In 1909 Alfred Deakin, the leader of the Protectionist Party merged with the Anti-Socialist Party of Joseph Cook to form the CLP on a shared platform of opposing the Australian Labor Party. It was defeated by Labor at its first election held in 1910.
In September 1911, the CLP merged with the rural People's Party to form the People's Liberal Party (PLP).
Under a new leader, Joseph Cook, the newly merged party defeated Labor in 1913 by a single seat, but in 1914 Cook called early elections and was defeated. In 1916 the People's Liberal Party merged with the National Labor Party, created a few months earlier by Billy Hughes and other pro-conscriptionist Labor MPs to form the Nationalist Party of Australia.