<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Untitled Document
published by: www.womensweb.com.au

suffrage and onwards




This Appendix contains:

Chapter 3:
First International Woman
Suffrage Conference;

Chapter 3:
An Open Letter
to the Women of the United States

Chapter 5:
Women's Political Association Platform

Chapter 6:
Women's Political Association (WPA)-
non-Party Policy -Objects

Chapter 6:
Petition To the House of Commons
of Great Britain

Chapter 6:
Where is Our Female Operatives Hall?

Chapter 7:
The Women's Peace Army resolutions

Chapter 7:
Resolutions Adopted at the International
Congress of Women held at The Hague,
April 28 to May 1, 1915 (abridged)

Chapter 7:
Conscription and Woman's Loyalty
by Eleanor M Moore

Chapter 9:
Women's International League
for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) -
Statement of Aims
1915 - 1937

Chapter 10:
interview with 'Rosie the Riveter'

Chapter 10:
Join the Council for Women
in War Work

Chapter 11:
1948 International Women's Day talk
- Mrs Jessie Street

Chapter 11:
Letter to International
Women's Day Committee

Chapter 11:
Years of Carrying the Banner

Chapter 12:

Chapter 12:

Chapter 13:
Women and Children in Transition
(WACKIT) purposes

Chapter 13:
International Women's Day (IWD);

Chapter 13:
In Memoriam Anna 1947-1983

Chapter 14: Feminist Refuge
Action Group petition protesting a
lack of funding for incest services

Chapter 14:
The Rape Song - a poem

Chapter 14:
Women Against Rape (WAR
) Collective constitution

Chapter 14:
1975 - The Working Women's Centre

Chapter 15:
ANZAC DAY 1984 In Memory of All
Women In All Countries Raped in All Wars

Chapter 15:
The National Civic Council short

Chapter 15:
North East Centre Against Sexual
Assault (CASA) purposes;

Chapter 15:
1975 - The Working Women's Centre

Chapter 17:
In Our Own Hands - The Queen Victoria

Chapter 18:
Caring for Country -
Pine Gap Women for Survival Demonstration -
Survival Kit

Chapter 19 -
When the Women's Movement is Quiet - Healthsharing Women

Chapter 19:
Caring for Country: Pine Gap Women
for Survival Demonstration - Survival Kit

Chapter 19:

Chapter 19:
Romawati Senaga talk at our
'World Economic Forum'
People's Conference


Elizabeth Oakes Smith 1852:

Do we fully understand
we aim at nothing less
an entire subversion
of the present order
of society,
a dissolution of the
whole existing
social compact.


Abigail Adams, wife of the
second president of the
United States of America:

'Remember the Ladies,
and be more generous
and favourable to them
than your ancestors.
Do not put such
unlimited power in the
hands of the Husbands.
Remember all Men
would be tyrants i
lf they could.
If particular care
and attention i
s not paid to the Ladies
we are determined
to foment a Rebellion,
and will not hold
ourselves bound by any
Laws in which we
have no voice,
or Representation.'

Emmaline Pankhurst Oct 17 1912:

We disregard your laws,
gentlemen, we set the
liberty and the welfare
of women above such considerations, and
we shall continue
this war
as we have done
in the past ...
I incite this meeting
to rebellion.


Rebecca West, 1913:

'I have never been able
to find out precisely
what feminism is:
I only know that people
call me a feminist
whenever I express
sentiments that
differentiate me
from a doormat.'



From The Judge -
a novel by Rebecca West -
Published in 1922.

At the public meeting
the suffragetter
to 'indict the
of men that had
driven her
and her followers
to revolt:
the refusal to women
of a generous
of a living wage,
of opportunities
for professional
the social habit of
amused contempt
for women's doings;
the meanness that
used a woman's
capacity for
mating and
to bind her a slave,
either of the kitchen
or of the streets.
She exclaimed
the State's pretence
that an illegitimate
had only one parent
when everybody knew
an illegitimate baby
had really two'.

Vashti Spring '81


Alice Walker:

'Activism is my rent for
being on the planet.'


Margaret Mead:

'Never doubt that a
small group of
thoughtful citizens can
change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing
that ever had.'


Cherls Kramarae,
Paula Trechler:

Feminism is the
radical notion that
women are human.


Joan Kirner, Moira Rayner

You need power to
make a difference
... Women need power
over themselves
and their circumstances.
They need the power
to influence others,
the power to
and to act as
part of a group.

The Women's Power Handbook
Penguin 1999


Nawaal El Saadawi,
A Reader,

'What we require
is not a formal return
to tradition and religion,
but a re-reading,
a reinterpretation
of our history that
can illuminate the
and pave the way to a
better future.
For example,
if we delve
more deeply into a
ancient Egyptian and
African civilisations
we will discover
the humanistic
elements that were
prevalent in many
areas of life.
Women enjoyed
high status and rights,
which they later
lost when
class patriarchal
society became the
prevalent social system'

Canadian politician
Rosemary Brown:

My definition (of feminism)
is that a feminist is a
person who is committed
to the struggle on behalf
of the liberation
of all women.

Vandana Shiva: Women,
Ecology and Development::

'By elbowing out 'life'
from being the central
concern in organising
human society, the
dominant paradigm
of knowledge has
become a threat to
life itself.

Third World women
are bringing the
with living and survival
back to centre stage
in human history.
In recovering the
for the survival
of all life,
they are laying the
for the
recovery of the
feminine principle
in nature and society,
and through it the
recovery of the earth
as sustainer
and provider.


Helen Caldicott:

'We are curators of all
life on this planet.
We hold it in our hands.
It is a beautiful planet,
maybe the only life
in the whole universe,
and I refuse to believe
we are silly enough
to destroy it


Maria Mies,
Patriarchy and Accumulation
on a World Scale:

'The Women's
Liberation Movement
is perhaps the
as well as
the most far-reaching
of the new
social movements:
the ecology movement,
the alternative movement,
the peace movement
and others.

Whereas one can
lead a dispassionate
or political discourse
on the
'ecology question',
the 'peace issue'
the issue of
Third World
the 'woman question'
invariably leads to
highly emotional
from men, and from
many women.
It is a sensitive issue
for each person.

The reason for this
is that
the women's movement
does not address its
demands mainly to
some external agency,
such as the state,
the capitalists,
as the other
movements do,
but addresses itself to
people in their most
intimate human
the relationship
women and men,
with a view to
these relations.

Therefore, the battle is
not between
groups with common
interests or
political goals
and some
external enemy,
but takes place
women and men
between women
and men.


Ruby Tuesday 1970's:

One of the few women
in a profession
in this country
went to change
her address
on the electoral role
the other day.
When asked about
her occupation,
she replied
The electoral officer
hastily wrote down
'home duties'
with the remark that
hobbies don't count.

Vashti's Voice, Bon Hull papers
Melbourne University archives


Marg McKenzie:

A true understanding
women (and men)
from their confining roles
is going to need more
' equality of opportunity',
or allowing more people
to succeed as
the values
of capitalist society
define success.
It is going to take a
of the basic
institutions which
make up society.

Vashti's Voice, Bon Hull papers
Melbourne University archives


Linda Rubenstein:

We know that we have to
change a system
based on oppression
and exploitation,
not only of women,
but of the vast majority
of the world's people.

Wife's Lot - the family Sep 4 '72


Virginia Woolf

"War is not
women's history."



Rosemary O'Grady
(Lawyer and Book Reviewer)

women's liberation
is a movement
of the powerless
for the powerless,
its attraction is not
immediately clear
to the powerless,
who feel they need
alliance with the
powerful to survive."



Eva Figes:

Religion - A male cult,
specifically designed
to exclude women
and give the male
a compensatory
for the female one
of childbearing.

Wife's Lot - the family Sep 4 '72


Germaine Greer

To abdicate one's own
moral understanding,
to tolerate crimes
against humanity,
to leave everything
to someone else,
the father-ruler-king-computer,
is the only irresponsibility.

p 20 The Female Eunuch


Joyce Stevens

Because women's work is
never done and is
or unpaid or boring
or repetitious and
we're the first to get the sack
and what we look like is
more important than
what we do and
if we get raped it's our fault
and if we get bashed
we must have provoked it
and if we raise our voices
we're nagging bitches and
if we enjoy sex
we're nymphos
and if we don't we're frigid
and if we love women
it's because we can't get
a "real" man and
if we ask our doctor
too many questions
we're neurotic
and/or pushy
and if we expect
community care
for our children
we're selfish
and if we stand up
for our rights
we're aggressive
and "unfeminine" and
if we don't we're typical
weak females
and if we want to
get married
out to trap a man
and if we don't we're
and because we s
till can't
get an adequate safe
but men can
walk on the moon
and if we can't cope
or don't want a pregnancy
we're made to feel guilty
about abortion and
...for lots and lots of
other reasons we are
part of the women's
liberation movement. 

Women's Liberation Broadsheet
IWD 1975


Cheris Kramarae and
Paula Treichler

Feminism is the
radical notion
that women are people.



Susan B. Anthony

It was we, the people;
not we,
the white male citizens;
nor yet we,
the male citizens;
but we,
t he whole people,
who formed the Union.
... Men, their rights
and nothing more;
women, their rights
and nothing less.



Eleanor Roosevelt

"Remember no one can
make you feel inferior
without your consent."



Women's News Service
No 14 1977

Brazilian Judge
Alfonso Soares
has vowed he will never
accept a women juror
for three reasons:
"women shouldn't
work outside the home,"
"women are
emotionally fragile",
and the courtroom toilet
is dirty.




Even some revolutionaries
are lovers;
and even some poets
have sweethearts
and babies
Even some women
change the world
and even some mothers
become themselves.
I keep on wanting everything
and wanting you
to want that too.


Appendix 1 - Papers from the Women's Movement


Chapter 3: First International Woman Suffrage Conference

Declaration of Principles:

We, the men and women assembled in the First International Woman Suffrage Conference, held in Washington, USA, February 12-18 1902, do hereby declare our faith in the following principles:

1. That men and women are born equally free and independent members of the human race: equally endowed with talents and intelligence, and equally entitled to the free exercise of their individual rights and liberty.

2. That the natural relation of the sexes is that of independence and co-operation, and that a repression of the rights of one inevitably works injury to the other and to the whole race.

