Vietnam: How we won last time

by Anne Picot • Published 14 April 2020

For anti-war activists in early 1991, the experiences of the Vietnam era were a constant reference point. This was logical, not only because some people marching were veterans of those earlier struggles, but because the movement against the Vietnam War was an overwhelming success. Not only did it win the battle against Australia’s imperialist intervention in Asia, but it contributed to a wider radicalisation of society.

The Menzies-led conservative government offered Australian troops to the American administration as an inducement to stay in South-East Asia, to play imperialist policeman.[1] On 30 April 1965 Menzies announced he was sending a battalion to help defend the Republic of South Vietnam from “invasion” by the Communist North Vietnamese. This followed the reintroduction of conscription the previous November. From the beginning, the issues of the nature of the war in Vietnam, the role of Australian troops and sending conscripts to fight there formed the core of arguments which radicalised a generation.

When Menzies announced Australia’s contribution the political climate was very different from today’s. Cold War attitudes dominated. The Red Menace of Communism was seen lurking behind every strike and every incident which threatened Western imperialism in the Asian region. The very words “Communist invasion” was enough to whip the mainstream press into frenzies of rabid war-mongering. This is how the Brisbane Courier-Mail urged the government on:

Australia’s stake in what started out as a Red-engineered dirty little civil war is this: if Communism takes over in Vietnam, then Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia will surely be swallowed, too, in time. We could be next.[2]

Overwhelmingly the public supported the decision. The level of class struggle was low. Both the Labor Party and the Communist Party, which dominated the left, were thrown on the defensive by Menzies’ redbaiting. The ALP, which had split over the very issue of fighting Communist influence in the unions ten years earlier, was demoralised under the lame-duck leadership of Arthur Calwell. The CPA was extremely Stalinist and, in keeping with the prevailing attitudes, very conservative. The tiny minority which opposed the government’s decision was very isolated.

Sydney University students called a meeting against conscription in November 1964 which set up one of the first anti-war organisations, “Youth Campaign Against Conscription (YCAC).[3] A group called Save Our Sons (SOS) organised one of the earliest demonstrations at Sydney’s Central Station on 30 June 1965 to farewell the first intake of conscripts to training camp. Save Our Sons was set up by women influenced by the CPA’s opposition to the war, who opposed “the conscription of their sons for the slaughter in Vietnam”.[4] The participants at these earliest gatherings numbered in the hundreds.

The left unions also responded. Melbourne Waterside Workers’ Federation members walked off the job in protest against the government’s decision and 500 seamen and wharfies demonstrated outside the US consulate in Brisbane.[5] The wharfies and the Building Workers’ Industrial Union had protested or held stoppages opposing US actions in Vietnam even before the Australian government’s decision. This pressured the ACTU to adopt an anti-war position, though ACTU president Albert Monk made it clear it would not sanction actions which might “prevent passage of troops or conveyance of materials for use by Australian troops in South Vietnam”.[6] Subsequently Monk’s pronouncement was used to block authorising any strike action against the war.

The ALP steered a fine line between opposing conscription and the commitment of Australian troops to Vietnam and supporting the American alliance. The ALP left strongly opposed Menzies’ policy, while the parliamentary party generally was more equivocal, particularly on the issue of Australian withdrawal. The leadership battle between Calwell and Gough Whitlam pushed Calwell to seek support from his home branch of Victoria (the most left wing branch) and the left in general. Calwell personally was also vehemently opposed to conscription – at one rally he told a heckler: “You are beyond military age. I will not allow you or Holt or Menzies or anyone to plunge your arthritic hands wrist deep in the blood of Australian youth”.[7] Calwell’s increasing need for left support created a certain space for the anti-conscription and anti-war movement in the first two years, especially in the context of a Federal election campaign.

