The Liberal Party of Australia is one of the two major Australian political parties. Founded in 1945 to replace the United Australia Party (UAP) and its predecessors, the centre-right Liberal Party competes with the centre-left Labor Party. Federally, the Liberal Party runs in a Coalition with the National Party, the Northern Territory Country Liberal Party, and Queensland Liberal branch the Liberal National Party. Except for a few short periods, the Liberal Party and its predecessors have operated in similar coalitions since the 1920s.
In Australia, the term Liberalism refers to centre-right economic liberalism. Party ideology has therefore been referred to as Liberalism, distinct from its meaning in some countries, but also as conservatism, which features strongly in party ideology. There have however long been party members who practice economic or classical liberalism without features of social conservatism, often referred to as 'small-l liberals'.
Party founder Robert Menzies, UAP Prime Minister from 1939–41 and Liberal Prime Minister from 1949–66, and John Howard, Liberal Prime Minister from 1996–2007, were Australia's two longest serving Prime Ministers. Despite its late establishment in comparison to the older Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party has spent more time in government than any other federal Australian political party.
At the federal level, the party is currently in opposition and has been led by Tony Abbott, with Julie Bishop as deputy, since the 2009 leadership spill. At the state and territory level, the Liberal Party (and its affiliated Queensland Branch the Liberal National Party) is in office in Australia's four most populous states: Colin Barnett has been Premier of Western Australia since 2008, Denis Napthine Premier of Victoria since 2013, Barry O'Farrell Premier of New South Wales since 2011, and Campbell Newman Premier of Queensland since 2012. Adam Giles is also the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory leading a Country Liberal Government since 2013. The party remains in opposition in Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia.
Leader: Tony Abbott
President: Alan Stockdale
Deputy Leader: Julie Bishop
Founded: 31 August 1945
Preceded by: United Australia Party
Youth wing: Young Liberals
September 16, 2010