3. That in all lands, those laws, creeds and customs, which have tended to restrict women to a position of dependence, to discourage their mental training, to repress the development of their natural gifts, and to subordinate their individuality, have been based upon false theories, and have produced an artificial and unjust relation of the sexes in modern society.

4. That self-government in the home and the State should be the inalienable right of every normal adult, and in consequence no individual woman can 'owe obedience' to any individual man, as prescribed by old marriage forms, nor can women as a whole owe obedience to men as a whole, as prescribed by modern governments.

5. That the refusal to recognise women as individual members of society, entitled to the right of self-government, has resulted in social, legal and economic injustice to them, and has intensified the existing economic disturbance throughout the world.

6. That governments which impose taxation and laws upon their women citizens without giving them the right of consent or dissent, which is granted to men citizens, exercise a tyranny inconsistent with just government.

7. That the ballot is the only legal and permanent means of defending the rights to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' pronounced inalienable by the American Declaration of independence, and accepted as inalienable by all civilised nations; therefore, women should abe vested with all rights and privileges of electors in a representative form of government.

8. That the rapidly-developing intelligence of women, resulting from new educational opportunities, and the important position in the economic world into which women have been forced by the commercial changes of the last half-century, call for the immediate consideration of this problem by the nations of the world.

(signed) Susan B Anthony, Chairman, USA; Vida Goldstein, Secretary, Australia; Florence Fenwick Miller, England; Antonie Stolle, Germany; Emmy Evald, Sweden; Caroline H Huidobro, Chili; Gudrun Drewsen, Norway; Rachel F Avery, United States; Anna H Shaw, United States; Carrie Chapman Catt, United States. from the Woman's Sphere, 10 Dec 1902 cited in The Changemakers Suzane Fabian and Morag Loh Jacaranda 1983

Return to Chapter 3

Chapter 3: An Open Letter to the Women of the United States

Melbourne October 1 1902

'Vida Goldstein: ' My Dear Friends, - Having recently travelled over a considerable portion of your vast country, I think you will be interested in hearing something of my impressions of the woman suffrage movement in the United States, especially as I am now an enfranchised woman, eligible for a seat and for a Cabinet appointment in the Australian National Parliament, rights to which I was not entitled when I attended the International Woman Suffrage Conference in Washington, and addressed audiences the United States.

Australia now leads the way in the suffrage movement, for she is the only country in the world which has endowed its women with national suffrage, but we Australian women do not forget how much we owe our political freedom to the women of America. While the names of Mary Anstell, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Lydia Becker, Mrs Jameson, Mrs Bodichon, Bessie Rayner Parkes, Millicent Garrett Fawcett and others will always be gratefully remembered by us, we cannot but feel that we are also indebted to the pioneer women of your land, for American women were the first in the world to organise for the purpose of securing absolute educational, social, legal and political equality with men.

The little band of women, headed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who met at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, must for ever be enshrined in the hearts of woman suffragists all the world over, as also will be Little Wyoming, the first State to enfranchise its women - as far back as 1869 - just two years after John Stuart Mill's Suffrage amendment in the House of Commons ... And because we women in the Land of the Southern Cross are reaping what England and America has sown, we are all the more eager to help our English sisters and American cousins in their struggle for freedom. Our chief care will be to so use our right of suffrage that the men of other nations will soon want to follow the example of the Australian champions of woman's enfranchisement ...

You want, and must have, the support of the rank and file of the working people. And just here is your weakness; you haven't got it. History repeats itself in your country as elsewhere, and every social reform worth having has been won only through getting the support of the workers. It is they who feel the need for reform most, because it is they who suffer most in our present social conditions - it is they only who are prepared to fight for reform. You want the vote in order that you may help to bring about better social and industrial conditions, but you won't get it without the help of the industrial section of the country. Of this I am convinced. That is how we got it in Australia, and as soon as you make the workers of America realise that the suffrage question is a great economic question, they will join hands with you. ... Yours most cordially, Vida Goldstein.' Women's Sphere SLV

Return to Chapter 3

Chapter 5: Women's Political Association Platform

April 1911 Woman Voter: Women's Political Association, The Block, 2nd Floor, Elizabeth Street Melbourne
Motto: In Essentials, Unity; in Non Essentials, Liberty; in All Things, Charity Augustine

President (Absent) Miss Vida Goldstein; Acting President Miss M E Fullerton; Hon Sec Mrs Robert Singleton; Hon Assistant Sec Miss Geraldine Rede; Hon Treasurer Miss Effie Smart.

1. Equal Marriage and Divorce Laws.
2. Equal Parental Rights over Children.
3. Equal Rights in the Disposition of Property after Death.
4. Equal Pay for Equal Work.
5. Elective Ministries.
6. Proportional Representation (Hare-Spence system).
7. Complete Civil and Legal Equality of Men and Women.
8. Pure Food and Pure Milk Supply.
9. Educational Reform.
10. Protection of Boys and Girls to the Age of 21.
11. Reform of Methods in Dealing with Neglected and Delinquent Children.
12. Establishment of a State Children's Court and the appointment of Special Children's Magistrate.
13. Stringent Legislation to protect the child Wage Earner.
14. Appointment of Women as: a. Police Matrons; b. Sanitary Inspectors; c. Inspectors of Neglected and Boarded-Out Children; d. Inspectors of State Schools and Truant Officers; e. Inspectors of all Institutions where Women and Children are immured; f. Members of Council of Education; g. Mayors, and Members of City, Municipal and Shire Municipals and Council.
15. Cessation of Borrowing except for Reproductive Works.
16. Reform of the Liquor Trade.
17. International Woman Suffrage.
18. Peace and Arbitration.

Return to Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Women's Political Association - non-Party Policy - Objects

June 10 1912 Woman Voter: ' Our Non-Party Policy:- The objects of the WPA are to protect the interests of women and children under Municipal, State and National Government, to educate citizens to appreciate the value of non-party political industrial action, and to emphasise the necessity of making conscience and principle the mainspring of individual and national life.

Liberal, or Conservative, or Socialist principles triumphed tomorrow, there would still be injustice between man and man, between class and class, between race and race, for we believe that social harmony will come only through the regeneration of the individual, through individual unselfishness and love of mankind. Faith in this or that political party does not necessarily make on unselfish and loving; neither, we admit, does faith in non-party politics; but we believe the latter is nearer absolute right than party politics.

At the outset, we must remove a false impression as to our non-party policy. It is not to be supposed that we are a body of gelatinous creatures, who have no political views. We have all got very decided views as to the merits of the various political parties - some of us are Protectionists, some are Freetraders, some are Single Taxers, some are Socialists, some are anti-Socialists; but we differ from those organised on party lines in one important particular. We believe that questions affecting individual honour, private and public integrity and principle, the stability of the home, the welfare of the child, the present salvation of the criminal and the depraved, the moral, social and economic injustice imposed on women - we believe that all these questions are greater than party, and that in nine times out of ten they are sacrificed to party interests. We know whereof we speak, for there is no organisation of women in the whole of Australia that has had the prolonged and close experience of party methods, and party men, inside and outside Parliament than we have had.

We have our own party beliefs, but we do not make gods of them, and we believe that members of all parties can work loyally together for any one of the planks embodied in our platform. We might be the most rabid anti-Socialists, but if there be a contest between a Socialist who favours equal marriage and divorce laws, and an anti-Socialist who is opposed to them, sanctity and stability of marriage and the home depends on our having on equal moral standard for men and women. But the man or woman who makes a god of anti-socialism will vote for the anti-Socialist. check

Because we are non-party, because we are opposed to all the forces that make for apparent success, because in our work for women, children, home and country, we are actuated by fidelity to principle, we ask you to join us ... ' State Library of Victoria

Return to Chapter 5

Chapter 6: Where is Our Female Operatives Hall?

'Vashti's Voice, a newsletter of Women's Liberation in the 1970's and 1980's, looked into and published the story of the Female Operatives Hall.

'In 1933 the National Council of Women published a book which they called The Centenary Gift Book. The book consisted of a series of articles which gave the history of many groups of women who were instrumental in making Australian History. One of these stories was by Jean Daly, who was at that time an activist in the Labor Party and an official of a union. The story was called the Trade Union Woman. In that article I came across the following quote.

"In 1883 the Government of the day was approached by a committee of the Trades Hall for a grant of land adjacent to the land on which Trades Hall was built, and which had been occupied by the Victorian Voluntary Engineers as a depot, for the purpose of building a Female Operatives Hall. This land, 1 rood in extent, was granted in perpetuity for that purpose, and the Committee carried out immediately their purpose and built a small hall."

... the object of the deputation is to request that about a quarter of an acre of land in Lygon Street, Carlton, formerly used by the Volunteer Engineers might be reserved and vested in the Trades Hall Committee who desire to erect a meeting room for the female operatives of Melbourne and suburbs.

We know the hall was built, we know that it was there in 1933, rented by 3 unions who had a proportion of female members, and also that part of the hall was a clubroom which was used by the female staff of the unions who have offices in Trades Hall Council. We know that in 1975 it is not there, and that there is no provision whatsoever for either women operatives or staff purposes anywhere in the Trades Hall. We know that facilities are needed for all the same reasons that they were needed in 1883 (even if it is only to keep us off the streets)."

12 April 1983 NOTES ON THE DOCUMENTS: ... although the actual grant did not actually specify the purpose for which it was granted, it is clear from the deputation minutes, and the dates involved that morally the land should be used for the purpose for which it was granted. While understanding that it would be impossible at this stage to re-allocate land back to where it belongs to the women workers of Melbourne, we call upon the THC to reassess the situation and give consideration to the necessary demands. ... The Trustees appointed by the Trades Hall Council have a moral responsibility to make sure that justice is done for the working women of Melbourne.

- child care facilities for the women working at Trades Hall
- adequate rest rooms and toilet facilities for women attending Trades Hall on business
- a sick bay for women workers, with a trained nurse
- a recreation or meeting room for special meetings, lectures, discussions, films etc." Vashti's Voice Issue 11 Winter '7

Return to Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Petition To the House of Commons of Great Britain

To the Honourable Members of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled. The humble Petition of Representatives of the Women's Organisations of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully sheweth:-

"We, representatives of the enfranchised women of Australia intercede on behalf of our unenfranchised sisters in the United kingdom with the plea that Honourable Members shall direct the Government to introduce and pass into law, a measure to enfranchise the women of your country on equal terms with men.

