Portrait menzies 1941

Robert Menzies

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    World War One

    World War One, also known as the Great War, was fought across Europe. Menzies did not enlist, and later in his career was criticised for this.
  • Prime Minister

    Menzies is sworn in as the 12th Primie minister of Australia, as leader of the United Australia Party.
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    World War Two

    World War Two is fought across Europe and Asia. It directly impacts Australia, with Darwin, Sydney, Newcastle and Broome all being bombed during this time. More bombs were dropped on Darwin then on Pearl Harbour.
  • Menzies Resigns

    As a result of dissent within the party and dissatisfaction from the country, Menzies resign as leader of the United Australia Party and Prime Minister.
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    Liberal Party formed

    Menzies supports of a new political party, The LIberal Party. It is a combination of United Australia Party members and 17 other non-labor party members. He is later elected leader of this party, and contests the next election.
  • Menzies re-elected

    Eight years after resigning, Menzies is re-elected as Prime Minster as leader of the newly formed Liberal Party. This is the beginning of a 16 year term in office.
  • Communist Party Dissolution Bill

    Menzies is sucessful in getting the Communist Party Dissolution Bill passed by Parliament.
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    Korean War

    Australia becomes involved in the Korean War, backing US interests. Despite being told that Australian Troops would only be partaking in UN operations, in reality Australia was being sent to support the US.
  • Communist Party Dissolution Bill Challeneged.

    The Communist PArty Dissolution Bill is challenged in the High Court of Australia. On this day it was found to be unconstitutional, and overturned. It was decided that the party could not be banned during a period of peace.
  • Menzies re-elected - second consecutive term

  • Budget Problems

    Menzies puts a 'horror budget' into practice, trying to curb huge inflation and economic booms that threatened to collapse the economy.
  • Communist Referendum

    Menzies put the decision about wether to ban the Communist Party to the people through a referendum, asking to change the consititution to allow a political party to be banned outside of war years. It was narrowly defeated.
  • ANZUS Treaty

    The security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States, signed in Canberra on 1st September 1951 comes into force. Aimed at maingaining peace in the Pacific, the treaty remained in place until 1986 after a dispute over nuclear weapons between New Zealand and the United States.
  • Petrovs Defect

    Vladimir Petrov defects to Australia followed a week later by his wife, Evdokia Petrov. This had far reaching consequences for Australian politics, including almost destroying the Labor Party, and leaving the Liberal Party in power for another decade.
  • Menzies re-elected - Third consecutive term


    The creation of the South East Asian Treaty Organisation was aimes at defending Asia and the South West Pacific from communism. It included Australia, Britain, France, New Sealand, Pakistan, the Phillipines, Thailand and the United States. It was in place until 1977.
  • Menzies re-elected - Fourth consecutive term

  • Department of Trade

    In January 1956, Menzies announced the creation of a new Department of Trade. Deputy leader of the Country Party, John McEwen, was given charge of the portfolio. Over the following years, and with Menzies’ strong support, McEwen negotiated key bilateral trade agreements (starting with the United Kingdom and Japan in 1956) to boost Australia’s export earnings. Such trade agreements characterised trade policy in the later years of the Menzies government.
  • Budget Problems #2

    A second 'horror budget' attempts again to control the economy. One of the problems with Menzies government was an inability and unwillingness to confront and deal with economic problems.
  • ASIO

    The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) Act turned the organisation into a statutory authority, meaning they had more power to control the information they obtained.
  • Labor Split

    As a direct result of the strain put on the Labor Party by the Petrov Affair and the anti-communist hysteria of the 50s, the Democratic Labor Party is formed as a breakaway party from the Labor Party. It is made up of determined anti-communist supporters.
  • Keith Murray University Report

    Menzies comissioned the Keith Murray Report into Universities in Australia. It found that universities up until this point were underfunded with a high drop out rate and little impact on the community. Menzies' investigation into this improved university education for all of Australia, increasing funding, attendence and quality of education.
  • Menzies re-elected - fifth consecutive term.

  • Reserve Bank of Australia

    The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) came into effect, helping to deal wtih inflation and control interest rates. This was Menzies cheif way of dealing witht the economy, however he did not press the issue, so there were many delays in creating the legislation.
  • Menzies re-elected - sixth consecutive term

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    Vietnam War

    Vietnam War is fought in Vietnam. Menzies introduces the contraversial conscription policy. Initially this was supported, however as the war continued, this policy became more and more unpopular.
  • Menzies re-elected - seventh consecutive term

  • Vietnam War

    Menzies announces that Australian troops will be sent to Vietnam to support the US forces already there. The first battalion arrived the following month. 19,000 conscripts were sent in the next four years.
  • Menzies retires from Office

    Menzies retires from office after 16 consecutive years as Prime Minister, a feat unmatched to this day. He held office for a total of 18 years, and during that time Australia was the most propserous it had ever been with low unemployment and strong economic poicies,