On 28 October 1916 the Australian people voted ‘no’ in a plebiscite on conscription. Prime Minister Billy Hughes felt that conscription was the only way for Australia to meet its wartime commitments, but he was unable to convince a majority of Australians. A second plebiscite, held just over a year later, also failed.
The Liberal Party of Australia formed on 16 October 1944. Robert Menzies, then Member for Kooyong and former Prime Minister, was one of the driving forces behind the formation of the new party. He went on to lead the Liberal Party to victory at the 1949 election and become Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, with a term of 16 years.
On 17 October 1949 the Australian Government, under then Prime Minister Ben Chifley, launched the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. Over the next 23 years, the Scheme employed more than 100 000 people and it remains an important source of power to this day.