In the Australian Commonwealth and in the six different States, the opponents of woman suffrage voiced the same objections, the same fears, the same prophesies of failure and disaster of a very serious nature, not only to Australia but to the whole British Empire, if our women were allowed to become part of the body politic, as are voiced in England today. Experience has falsified them all, and at every election, our women cast their votes with an intelligence and discrimination not surpassed by the male electors. Experience teaches us also that the social and economic subjection of women by legislation, in whose enactment women have no voice, intensifies the social and political subjection of women, and is against the best interests of the State.

In the name of democracy, which knows neither class nor sex, we plead for the enfranchisement of our sisters. Further, we make this plea because their unenfranchisement affects Australian women very closely. Australian men who go to live in England retain their political status, and can take part in electing their representatives to the House of Commons. Australian women who go to England lose their status. They are degraded to a lower political status than that of boys, aliens, criminals and lunatics. Boys may reach their legal majority and vote. Aliens may become naturalised citizens and vote. Criminals may regain their liberty and vote. Lunatics, if sufficiently compos mentis to discriminate between candidates, may vote.

We submit with all due respect, that the British Parliament is guilty of grave injustice in compelling Australian women, free, self-respecting citizens in their own country, to wear the yoke of political serfdom in England.

To the plea of those of your country, we women voters of Australia add ours, and pray that the political right, which men value above all others, be granted to the women of Great Britain, on equal terms with men. And your petitioners humbly pray etc. ...' State Library of Victoria

Return to Chapter 6

Chapter 7: The Women's Peace Army resolutions

The meeting was written up in the Argus 9 July 1915 as - 'Women's Peace Army: At a meeting of the Women's Peace Army held last evening at the office of the association, Latrobe St, Miss Goldstein presiding, the following resolutions were passed.

"That this association tenders its heartiest congratulations to Mr V Brennen MHR for his courageous opposition to the madness of war, and hopes that the electors of Batman will have the moral courage to show at once their approval of the attitude of their representative, which this association is sure they inwardly feel."

"That this association claims that Australian men and women elected by the people shall have direct representation in any Imperial council that may be established for the purpose of considering peace proposals."

"That this association claims also that the peace terms finally decided upon by the representatives of the UK and the Overseas Dominions shall be submitted to the Australian people for ratification or rejection."

"That as modern wars are mainly due to a desire on the part of interested people to secure profitable investments for capital, this association urges such industrial organisations of men and women as will to the producer an equitable share in the wealth they create, so that as the conditions of life for the masses of the people improve, enormous aggregations of capital seeking investments will no longer be possible."

"That this association, believing that war is a crime against civilisation and humanity, and that it places the interests of property before those of human beings, that it brings personal degradation to vast masses of soldiers and women, and greater suffering and horrors to non-combatants, resolves to invite members and sympathisers to unite in an Australian Women's Peace Army, which shall pledge itself to fight for the preservation of human life and peace between all nations now and always."

"That the WPA, not confining its membership to women, makes its special appeal to women as the lifegivers of the race, not to sacrificing their sons to the Moloch of hate and destruction, but to dedicate them to active service in the constructive cause of universal brotherhood."

"That the WPA, believing in the interdependence of nations, resolves to co-operate with the peace organisations of all countries, and to adopt as the basis of a constructive peace the resolutions passed at the International Congress of Women held at the Hague in April, with the addition for Australia of the abolition of compulsory military training."

Return to Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Resolutions Adopted at the International Congress of Women held at The Hague, April 28 to May 1, 1915 (abridged)

I.1 . Women and War
We women, in International Congress assembled, protest against the madness and the horror of war, involving as it does a reckless sacrifice of human life and the destruction of so much that humanity has laboured through centuries to built up.
2. Women's Sufferings in War
This International Congress of Women opposes the assumption that women can be protected under the conditions of modern warfare. It protests vehemently against the odious wrongs of which women are the victims in time of war and especially against the horrible violation of women which attends all war.

ll.3. The Peace Settlement
Since the mass of the people in each of the countries now at war believe themselves to be fighting, not as aggressors, but in self-defence and for their national existence, there can be no irreconcilable differences between them, and their common ideals afford a basis upon which a magnanimous and honourable peace might be established. The Congress, therefore, urges the Governments of the world to begin peace negotiations, based on principles of justice, including those adopted by this Congress, namely:-
- That no territory should be transferred without the consent of the men and women in it, and that the right of conquest should not be recognized.
- That autonomy and a democratic Parliament should not be refused to any people.
- That the Governments of all nations should come to an agreement to refer future international disputes to arbitration or conciliation, and to bring social, moral and economic pressure to bear upon any country which resorts to arms.
- That foreign politics should be subject to democratic control.
- That women should be granted equal political rights with men.
4. Continuous Mediation by Neutral Nations

lll. Principles of a Permanent Peace
5. Respect for Nationality (No transfer of territory without the consent of men and women residing therein).
6. Arbitration and Conciliation (All future disputes to be thus dealt with).
7. International Pressure (social, moral and economic, to be brought to bear upon any country which resorts to arms instead of referring its case to arbitration).
8. Democratic Control of Foreign Policy.
9. Enfranchisement of Women.

lV. International Co-operation
10. Third Hague Conference (to be convened immediately after the war).
11. Permanent International Court of Justice and Court of Conciliation.
12. General Disarmament.
13. Liberty of Commerce.*
14. Abolition of Secret Treaties.
15. Women to Share All Civil and Political Rights on Same Terms as Men.

V. 16. Education to be Directed Towards Constructive Peace.

Vl.Women and Peace Settlement Conference
17. All women to be enfranchised.
18. Representatives of the people to take part in framing peace settlement.

Vll. Action to be Taken
19. Women's voice in peace settlement.
20. Envoys to the Governments (Women appointed by the Congress to carry Congress resolutions to the rulers of the belligerent and neutral nations of Europe and to the President of the United States of America).
The Quest for Peace As I have known it in Australia Eleanor M Moore * see Our Foremothers

Return to Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Conscription and Woman's Loyalty by Eleanor M Moore

- I can only be loyal in a woman's way. I cannot give to the State what is not mine. Giving away other people's money is not generosity; it is theft. Voting away other people's liberty is not patriotism; it is persecution. Forcing other people to risk their lives for me is not courage; it is cowardice.
- I was given a vote that I might impress my womanly feeling and point of view on public life. If I use that vote to strengthen men's faith in violence and revenge as against intelligence and moral voice, my influence is worse than wasted.
- I deny the right of any man or State to force me to produce life against my will. On the same principle, I recognise that I have no right to force any man to take life against his will.
- Australia has given me the rights of citizenship. In return I must do my part to save Australia from being a prey to the militarism which has brought Europe to ruin. I see that, but for conscription, the present war would have been impossible. I must keep Australia free from that curse while yet there is time.
- I have an obligation to the men at the Front, but I know know I cannot relieve them by swelling the number of sufferers. I believe the glory of man is not in his brute strength and violence, but in his powers of intellect and spirit. For the relief of the agonised youth of all nations, our own included, I demand that he use these powers to bring the present war to an end.
- I know that the idea that lasting peace can be gained by war is nonsense. I know that no war, however victorious, has never produced lasting peace. I know that a just and honourable peace, such as the people of all belligerent nations are thirsting for and ready for, has a far greater chance of being permanent if arranged by negotiation than if brought about in any other way. I know that, however long the fight continues, in the end it MUST be settled by negotiation.
- I know that everywhere and always, when men make war on men, the sufferings of such as myself are indescribably horrible. I know that as long as war continues such suffering cannot be prevented or mitigated. For this reason I will not sanction the war system by forcing any man to be a soldier.
- For the honour of womanhood, for the glory of Australia, and for the encouragement of men to be true to the highest in them, I mean to record a vote of WANT OF CONFIDENCE IN WAR, and VOT NO!!! Eleanor Moore, Conscription and Women's Loyalty, Melbourne, 1917 cited in Women in the Great War, Bruce Scates and Raelene Frances CUP

Return to Chapter 7

Chapter 9: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) - Statement of Aims 1915 - 1937

WILPF Australian Section: 'Statement of Aims as Adopted and Revised at Successive International Congresses.

1915 The Hague, Holland (International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace).
Article 1. Women and War - We women, in International Congress assembled, protest against the madness and horror of war, involving, as it does, a reckless sacrifice of human life and the destruction of so much that humanity has laboured through centuries to build up. This International Congress of Women opposes the assumption that women can be protected under the conditions of modern warfare. It protests vehemently against the odious wrongs of which women are victims in times of war, and especially against the horrible violation of women which attends all war.
Articles 2 to 7 - see Chapter 7 above.

1919 Zurich, Switzerland
Article 1 The name shall be The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Article 36. This International Congress of Women abides by the principle laid down by the Women's Congress at the Hague in 1915, that we do not admit war as a means of settling differences between peoples.

1921 Vienna, Austria
Object of the League - The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom aims at binding together women in every country who oppose war and who desire to promote the following objects -
1. The creation of international relations of mutual co-operation and goodwill, in which wars would be impossible.
2. The establishment of political, social and moral equality between men and women.
3. The introduction of these principles into all systems of education.

1924 Washington, United States of America
Object of the League - The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom aims at binding together women in every country who oppose war and all preparations for war, whether offensive or defensive, international or civil. They believe in and work for -
1. Complete and universal disarmament on land, on sea, and in the air, for the abolition of the hunger blockade and of the prostitution of science for destructive purposes.
2. World organization for social, political and economic co-operation.
3. Social, political and economic equality for all, without distinction of sex, race, class or creed.
4. Moral disarmament, through education, in the spirit of human unity and through the establishment of social justice.

1926 Dublin, Ireland
Statement of Aims - The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom aims at uniting women in all countries who are opposed to every kind of war, exploitation and oppression, and who work for universal disarmament and for the solution of conflicts by the recognition of human solidarity, by conciliation and arbitration, by world co-operation, and by the establishment of social, political and economic justice for all, without distinction of sex, race, class or creed.

