In 1944, the Liberal Party of Australia was founded after a three-day meeting held in a small hall not far from Parliament House in Canberra. The meeting was called by the then Leader of the Opposition (United Australia Party) Robert Menzies. Robert Menzies had already served as Prime Minister of Australia (1939-41), but he believed that the non-Labor parties should unite to present a strong alternative government to the Australian people. Eighty men and women from 18 non-Labor political parties and organizations attended the first Canberra conference. They shared a common belief that Australians should have greater personal freedom and choice than that offered under Labor’s post-war socialist plans.