The anti-conscription and anti-war movement burst onto the national scene with an advertisement in the Australian on 19 June 1965:

We believe we may be sent to fight in Vietnam in a war which is opposed by such world leaders as Pope Paul and thousands of the world’s churchmen – the Prime Ministers of India and Canada, and most of the world’s governments… This would be a moral wrong and an unjust call upon our lives by the Government of our country.

One hundred and forty-four young men signed the ad and called on people to join the register of protest. Hundreds did, so YCAC groups sprang up in every state. They and SOS called meetings, protest rallies, teach-ins, public draft card burnings and vigils outside the home of the new prime minister, Harold Holt. In March 1966, some Melbourne University students sat down in the middle of the Moomba parade and a number were arrested. The tactic caught on. Sydney students tried it, the police arrested a number and roughed them up. In Brisbane police broke up students’ attempts to march with “an unprovoked attack”.[8] While the violence of the police shocked students, it alarmed ALP activists leading most of the YCAC groups, who felt that confrontation with police would not help the ALP’s electoral chances. Pinning their hopes on an ALP victory as the way to end conscription and Australia’s involvement in the war led these activists to oppose militancy, and throw their energy into the election campaign.[9]

In May 1966 seamen banned the ship Boonaroo which the government had chartered to carry war supplies. They objected to the employment of civilians in a war which the union movement formally opposed. Other unions including WWF officials condemned the ban for endangering Australian troops, and the seamen were forced to back down because of their lack of support.[10] At this stage the anti-war movement was far too small to support workers’ industrial action in the face of opposition from union officials.

In a cynical bid to bolster his election chances, Holt brought US President Johnson to Australia in October. Large crowds came out to greet him and there were violent clashes with police which went into student radical mythology. NSW Premier Askin became notorious for his response, “Ride over the bastards”, to students lying in the road of the Johnson motorcade. Police violence pushed a layer of students into questioning the role of the state and was an important factor in their radicalisation.[11] Another significant factor was the election result. Calwell made conscription and Vietnam the election issue, YCAC and SOS threw themselves into the campaign – but there was a landslide victory for the conservatives. This devastated the movement and YCAC virtually collapsed, but it also ruled out the electoral strategy for stopping the war, at least for the time being.

In fact the movement did not die. On the contrary, eliminating the electoral option created a space for more radical politics. One critical factor was the response of the layer of activists, primarily students, who had been radicalised by their experiences in the movement. This layer was drawn from the rapidly expanding population on the campuses. As in other advanced capitalist countries, the Australian ruling class moved to lift the educational level of the workforce, so the number of university students jumped from around 30,000 at the beginning of the decade to more than 100,000 by the mid 1970s. Facilities did not keep pace with the explosion in student population, in contrast to the rising affluence of society. This coincided with the development of a specific youth culture and an atmosphere of youth in rebellion against the older generation. Students’ expectations of what campus life should be like clashed with the changing role of the university, which was increasingly geared to mass production of an educated workforce. The campuses were also a base for the “new left” in Australia, whose ideas connected with both the idealism of many students and the rejection by a minority of the existing political parties, including the old left.[12]

Another factor was the government’s determined commitment to the war. In the summer of 1966-67 they brought South Vietnamese leader Air Vice-Marshall Ky to Australia. Activists responded with sizeable demonstrations, particularly in Sydney. For the first time slogans calling for victory to the National Liberation Front (of Vietnam) were raised. (The CPA opposed these and attempted to ban NLF flags from demonstrations.[13]) By the middle of 1967 a core of students in the Monash University Labor Club decided to support the victims of American aggression directly – trying to halt the war was not enough, particularly as they felt that the anti-war movement had run out of ideas.[14] After days of debate the Labor Club voted to set up a committee to collect funds for the NLF. All hell broke loose.