1929 Prague, Czechoslovakia
Statement of Aims - Same as Dublin, 1926.

1932 Grenoble, France
Statement of Aims - Same as Dublin, 1926

1934 Zurich, Switzerland
Statement of Aims - The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom aims at bringing together women of different political and philosophical tendencies united in their determination to study, make known, and abolish the political, social, economic and psychological causes of war, and to work for a constructive peace. The primary objects of the WILPF remain: Total and universal disarmament, the abolition of violent means of coercion for the settlement of all conflicts, the substitution in every case of some form of peaceful settlement, and the development of a world organization for the political, social and economic co-operation of peoples. Conscious that these aims cannot be attained, and that a real and lasting peace and true freedom cannot exist under the present system of exploitation, privilege and profit, they consider that their duty is to facilitate and hasten by non-violent methods the social transformation which would permit the inauguration of a new system under which would be realised social, economic and political equality for all without distinction of sex, race or opinion.

1937 Luhacovice, Czechoslovakia
Constitutional Questions not discussed. No Resolutions passed bearing on Aims or Methods. At this date, National Sections existed in the following countries - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, (Germany - members resident abroad), Great Britain, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunis, Ukraine, United States of America.' Royal Historical Society Archives, Melbourne

Return to Chapter 9

Chapter 10: Interview with 'Rosie the Riveter'

Joan Curlewis interview - Rose: 'Before I went into heavy industry in 1942 I was making feather decorations for hats. It was the only sit-down job I've ever had in my life. Before that I worked in a boarding house as a housekeeper. I joined a group of girls training for aircraft work at a place in Exhibition Street, Melbourne. From there we were sent to work at Newport Railway Workshops, which had been handed over to the Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) for the duration of the war. There were over 500 at DAP working on plane parts which were sent for assembly to the Commonwealth Aircraft Corp. (CAC) at Fisherman's Bend. We worked on Beauford bombers, and when they were outdated, Beauford fighters.

I was a riveter (the original 'Rosie the Riveter' as my name is Rose), using drills and an air rivet gun - that is, it worked on air pressure. Later these went out of fashion and all the guns were worked by electricity. Recently I saw a man working an air raid drill and he was amazed when I told him I used one during the war. He thought they were a new invention. We were working with soft aluminium and I didn't find the work at all hard, in fact I enjoyed it, although I lost a stone while working there. But I couldn't stand the noise. It really got me down. You's be working with four riveting teams inside a hollow cabin, and the noise was so deafening you could hardly hear the foreman when he shouted right into your ear.

The factory was an enormous shed with concrete floor and a tin roof. In summer the heat from the roof made the plane parts so hot you could hardly touch them. And it was cold and draughty in winter. The only heating came from braziers which you had to stand over to get any warmth from. I've always been healthy and I only got one cold while I was there, but most of the girls had colds all the time and a few got Tuberculosis. Apart from that, things were not bad at all. The canteen was good, there was a nursing sister, and foot baths were installed for the girls to soak their aching feet. Sometimes we had lunchtime entertainment in the canteen with theatre stars like Dan Nicol, the comedian.

At first our wages were the usual female rate, that is, 54% of the male rate, then after a lot of battling by the union we were given 90%. I got fourteen pounds a fortnight (extra?) and when I got that first high pay I thought I was Rockefeller. Most of the girls were satisfied with the 90% rate - before the war it was an unheard of rate for women. I had never seen so much money in my life. We worked from 7.30 am to 7 pm five days a week, which meant we could do our shopping on Saturday morning. Friday night shopping was cut out during the war. ... Groups of girls used to visit the wounded in aftercare hospitals and take presents with them. Cigarettes were scarce but we were allowed to buy a ration from the canteen. I'm a non-smoker so I used to keep mine to give to the boys in the hospital. You had to have ration coupons to buy clothing and shop prices were fixed by the Government. Often black marketeers would stroll through the factory selling clothing such as undies - no coupons but a fantastically high price. A lot of the girls used to buy them, but I never did as it was against my principles.

Because the noise and the dirt of the place got me down I found it hard to get up in the morning and was often late for work. When I was asked why, I said I didn't have a clock. So I had to fill out a questionnaire to get permission to buy one. I remember one of the questions said 'Why do you want a clock?' I felt like answering 'To boil eggs in' but I thought better of it. When I finally got the clock it had a cardboard cover.

After the war, along with others who wanted to stay on I was sent to work at CAC. By this time I had married. My husband, who was in the Air Force, was stationed a fair way out of Melbourne so I left work to be with him. For the rest of my life (except when the kids were little) I worked as a shop assistant, a kitchen maid, and I did housework for neighbours - which I still do. I'm still very healthy and I'm used to hard work. I'd like to get a job as a builder's labourer. Joan Curlewis papers SLV Ms 11379

Return to Chapter 10

Chapter 10: Join the Council for Women in War Work

The Aims of the Council are:-

1. The fullest participation of women in war work in Australia.

2. To disseminate knowledge of women's war work.

3. To work for satisfactory conditions for women in the Services.

4. To encourage the provision of facilities for the care of children of war workers and the provision of canteens, community feeding centres and school meals.

5. To support Trade Unions in their efforts to improve conditions for women in war industries.

6. To assist in the co-ordination of organisations concerned with women's war work.

7. To support the principle of equal pay and equality of opportunity for men and women and all measures progressing towards this end.

8. To work, during and after the war, for the equitable treatment of women in the post-war world.

The Council is non-party and undenominational and membership consist of individual member's subscription 5/- per annum, and affiliated societies' subscription 10/- per annum.

Return to Chapter 10

Chapter 11: 1948 International Women's Day talk - Mrs Jessie Street

Jessie Street: 'Mrs Rosanov and friends on the platform and in the audience, I am very glad indeed to have the opportunity of again being down on IWD and joining in this great celebration. I think it is a great inspiration to all those who work for peace and who wish for peace. In all countries of the world there are thousands and thousands of people meeting under the auspices of the IWD organisation for the purpose of trying to see what they can do to promote peace.

Now while we are working for peace we must be as realistic as we can and we must understand the problem from all angles. First of all, we have to realise that there are quite a number of people - the percentage is very small in a community, but when taken as a whole they make up quite a large number of people - who don't want peace; it is to their profit and benefit to have war. We have to remember the enormous amount of money that was made by this group of people in WW1 and between WW1 and WW2 by arming Germany, Japan and Italy, and again in WW2; and all the time there were little wars being carried on in South America to the Arabian States, arms being sent all over the world to different countries.

They say the best defence for peace is to prepare for war. It certainly is a good slogan for them. They have a tremendous lot of money sending tanks, guns etc to all sorts of people. They not only make money out of selling arms but they control the source of raw materials. They own iron and tin mines and every other material that is used for making weapons of war; they have opened up oil wells, plantations etc all over the world, so they are not in favour of peace. So you have to remember that this is a groups of people who do not want peace, who never have wanted peace, and who have stimulated war.

After WW1 when the League of Nations was formed they started a disarmament commission, and the recommendations of that Commission were completely ignored by all the big powers. Why? Because the small groups of people who control international policy control the foreign office, the State Department, and all these various important areas of government saw to it that these recommendations were not put into effect ... When one faces the problems of working for peace one has to remember those things.' IWD papers State Library of Victoria

Return to Chapter 11

Chapter 11: Letter to International Women's Day Committee

Joan E Basquil, GPO Mail Branch women to IWD Committee: "You have probably read the report in today's Argus of the dismissal of about a hundred women from the GPO Mail Branch, and the deputation of these women to Mr Calwell on Tuesday morning. At the deputation I was asked by some of the girls to contact women's organisations, and I said that I would contact the IWD Committee on their behalf, as being representative of many women's organisations, and would place before you their case.

Last May there were approx. three hundred women in the mail branch. The Dept. has employed women in this branch since 1942 in what, till then, had been regarded as a male job. Over this period the women have proven their ability and and efficiency in the carrying out of their duties. With the Governments retrenchment policy, the Department commenced last May to dismiss married women. The dismissal notices were handed out in batches of 8, 20 or 30 over a period of several months. On November 30th the last of the married women left the mail branch, many of them with children to support, having been deserted by their husbands, but not being able to produce divorce papers.

On New Year's Eve about a hundred single women and widows received notice to take effect on Jan 21st - the excuse being that this was a man's job, and for the first time in ten years, men were applying for positions as mail officers. These women feel that the exchange of one group of unemployed for another group is no solution to the unemployment problem, and maintain that they have an equal right with men to a job, and that those who are already employed should retain their jobs. A petition has been sent to Dr Evatt and copies to Mr Calwell, Senator Anthony and Mr Cain. Also, the abovementioned deputation. The girls are expressing a wish for organisations for women, and the assistance of women's organisations in their struggles.

Could you please place this letter before the committee for their consideration, requesting a reply to the above address? Also, contact with any other organisations represented on your Committee who would write with us on the issue of equality and full employment would be of great assistance. Yours ... IWD papers, State Library of Victoria

Return to Chapter 11

Chapter 11: Years of Carrying the Banner

Joan Curlewis: ' ... The Union of Australian Women came into being in 1950, in the post-war world of baby boom, inflation and scarcity. During the war many married women had taken jobs, but when the men began to return after the war these women were sacked. With vivid memories of pre-war employment, they gave up their jobs to men without complaint. Nevertheless they had exploded the myth that a woman could not handle a "man's" job and many of them returned to the workforce in future years.

Production had been geared to the war effort, with a ban on home building and restrictions on consumer goods, so looking for a home proved a nightmare. Families found shelter in sheds, garages or single rooms. The Government converted an army camp at Royal Park, dividing long dormitories into flats, separated by flimsy partitions. I remember a woman telling me the walls of her "living room" were so thin she could hear the couple in the next flat having intercourse.

Hospitals, seldom extended since the 1920's, were desperately trying to cope with an influx of maternity cases. It was common for stretchers to be queued up in the corridor outside the labour ward in the Women's Hospital in Melbourne. When my son was born there, I saw mothers of large families sent home 3 days after confinement. Abandonment of wartime price control regulation lifted the lid off inflation. Wages, of course, lagged behind the rocketing cost of living. To cop the lot, war broke out in Korea and Australian troops were again sent overseas.

