elected to government in three successive
State elections and remained in government until 1 May 1976. Sir Robert Askin
retired on 3 January 1975. The following Premiers of the New South Wales
Liberal/Country Government were Tom Lewis and then Eric Willis. Under the
premiership of these individuals, the Liberal Government progressed in a
variety of activities, including:
The introduction of Australia's first pollution control legislation.
Australia's first consumer protection legislation.
The construction of the Eastern Suburbs Railway.
The establishment of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The establishment of the NSW Law Reform Commission.
Completion of the Sydney Opera House.
The establishment of the first Women's Advisory Board and Ethnic Affairs Bureau.
The abolition of death duties.
Free school transport.
The introduction of Colleges of Advanced Education.
The introduction of four weeks annual leave.
The second New South Wales Liberal/National Government was elected to office on
19 March 1988 under the leadership of Nick Greiner. With the resignation of Premier
Nick Greiner on 24 June 1992, John Fahey was elected to the premiership. The Greiner
and Fahey Governments presided over a period of substantial structural reform that
traversed industrial relations, State finances and micro-economic reform in many
State utilities. Some of the achievements of the Greiner and Fahey Governments
Selective High Schools.
Last payment on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
The successful bid for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
The Parramatta River Cat.
The appointment of the first Minister for the Status of Women.
The launch of the New South Wales Senior's Card.
The establishment of the Office of Ageing and the Senior's Media Network to combat negative stereotypes about ageing.
The abolition of compulsory retirement.
The passage of the Disability Services Act to guarantee the rights of all disabled people in New South Wales.
The establishment of the Environment Protection Authority to protect and improve the State's environment.
Prime Minister Robert Menzies retired on the 20th January 1966. For
the next six years the Liberal/National Government was led by Prime
Ministers Harold Holt, John Gorton and William McMahon.
In this period, the advances of the Menzies period were consolidated
and the Liberal Governments moved ahead in the areas of traditional
Liberal concern – health, education and welfare.
The period is significant for a number of reasons, including foreign
policy and defence initiatives, commitment to the aboriginal people
and involvement with the rapidly changing world of technology, energy
conservation and the environment.
Initiatives of the period:
over half the existing homes in Australia were constructed since 1949
urban and regional development programmes begun
introduction of Department of Education and Science to take account of new technology
support for water conservation projects
emphasis on development of Northern Australia with new railways, roads and ports and continued funding for beef roads
rapid expansion and support for tourist industry
of full employment, high growth rates, exports doubled over the decade
to 1969, and the work force rose over a million in the same period
continuation of beneficial
social security policies (eg assistance to sheltered workshops,
handicapped schools, etc) and health policies (eg grants to facilitate
home nursing care)
continuation of the heavy migration programme and provision of services (eg English language courses) for new citizens
in the fields of the Arts (eg established the Australian Council for
Arts and the Australian Film and Television Corporation)
increased grants for Aboriginal programmes
establishment of energy advisory and environmental bodies
new teacher training colleges funded
expansion of assistance to secondary schools for science laboratories
social service benefits provided to mentally retarded
assistance to deserted wives introduced
assistance scheme for pensioners wanting hearing aids introduced
Aboriginal Affairs Office established along with Council for Aboriginal Affairs
legislation introduced to protect against unfair corporate takeover activity
established Institute of Marine Science
assistance to institutions training handicapped people
Meals on Wheels assisted
introduction of language courses for migrants
aid for the establishment of Ord River Scheme
established twelve mile fishing zone
carriage of the referendum allowing aboriginals to be regarded as full citizens
Gordon River irrigation and conservation
funding of housing support for young widows scheme
established Bureau of Transport Economics in order to analyse costs of transport facilities