The leaflet produced for the inaugural meeting of the UAW in Victoria was headed "Women! Unite Against War!" and listed these points: enduring peace, homes and hospitals and schools before guns and bombers. High pensions and a new deal for Aborigines. "Guard the Children was the theme for the first Victorian Annual Conference. The day sessions were devoted to the "concerns of the mother" and the evening to the working woman. This concern for the rights of the family extended over many years, with campaigns for higher child endowment, more schools and kindergartens, free milk for school children, truly free education, and so on. With the growth of the number of married women in the workforce over the past 10 years the emphasis has gradually shifted to the status of women and the needs of the working mother. The 1967's AGM called for childcare fees to be a tax deductible item, and we have never ceased pressing for this concession. Since 1968 we have continually stirred government, industry and the community about the need for subsidised child care for working mothers.

One victory we can mark up is our demand for the Pill to be available through the National Health Scheme. Another notable achievement is the establishment of Family Planning Clinics in infant welfare centres. This suggestion first came from the UAW in 1967, and was later taken up by the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The Premier, Hamer, has now promised a Family Planning Clinic in every welfare centre. Concern at the plight of families in high rise flats to incorporate childcare centres and kindergartens, indoor recreation facilities, roof gardens and other garden spaces, libraries, schools, fenced playing areas, hobby workshops. We are currently campaigning for a flat on every second floor to be made available for a childcare-play centre to be staffed by parents.

Ever since Menzies got into office in 1951 on the slogan "put value back into the pound", the UAW has battled against rising prices. Family budgeting is usually the responsibility of the wife, so we regard inflation as an issue for women (men too, of course). Is price control possible in our society? Before that question can be answered, price control must be tried out. Consumer boycotts and government control of the price of essentials could at least curb excessive profits made on necessities. We have always acknowledged that war expenditure contributes to inflation. During the Korean War our leaflets warned: Reduce War Budget. Inflation cannot be checked unless this is done! We repeated the warning during the Vietnam War. Peace has always found a place on the UAW agenda. For twelve years UAW members, together with the Unitarian Church, held a monthly "Peace Walk" through the streets of Melbourne, only abandoning it when the Vietnam demonstrations came to the fore. When "peace" was a dirty word our members tramped the suburbs with petitions, held house meetings and hall meetings.

Our natural affiliation with the Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) has brought us closer to other women in the world. We have always sent delegates to international conferences called by WIDF and we have helped in a practical way our oppressed sisters in countries such as South Africa. Our Aboriginal sisters, too, have received similar assistance from our members. Until recent years, equal pay was one of our lesser campaigns. We were content, perhaps mistakenly, to merely give our support to the unions and organise an occasional demonstration. Not until the 1969 pay case did we intervene in the Arbitration Commission. In 1967 the UAW, incensed at the blatant sexism used by TV advertisers of foundation garments and women's underwear, called a protest meeting. Representatives from thirteen organisations attended, and a "Better Standards Committee" was elected to interview the Broadcasting Control Board, the Association of Advertising Agencies and the manufacturers. A marked improvement resulted, but vigilance is still needed. With the status of women in mind, the UAW was the first to suggest that a woman's portrait appear on the $5 note. One of our suggestions, Caroline Chisolm, was the choice.

Over 25 years of existence our campaigns have been legion and the sum total of our achievement is the result of the selfless work of our members. These changes have paved the way for the current exciting resurgence of interest and activity in the women's movement, bringing fresh ideas and new insights, along with long standing ones. The UAW welcomes newcomers, such as Women's Electoral Lobby and the Women's Liberation Movement, in the battle for women's rights. Working side by side, we can surely achieve much for Australian women.' Joan Curlewis, 1975 State Library of Victoria

Return to Chapter 11

Chapter 12: The Personal is Political and the Political is Personal

Kathie Gleeson: 'Which Came First? The Chicken or the Egg? discussion paper -
If we become sold on the idea that is is possible to be a Women's Liberationist and not be political, we will be doing what women have always done - personalise and privatise and solve her own problems within a vacuum. Loving one another, personal comfort and learning to respect other women is only a part of the whole and can only come about by understanding the whole. ... The way I define politics is what happens everyday. If I have proved to you, as I have to myself, that everything is political, then it is not possible to get away from it all, and find personal solutions ... There is no refuge on earth, except in ignorance or self imposed flight from reality, from politics. Although perhaps there is more tragedy in these two things than any other, because if you are not aware of what is happening or what can happen. Without understanding the political and social reality, the only way to explain the happenings is by privatising and internalising and personal guilt. ...

And politics cannot be divided from economics or history. If I wake refreshed from a good sleep in the morning, it is because I have been able to rest in a comfortable bed (supplied in this society by technology) which has been equipped with a rubber mattress (compliments of the capitalists who robbed either Malaya or South America to make their profits to supply me with same), soft cotton sheets (think of the history of cotton and the slave market), warm woollen blankets (the Australian Aborigines were robbed of their land rights to make room for the sheep). And add to that the women who have been exploited on their sewing machines to make the sheets and all the workers in the textile factories (mainly women), ditto ...

The wars that are being fought in the world, the political crises that are happening in every country, to me are an extension of what is my everyday life ... I do not understand how people can think they have a 'private' life. The inter-relationship of the world economy of trade of goods, of profitability, are part of my everyday life and part of every person's life. When we talk about revolution, what I think we mean is the complete overturn of the way it all works and by overturn I so not mean the preservation of the hierarchy and changing who is on top, but the doing away with the concept of top and bottom. ... and ...

To me, at first women's liberation seemed to offer the extra dimension of adding the personal politics of such situations to the analysis of the political, economic and social reality. Now it appears to me that women's liberation could and should make the whole analysis on all dimensions. And that won't happen if we take only the one aspect, that is of personal politics played out endlessly and expanded into the whole - The Personal is Political, The Political is Personal.' Moore/Danaan papers University of Melbourne

Return to Chapter 12

Chapter 13: So What Are We Complaining About?

Author unknown: OK so you've heard it all before. OK so you're bored.

But meanwhile: We still get less pay than men for the same work as you. We are less likely to get jobs which are at all meaningful, in which we have any responsibility. We are less likely to be educated, less likely to be unionised. The present setup of the family puts great strains on us; either we are struggling to combine badly paid work with bringing up a family or we are unable to do work for which we have been trained. The area of taboo on our sexuality is much more extensive and the double standard still pervasive. Some women still never experience orgasm. So what are we complaining about?

All this and something else besides. A much less tangible something ... a smouldering bewildered consciousness with no shape ... a muttered dissatisfaction ... which suddenly shoots to the surface and EXPLODES. We want to drive buses, play football, use beer-mugs and not glasses. We want men to take the pill. We do not want to be bought with bottles or taken as wives. We do not want to be wrapped up in cellophane or sent off to make tea or shuffled onto the social committee. But these are only little things. Revolutions are made about little things. Little things, which happen to us all the time, every day, wherever you go, all your life. So we don't know how to find one another or ourselves.

We are in different classes. Thus we devour and use one another. Our 'emancipation' has been often merely the struggle of the privileged to improve and consolidate its solidarity. The women of the working class remain the exploited of the exploited, oppressed as workers and oppressed as women.

We are with families and without them. Hence we distrust one another. The woman with a home and children is suspicious of the woman with not ties, seeing her as a potential threat to her territorial security. The single woman feels the married woman is subtly critical because she is not fulfilling her role as a homemaker, her "function" as child bearer. She feels she is accused of being unable to be a woman.

THEY tell us what we should be. As we grow up, especially from puberty, we are under intensive pressure to be "acceptable" ... not to put ourselves outside the safety net of marriage. From small girls we are taught that failure means not being selected by men ... the shame of being a wallflower. The sign of intelligence and subtlety is a contractual bargain as we hand over our virginity for a marriage document, a ring and the obligation of financial support. Orgasm is a matter of merchandise. And remember THEY don't like us to be too clever. Well she might go to university but men want someone who can cook ... The cautious virtues predominate. We are in an intellectual double bind. We are assumed to have nothing to say, find it difficult to assert that we want to say something, are observed to say nothing, are assumed to have nothing to say.

To stray from the definition of what "they" want is to risk being rejected in a double sense. There is a "moral" farce behind this urge to conform. The girl who is critical of the stereotype presented to her can be condemned not simply like a boy as a rebel but as a slut as well. The latter is much more difficult to cope with. There is still the whole dirty frightening world behind the slut, tart, old slag, nymphomaniac, dolly, bird, chick, bit of stuff, bit of crumpet, old bat, silly cow, blue stocking. These words have no male equivalents.' University of Melbourne

Return to Chapter 12

Chapter 13: Women and Children in Transition (WACKIT) purposes

- A contact point for women who want to work with us to take action to try and get a fairer deal for women.
- Referrals to competent sympathetic feminist lawyers.
- Warnings against incompetent, unsympathetic 'rip-off' lawyers.
- Support through discussion with other women at our regular meetings.
- Information about Legal Aid.
- Information about the Family Law Act and the Family Court system.
- Information about court counselors and welfare officers.
- Support during court cases.
- Support, information and practical assistance to women who are being subjected to violence and intimidation within the family.
- Support for women and children involved in custody cases, including cases where women and children have been separated by the court awarding custody to the father.
- Practical assistance, support and information for women who don't want to use the legal system to settle matrimonial disputes, particularly women in danger of losing contested custody cases.
- Information about specific custody cases, particularly those involving lesbian mothers. Jo Phillips papers Melbourne University Archives

Return to Chapter 13

Chapter 13: International Women's Day (IWD)

Vashti's Voice March '74: 'Women have never had their rights given to them, they have had to gain them through struggle and revolt. This is the essence of the commemoration of International Women's Day. In Australia, one of the first struggles by women against their exploitation were those waged at the Female Factory at Parramatta. The women were transported convicts confined at the factory and used by their employers as domestics, factory workers and for sexual pleasure. Conditions in the factory were atrocious with women being starved to render them submissive to the barbaric restrictions imposed on them, and it was this that precipitated the great riot and escape at the factory in 1827 -
Lieutenant Colonel Godfrey Charles Mundy. Our Antipodes London 1852: "The Amazonian inmates amounting to 700 or 800 rose upon the guards and turnkeys and made a desperate attempt at escape by burning the building. The officer commanding the troops then occupying the stockade sent a subaltern with 100 men, half of them armed with only sticks, and an effort was made to drive the fair insurgents within one of the yards, in order to secure them. They laughed at the cane-carrying soldiers, refuting their argumentum baculinum by a fierce charge upon the gates in which one man was knocked over by a brick bat from Mrs Ajax. The military were reinforced, the magistrate made them load with ball-cartridge and the desperados were eventually subdued. This unladylike ebullition was considered, I am assured, the most formidable outbreak that ever occurred in the Colony, not even excepting that of Castle Hill in the year 1804! I believe that close-cropping of the women's hair was the prime cause of the outbreak."

It was later in the USA, however, that the significance of IWD germinated. On March 8 1908, for the first time in American history, women garment workers marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay, and improved working conditions at the factory. They were met by a hostile constabulary force who savagely beat them and arrested many of the women. The American women's agitation and protests over sweatshop conditions were not heeded until a shirt factory on New York's Lower East Side caught fire, killing several women and injuring others.

AGAINST GOD - Now the organizing of women workers spread rapidly. Two International Ladies Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) shops in New York and Philadelphia struck in Sept. 1909. Thirty two thousand workers joined the strike. Throughout a cold winter these women picketed, held mass meetings and built their union, sometimes at a rate of 1,000 a day. Again the picket lines were attacked by police and there were dozens of arrests. The courts were not sympathetic. One judge informed a striker: "You are on strike against God and Nature, whose prime law is that man shall earn his bread in the sweat of his brow. You are on strike against God." At the same in England, women were vigorously demanding the vote. They saw the connection between poor working conditions, low wages and their lack of political power. The cry became "Rise Up Women", and their tactics to introduce social change ranged from working in the countryside to defeat the Liberal Party, to marches on Parliament, and hunger strikes. The punishment and cruelty that was dealt to protesting women was unprecedented in British history. "One thing is certain" said Christobel Pankhurst, "there can be no going back for us, and more will happen if we do not get justice".

RISING MILITANCY - Throughout the world the first decade of the twentieth century saw a rising struggle and militancy among women, demanding their rights. Every defeat only served to make them more determined. Every defeat only served to make them more determined. It was the courage and inspiration given by the women garment workers of America that led to a meeting of 100 women from 17 countries in 1910 in Copenhagen to resolve that March 8 should be in future celebrated as an IWD holiday throughout the world. Since that time women of the world have united in their cities on March 8 to pay tribute to our feminist forebears and to reinforce the solidarity and struggle for women's equality and self determination.' Sally Mendes papers Melbourne University archives

Return to Chapter 13

Chapter 13: In Memoriam Anna 1947-1983

Anna was a feminist was a mother was a journalist was a trade unionist was a fighter is dead.

Anna made possibilities into realities. Anna made history/our story.
- In 1974 Anna worked for the Furnishing Trades Union. She was their Federal Research Officer and Advocate. Very pregnant, she convinced the bosses to agree to maternity leave for women workers in the furnishing trades. It was the first blue collar union to have maternity leave in an award.
-In 1975-1980 Anna worked for the Vehicle Builders Union. She was their Federal Research Officer and Advocate. She had all industrial agreements changed to read 'she' as well as 'he'. She worked against sexual harassment of women workers and won verbal agreements with the bosses to protect women from sexual harassment. She organised the "Hands Off" campaign.
- Anna was a founding member of the ACTU Women's Committee. She organised and won the battle to include sexual harassment in the ACTU Working Women's Charter.
- In 1980 Anna went to work for the Municipal Officer's Association. She was their Federal Industrial Officer. She worked to establish Women's Committees. She negotiated with the State Electricity Commission for an award variation on sexual harassment. She died before this was complete. Another woman trade unionist is completing the work. It will happen. It will be a first.

We mourn for Anna. She fought for us and with us. She inspired and encouraged us. She supported us. She endured with us and before us the double fight - the domestic and the public.

The lads in the Trade Union Movement, they have their wives. Anna had only herself - and her children and the disintegration. These Trade Union jobs, they demand all of yourself. They are founded on the unspoken patriarchal assumption that someone else looks after the important male official's domestic lives. Anna tried to be more than the one woman it needs to do your job and to live as well. But in the end she was only the one. And it wasn't enough. The lads in the Trade Union Movement, they don't like women. They concede our strength and they respect our victories but they don't like women. Not in their unions. Not in their positions. Then, they gave her hell. Not all of them but does it matter? Now, they say "she couldn't cope", "she was inadequate".

We mourn for Anna and we are frightened for ourselves. There are so few of us still. If Anna could not survive, then how can we? Where do we go to put this sorrow, this need, this desperation, this anger?

Anna must have been - in spite of all of us - so alone.

In memory of Anna, we must end this isolation.
In memory of Anna, no more of us must die - by our own hands - alone.
In memory of Anna, we must survive.

In sorrow and in love and deep respect, A feminist Trade Union Sister. Papers Melbourne Women's Liberation Newsletter May 1983 Di Fruin papers Melbourne University Archives

Return to Chapter 13

Chapter 14: Feminist Refuge Action Group petition protesting a lack of funding for incest services

To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly in the Parliament of Victoria assembled:

The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Victoria respectfully shows that we, the women of Victoria, are gravely concerned about the lack of funds provided for community based incest services for the survivors of incest and the imprisonment of children in institutions as a result of their being victims of incest.

We do therefore humbly beseech the parliament of Victoria to immediately make available a special grant of three million dollars $3,000.000 to fund community based incest services over the next twelve months. This grant should be increased annually in line with the demands for services from survivors and their non abusive family members and should allow for the immediate provision of a refuge for young women who are victims of incest.

We also believe that children must be granted at least the basic human rights afforded to other members of this society. These should include the economic, social, legal and political rights, which they are presently denied. It must also include some real choice over their 'care givers'. Children who have been imprisonment directly or indirectly because of their status as incest victims, should be recognised as political prisoners of a patriarchal state, and released immediately. We believe that under the Family Law Act alleged incest survivors should be denied custody or access to their children.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. Authorised by the Feminist Refuge Action Group

Return to Chapter 14

Chapter 14: The Rape Song - a poem

Grabbed from behind / It must be a joke
Home's just round the corner / And I do know this bloke
His kids play with mine / Go to the same school
And now he's just kidding me, / acting the fool

What's happening now? / That's hate in his eyes
"I'll hut you bad / no womanish cries"
I can't fight against him / He's ripping my clothes
Destroying me - Woman - / in the worst way he knows

He's down on me now / I don't know what to do
I thought that this man / Was one that I knew
He's also a husband, / father, son, too
Loving them all / but this hate isn't new

"Relax and enjoy!" / I used to say
Enjoy hatred and pain / Just show me the way
Sex isn't his game / He's on top
with his gun-prick / Degrade is the game

Left lying and sore / I can't lift my head
Did anyone see? / I wish I were dead
Who can I tell? / What can I say?
Will they believe me / anyway?

He's through my brain / His breath on my face
Leering and laughing / At my disgrace
My kids and my husband / What can I do?
His smell is all over me / I feel ripped in two

Picking myself up / I can't lie and cower
Wash him all off / Just shower and shower
Lie down on the bed / And cry to myself
I want to cry in your arms / Please understand - help

I can't forget him / Don't use me please
Just hold me comfort me / that's what I need
You'll have to be patient / Understand that
The nightmare sweeps over / Holding me back

I tell my best friend / She said that she knew
Of a Rape Crisis Centre / They'd help me through
I talk there with others / We understand more
Not our disgrace / Just part of the score

When men run the world / And women are put down
Where CUNT is the absolute insulting noun
A man he will rape you / To fight his own war
Against women and sex / And he's helped by law

They'll put you on trial / 'You asked for it you know'
Well WE know what's wrong / So where do we go?
We daughters, we mothers, we workers, housewives
Let's fight for some justice / Let's fight for our lives!

Mink from Women's Liberation
newsletter Aug '78.
Begun after the Easey Street murders,
which affected us all.

Return to Chapter 14

Chapter 14: Women Against Rape (WAR) Collective constitution


1. To stop rape and associated crimes, which are used as weapons of power against women.

2. To offer support, help and information to victims of rape and associated crimes. This to be in the form of -
a. A feminist counseling service, aiming to instill a continuing sense of self worth in the woman and to direct her feelings into a positive criticism of the society which produces rape, rather than into self blame.
b. Individual and group counseling on a continuing basis.
c. Back-up medical services involving venereal disease and pregnancy testing, advice and referral for termination of pregnancy and other services required.
d. Support, advice and referral for all legal mothers involved. Wherever possible the services of a women's legal service will be used.
e. Any other services which may be necessary for the woman's well-being.

3. Community education and research and evaluation of all aspects of rape and associated crimes.

4. To work for changes in general legal, medical and police practices consistent with the above.

5. To purchase or acquire any real and/or personal property and other buildings to be used for the above purposes.

6. To do all such things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.

Sections on: General; Membership; Responsibilities of the Collective; Finance; Alteration of By-laws; Winding Up; Annual Returns; Provisional Committee. Thelma Solomon papers University of Melbourne

Return to Chapter 14

Chapter 15: The National Civic Council short background

This was taken from a paper written by Muriel Heagney: 'Santamariaism versus Industrial Democracy - Anyone attempting to summarize all the salient facts relating to the impact of Santamariaism ... is doomed to frustration. The best that any writer can hope to achieve is to collate the highlights of published information from authentic sources and indicate the real purpose of this obvious neo-fascist movement in contra-distinction to that implied in the nome culture of its propaganda. ... Though founded in Europe in 1921, about the time of Mussolini's rise to power (in Italy), Catholic Action made very little progress until 1937 when, on a mandate of the Fourth Plenary Council of the Australian Hierarchy, the National Secretariat of Catholic Action was set up in Melbourne with Mr B Santamaria, as National Director, charged with the duty of research, co-ordination of national movements, and implementation of policy ...

Closely knit and capably directed by Bartholomew Santamaria ... the organisation emulated the Communist Party and became increasingly active in all States with a measure of success in various spheres. State Library of Victoria

According to the National Civic Council newsletter News Weekly, B Santamaria formed the National Civic Council (NCC) in 1941. "It is an organisation which seeks to shape public policy on cultural, family, social, political, economic and international issues of concern to Australia." http://www.newsweekly.com.au/aboutncc.html

Return to Chapter 15

Chapter 15: North East Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) purposes

Kate Gilmour: ' ... I believe this record of commitment leaves us with a major obligation .. an obligation to be clear, accurate and competent:

Clear: historians who are predominantly male have (often) named mass rape ... orgies or debaucheries, implying complicity on the part of women. The laws and regulations which remain the sole means of dispensing justice in our community ... has its origins the laws of violation of property not the violation of persons. The 13th century dictums which laid the basis of our legal system held rape to be equivalent to the stealing of a man's livestock and were designed to give the male partner redress, not the victim herself. Of course, it sound archaic and an anathema in modern day society. But many of us will recall that it was only in 1985 that the law finally explicitly accepted that a woman did not surrender her sexual rights in marriage - only three years ago was there formal acceptance that a husband did not have total dominance of his wife.

Accurate: There is too much evidence accumulated here and overseas for us to continue any pretence that sexual assault is an isolated and rare problem ... The vast majority of the perpetrators are male, the overwhelming majority of victims female ... in statistical terms the family remains the most dangerous place for women and children ... the profile of the rapist quite simply matches the profile of 'Mr Average'.

And let's not fall on easy truisms such as 'women should not go out after dark', 'women should be careful about what they wear. This is the curfew mentality which advocates the denial of access to public space and personal liberty for 51% of the population. Let's not represent strategies such as protective behaviour programs for our children as prevention. As protective strategies these programs are useful. They are not of themselves prevention not do they locate responsibility for change accurately.

Competent: Let's name as incompetent, antiquated and superseded theories which ignore the social context of sexual assault; those theories which remain blind to the significance of gender.Let's finally and openly name violence against women for what it is; a strategy of social control ... an expression of dominance not just by some amorphous, unknown and ever changing group, but rather an illicit use of power, perpetrated in the main by men ... we have no choice but to confront the reality of this male violence. The statistics for all violent crime in our society cannot be ignored. For homicide, serious assault, culpable driving, illicit use of fire arms, drunk and disorderly, gun ownership, and violence in sport - in each instance the overwhelming majority of offenders are male. It is no longer competent to treat this information as coincidental. It is fact. Nor is it in any way competent to use gender neutral language to describe the incidence of this violence. ... social control of women is exercised by and through the fear, threat and reality of violence ... it is not exceptional ... it is part of normal everyday life for women in our society. ... And women know if they ignore or respond against the joking, wolf whistles, sexual innuendo, they will be confronted with the threat of violence - a joke will turn into verbal abuse, accompanied by body language which promises the threat of physical violence.

The fear of violence is the first layer of what constitutes a de facto gender based apartheid ... This violence is maintained by ideology - 'Women deserve it', 'women ask for it', men are naturally aggressive'. It is reinforced through the media, through the entertainment industry ... maintained by material conditions - women's unequal pay, higher unemployment rates, continuing sole responsibility for child care, the sex segregation of the labour force. ... And violence is perpetuated by history and tradition, a history of silencing the truth both of individual victim's experience and the experience of women as a group ... I hope we will be able to work so effectively together for social change consistent with the elimination of sexual violence that one day, some time, we will attend, one by one, the official closings of Centres Against Sexual Assault. Kate Gilmore, CASA House Women's Liberation Newsletter No.5 1988

Return to Chapter 15

Chapter 15:1975 - The Working Women's Centre

In 1975, International Women's Year, Sylvie Shaw with other women started the first Working Women's Centre. It developed the WORKING WOMEN'S CHARTER - (ORIGINAL WORKING WOMEN'S CENTRE)

To campaign among women to take an active part in trade unions and political life, so that they may exercise influence commensurate with their numbers and to campaign among male trade unionists that they may work with women to achieve these aims:
- Everyone who wishes to work should have a right to do so.
- Elimination of all discrimination on the basis of sex, race, marital status or sexuality.
- Equal pay for work of equal value. Everyone should receive the same total emoluments, ie total wages plus other benefits.
- Equal opportunity of entry into occupations and in promotion, regardless of sex or marital status.
- Equal education opportunities.
- Equal access to vocational guidance and training including 'on-the-job' training, study and conference leave.
- Introduction of the 35 hour week, flexible hours, part-time work and reasonable shift work opportunities for all workers.
- Working conditions to be, without deterioration of previous conditions, the same for women as for men.
- Removal of legal, bureaucratic and other impairments to equality - superannuation, social security payments, credit finance, taxation, tenancies etc.
- Special attention to be paid to needs and requirements of women from ethnic communities, as they see them.
- Establishment of community based child care centres.
- Introduction of adequate paid parental (maternity and paternity) leave, without loss of job security, superannuation or promotion prospects.
- Availability of family leave - to enable time off to be taken in family emergencies, eg when children or elderly parents are ill.
- Sex education and birth control advice should be freely available to all people. Financial, social and medical restrictions to abortion should be removed.
- Study on health questions specific to women to be undertaken.

Return to Chapter 15

Chapter 16: In Our Own Hands - The Queen Victoria Hospital

The Victoria Hospital - 'By 1897 they had established a tiny outpatients department, 3 mornings a week in St David's Hall. The site was chosen because it was close to some of the poorest and most crowded areas of Melbourne. There was no water or electricity and "the doctors carried all the water they needed from an outside tap, heated it on the gas ring, used it on the jug and basin system and carried it out again.

The work with the patients sometimes lasted till 3 in the afternoon before any thought of lunch was possible, and for the rest of the day the doctors washed their own bottles and made up their stock of medicines. They collected from their friends all the bottles and pots they needed, except for the curious assortment brought by the patients, and they wrote every label by themselves by hand.' p24: 'The first dispensary was well lighted and airy, with a supply of hot and cold running water. It had a bench, a desk, pigeon holes, shelves, two doors and a special slide. Mrs Henry described her work "Work at the hospital began at 9 am. There was just an hour for one pair of hands to make final preparations for the rush of out-patients, which began at 10 am. When the new patients came along with no bottles or a quite unsuitable one, the rule was to charge 3d a bottle. Bottles of every conceivable size and shape, from small eucalyptus bottles to beer bottles, even lemonade bottles which would not stand up, were offered as medicine containers. Many had to be refused but some could be exchanged for those of the correct size.

Hot north wind Mondays seemed to bring the greatest crowd of out-patients, and the air of the waiting room would become heavy with the odour of human bodies, old clothes, and stale eucalyptus oil, as the women exchanged notes on their various symptoms to the accompaniment of babies' cries. One old chronic case, some 83 years of age, and living on the old-age pension in West Melbourne was of special interest, because she used to tell about the early days when she was a member of the Governess's Institute. She had been a handsome woman, but at that time was bent and toothless and decrepit ...

After the hospital hours were over began the serious business of cleaning up. Sometimes another kind of case had to be dealt with ... an overseas case of drugs from Sydney. This must be opened with a hammer and chisel borrowed for the purpose. When the goods were unpacked and the washed bottles were left to drain, stock bottles had to be filled with mixtures and liniments, ointments rubbed down on the slab, and powders weighed up ...' The Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital History of the First 50 Years, Gwendolen H Swinburne 1951

The Next Generation -
Thelma Fry: 'I wanted to be a pharmacist like my elder brother and hoped that something might turn up. In the meantime I helped mother at home. Then I heard that an assistant was needed to help in the dispensary at the local hospital. hoped that the experience I would gain, were I to get the job, might take the place of the current One hundred pound apprenticeship that my family could not afford. I did not dream that day, as I crunched in heavy school shoes up the gravel of the wide hospital drive, that I was approaching a major turning point in my life. This was in the early 1920's. I walked around the side of the big white building, and knocked on the door marked DISPENSARY. The door opened and a small middle-aged woman stood in the doorway ... Her figure and clothes were undistinguished but her face had an alertness that was attractive. That was the beginning of a deep and unusual friendship that lasted until her death two decades later.

Jean Henry (formerly Wollen) had never been physically strong and needed an assistant in the Dispensary. I could not have picked a better teacher, for she had been a Gold Medallist in her final year at Pharmacy College. Later I became familiar with the photograph of the successful candidates of her year which hung in the dining room wherever she lived. About forty men stood or sat in rows and in the middle sat the tiny determined figure of Jean who had beaten them all to take the medal. We liked each other immediately. ... Now the demanding but interesting job of supplying the hospital patients and out-patients with medicines, plus contact with Jean's keen mind and the books she lent me, brought me alive again. I worked hard. There were few patent medicines then; we had to make our own ointments mostly - which was often hard work; and pills; and powders which had to be scrupulously measured and folded.

Tablets were not used freely as they are now, and we had to make up the patients' prescriptions individually, except for the most common mixtures which we made up in bulk. The easiest thing was 'white draught' (epsom salts) which we mixed in a big bucket each morning for the unfortunate patients. First thing each morning after mixing the white draught there were ward baskets to be attended to: bottles filled up or replaced, rolls of cotton pads etc supplied, patients' personal prescriptions made up, bulk mixtures to be put into four, six and eight ounce bottles, labels typed or written: all at top speed for the sisters were impatient. The biggest basket of all, that of the operating theatre, had to be filled with almost all operation requirements except instruments which were the duty of nurses. When the baskets were finished and back in the wards it was time for the out-patients' cards. With the emergency requirements during the day there was not a quiet moment.

At work Jean Henry was quick and efficient, demanding total attention and accuracy. But her mind!!! ... A few months after she left me in charge, Jean Henry resigned from the hospital. To me, beside missing her almost like a mother, it was the end of a pharmacy career. Even with experience there was no opening for an apprenticeship without the impossible one hundred pounds. But in the eight months I worked with her I changed from a child, held closely in the narrow circle of a large family, to a citizen of the world, eager and longing to take my place in the future. Equal to the Occasion Collected by the Society of Women Writers (Aust) Victorian Branch, Cole Publications 1985

Chapter 16: In Our Own Hands

Chapter 18 - Caring for Country - Pine Gap Women for Survival Demonstration - Survival Kit

What to Bring:
- light sleeping bag or blankets
- foam or air mattress (if you want some comfort)
- 2 groundsheets preferably, if you don't take a tent (one to sleep on, one for shade)
- poles, light rope and pegs
- water containers (1 jerry can should be sufficient for 4-5 women)
- mosquito net
- bucket, spade or shovel, hammer, axe etc.
- torch or candle
- food and cooking utensils
- Eskies to store food
- light cotton clothing
- cool weather and rain gear
- proper walking shoes or boots
- hat (with dangling corks if wanted
- sun screen lotion
- insect repellant
- mosquito coils
- soothing cream for bites
- first aid kit
- spare parts if you travel in your own car.
We suggest women bring small camping stoves.

Return to Chapter 18

Chapter 19 - When the Women's Movement is Quiet - Healthsharing Women
Women's Health Activism - stories from the Queen Victoria Hospital to Women's Health Services today book launch

Lena McEwan: 'What I particularly thought you might be interested in today was some work that the Medical Women of Victoria and the people of the Queen Victoria Hospital did in 1965. ... We carried out a survey (published by the Medical Journal of Australia 1965) and it unearthed that by this time there were 600 medical women in Victoria. By no means were all of them practicing, and those who were practicing most, and those who were able to cope with their professional and family obligations were those who already had higher qualifications. There were remarkably few women GP's. ... The Queen Victoria medical staff and the Medical Women of Victoria ... organised the first pilot retraining course in July and August 1966. We produced women who wrote on their forms "I left medicine before penicillin". So you see nothing is new, but we've progressed a lot since then - and some of the struggles are still there.'

Bon Hull: 'In 1973 a "speak out" for women only that was held in the Assembly Hall in Collins Street was packed to overflowing. ... the dominant issue was poor health care and lack of information available to women. Many of the testimonials were unbelievably shocking, but doctors, nurses and health care workers also came to the microphone to endorse disclosures. ... The Melbourne Women's Health Collective was formed. ... The then Hospitals and Charities Commission of Victoria began placing fumbling, bureaucratic restrictions on the Collective. These restrictions were as follows: that we allow men to join the collective; insistence that we treat men as well as women; that doctors be paid on a fee-for-service basis rather than salaries; that only professional staff be employed ... Originally some women thought that we should compromise, but eventually we requested the funding which the Hospitals and Charities Commission was withholding from us be returned to Canberra, and tired, but without debts, on 24th December 1975 we closed the door on the Melbourne Women's Health Collective.'

Lyn McKenzie: '... when I was at school and the vocational guidance teacher said '"now you've filled in these things and you say you want to be a doctor. Well, first, you're a girl and secondly, they don't make left handed surgical instruments". So I thought to myself, "What do you mean they don't have women doctors - when I was four years old, down with a bout of measles, this wonderful woman came to my bedside, dressed in a tweed suit - I remember it very clearly - a tweed suit - with a shirt and a tie." And I thought "now that's the kind of woman doctor I want to be".'

Sylvia Azzopardi: 'As a confused child, trying to figure out how come it was not OK for me to look like a "dirty wog", while all the anglo kids burnt themselves to a crisp trying to get a tan, is it any wonder I came to know about racial discrimination before I could spell it? As a girl and a woman who has been moved and inspired by the tenacity, passion, stamina and creativity of the very many different women in my life, is it any wonder I want to add my voice, my energy to theirs - to yours? With regard to the development of the women's health movement, as a political voice, a fact that often goes unacknowledged is that lesbian women have been vital contributors - hopefully the official histories will not render our common knowledge of this fact invisible. Not withstanding this, in talking about the women's health movement, we are talking of a movement that is as diverse as the many thousands of women involved in it. It's also important to state that there can be no going back. Women health activists are everywhere ...

Terri Jackson: '... those of you who have come into the movement late or forgotten about it, I'd like to take you back to that because it took a lot of struggle and discussion and analysis to bring that together ... What I dream of is this ... that there are similar stories, similar interweavings of organisations and activists and people moving from one position to another, and increasingly moving out into the mainstream health services and taking that perspective and that respect for women with us.' Loddon Campaspe Women's Health Service newsletter Nov '94.

Return to Chapter 19

Chapter 19 - Moira Rainer on The Assault on Judicial Independence in Victoria

Moira Rainer: 'The Victorian Supreme Court has ceased to be a court of general review. This has significantly compromised its constitutional status and ended citizen's rights to challenge executive acts. The executive arm of government has taken to amending the Victorian Constitution when it is convenient to do so.

The Constitution requires the government to give formal notice of its intention, and the minister introducing the Bill must give a statement of the reasons for the amendment. These statements have become rote: convenience, government policy, preventing delays through legal challenges, or claims that no "real" rights are endangered anyway - in which case, as the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee asked, why does the government need to make changes at all?

In early 1995 Jeff Kennett (Premier of Victoria) announced that he would make funds available for Albert Park residents whose property was damaged by compaction works associated with the Grand Prix if he was personally satisfied that their claims were "reasonable". A premier's opinion - even the Victorian premier's - is no substitute for a properly constituted judicial inquiry: government funds should not be distributed at anyone's discretion. To petition for the personal patronage of the chief minister of state is to exchange a fundamental principle of the rule of law for the favour of a medieval lord.' pp 139-40 Rooting Democracy Allen & Unwin '1997

Return to Chapter 19


The UN has defined people trafficking in the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (called the Palermo Protocol) as follows:

Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subpara A. of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subpara A. have been used. The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered trafficking in persons even if it does not involve any of the means set forth in subpara A. "Child" shall mean any person under eighteen years of age.

The key elements of trafficking are the movement of a person; that this movement is brokered by another person through abduction, deception or coercion; and that the movement is for the purpose of exploitation.

Return to Chapter 19

Chapter 19: ROMAWATI SENAGA talk at our 'World Economic Forum' People's Conference

Geraldine Robertson: 'On Saturday 9 September 2000, about four hundred people attended a 'People's Conference'. This was organised by Public First and took place at Victoria University, Melbourne. It was to be our alternative to the World Economic Forum held across the river at Crown Casino from 11-13 September ... One of our speakers was -

Romawati Senaga, Indonesian Trade Unionist and Officer for the 'National Front for Workers' Struggle': 'Thank you for the introduction. Let me just try to describe the contradiction which is happening in the 'third world' countries, especially my country, Indonesia, about the need for foreign investment, and what has been its impact on our country. It is true, because of the crisis, our country needs the support. Our country needs foreign investment so we can develop economic growth. We need foreign investment so we can get economic recovery. That is a requirement so our country can get out of deep crisis.

But, at the same time, when the foreign investment comes to our country, the people, our workers, have to pay - as Julianto mentioned* - with very low wages. Secondly, there is the long period of working hours. The government talks about only forty hours per week. The workers have to do over fifty hours a week as well as compulsory overtime. These are some things we, the workers, have to pay whenever we want to get foreign investment to come to Indonesia. We also have to face the threat about freedom of association. You may know that during the thirty two years of our government there has been no trade union allowed except the union set up by the government. Now there is an emerging independent trade union movement to oppose this government established union, because we want to establish more democratic space in Indonesia. That is the contradiction.

Foreign investment doesn't create prosperity, it doesn't create the wealth they always claim. This is propaganda. What happened to our workers is - they used to be intimidated and they had to suffer from low wages. Because of the crisis, because of the funding given by the international financial institutions, now our people, now our workers, also suffer from the cuts in social subsidies. If the current wages can only cover 70% to 80% of minimum living costs, because the government cut the social subsidies on food and electricity the workers can only cover about 50% of their minimum living costs.

How are you supposed to hope that these workers can go on? That these people can afford to live? This is the situation which is now happening in Indonesia. Many people, more than eighty million people, live under the poverty line. Many children are pressured to be the child labourer under very bad working conditions. Many children have to leave school - they can't afford school any more because the government keeps cutting the education subsidy. Is this what we get from foreign investment? Is this what we get from the funding given to our government? And also, in the future, we will face intimidation from the military, because now government raised the amount spent on the military. This is also approved by the international institutions. In the future, although our government may try to create democratic space, still the military will deeply interfere in our lives. And again, this is approved by the big employers, the international capitalists, because they want their foreign investment to be safe in our country. There is no social unrest but how do you wish there is no social unrest when people are suffering, people are starving, people are dying? This is something we have to be concerned about.

It is not just about what is happening in Indonesia, it is not just about what is happening in Australia. I do believe you are facing the same crisis, the trade unions are also being attacked, they are trying to reduce the work of the trade unions. I believe you also face declining wages and increasing living costs. We all face the same situation. We only have different levels of crisis. What I want to say is that this is not about nationalism. This is about global capital that recognizes no other, the global capitalists, and they want to exploit us; they want to take our rights. They want to take everything they can from us. So, as Julianto said, "we want your support, we need your support." Now we are facing a US$150 billion debt. It is a private debt which has already been changed by our government to become a public debt, and all Indonesian people have to pay for it.

A new baby, when born, already has about $500 Australian in debt. This is what is happening in Indonesia. Australia is one of the big contributors to the International Monetary Fund. The bad working conditions Julianto described didn't only happen in Nike. All the Indonesian workers face the same problem. We have to remember this. It is important to campaign about what is happening in Nike, but what about the other workers? What about the peasants who lost everything because they could not compete with the cheaper imported goods? Because our government released the tariffs on imported goods?

So, again, two hundred million people in Indonesia need your support - for you to work to cancel our debt, for you to put pressure on our government to make them amend the regulations so they can protect the rights of workers, so they can increase our wages so we can afford living costs, so we have freedom of association, so there is no military who interferes with the people, so there is no military who sits in the Parliament. We face the World Economic Forum so, please, we must not only raise issues which are happening in Australia, but all the issues that are just the same in other countries.

We have to oppose them. We have to say "stop exploiting all of us. Thank you very much." Speaking Out Against Globalisation - A Handbook, compiled and introduced by Geraldine Robertson pub Public First PO Box 2288 Fitzroy 3066 2000

*Julianto's Appeal: ' ... Nike claims they have good conditions, but this is a lie. Nike says wages are just, but they are too low to live on. Nike says they have safe conditions, but every week at least one worker loses a part of a finger in a dangerous machine. Nike says they recognise the right of workers to meet and form unions, but what actually happens is, if they organise meetings, workers are threatened and intimidated.

Return to Chapter 19