The press, the government, the RSL and the ALP condemned the action as treason, and the Monash Vice-Chancellor banned the collection. The government moved to outlaw aid to the NLF or any body likely to be opposed to the Australian Defence Forces in Vietnam, a move supported by the ALP in Parliament. The hysterical reaction galvanised the whole anti-war campaign, which polarised around the question. The action of the Monash Vice-Chancellor drew hundreds more students into the struggle, particularly after he threatened to discipline the “ring-leaders”. A general meeting of over one thousand students supported the right of the Labor Club to collect aid and declared its opposition to the war.[15]

The Labor Club’s action pulled the political climate on campus to the left and with it the anti-war movement. As Albert Langer, a leading member of the club, pointed out in a recent television documentary, being a radical in the movement meant collecting funds for military aid. Being a moderate meant opposing the war and collecting funds for medical aid.[16] This made it easier for people to oppose the war, while at Monash a new layer of students was drawn into political activity around the war and the question of student rights. For Labor Club activists the ALP’s support for the government’s legislation was the last straw. A number of them broke from the Labor Party and embraced revolutionary politics. The ideas of anti-imperialism entered the student anti-war movement, which hitherto had opposed the war primarily on a moral basis. The new layer of students were an audience for these ideas, and while they might not collect funds for the NLF themselves, they were prepared to defend the rights of those who did. On other campuses students began collecting funds for the NLF and thanks to the defiance of Monash students, the government was never game to prosecute anyone for aiding the enemy.

If opposition to the war was still in a minority on the campuses, outside them, public opinion had hardened in favour of Australian involvement. When seamen banned another supply ship carrying munitions the rest of the union movement refused to support them. Nonetheless the seamen’s action forced the government to crew the ships with naval personnel. There had been a small shift in the union movement in favour of action against the war. In Queensland six unions banned the aircraft used by Marshall Ky during his visit. Wharfies walked off in support of a worker disciplined for refusing to load bombs onto one of the banned ships in Sydney.[17] At the end of 1967 the anti-war movement was still seen as ratbag students and a few Communist union officials without the social weight to draw large numbers of workers into the struggle. But the following year, things were to change.

1968 was the year class struggle took off internationally. Australian student leaders were very much aware of developments in the student movement in the United States and Europe,[18] but the majority of students were not. However the leading role of students in the revolutionary upheaval in May in Paris was an inspiration to the Australian student population and made it easier to mobilise them. For the anti-war movement the first portent of the future was the NLF’s Tet Offensive in February. By reaching the centre of Saigon, to the edge of the US embassy compound, the NLF served notice that the war was unwinnable for the Americans. In Australia it inspired the revolutionary elements of the antiwar movement to new militancy and helped revive the anti-conscription campaign. In February the new Draft Resistance Movement announced:

The DRM has not been formed to oppose conscription, it has been formed to wreck it. We are opposed to the war in Vietnam and we intend to resist the conscription of Australian youth for this war by all available means.[19]

Previously draft resisters had taken individual action leading to the jailing of several young men, but the DRM campaigned to get people to refuse to register and to resist the Act collectively. DRM staged demonstrations and sit-ins at federal government offices. This encouraged campus anti-war groups to greater militancy, in part because peaceful gatherings of the candle-lit vigil style were not working.

Increasingly, many students felt frustrated by pacifist tactics after three years of peaceful demonstrations and no end to the war in sight. The turning point was a demonstration in Canberra. Militant students sat down in the road outside the prime minister’s residence, the Lodge, and were arrested. The police drove up with the paddy wagon, held the door open and called “next please” and the demonstrators got in.[20] Students went back to Melbourne arguing that violence was necessary, that it was the only way to get their message across. Harry Van Moorst from Melbourne University said in the television documentary Power to the People that he remembered the Melbourne University Pacifist Society debating whether or not to throw rocks at the 4 July demonstration outside the US Consulate.

However it seems unlikely that anyone who went to the 4 July 1968 demonstration had any idea what was going to happen.[21] For several hours a pitched battle raged between the 4,000-strong crowd and mounted police, as the militants attempted to storm the building. Fifty-five people were arrested, and 1,500 marched to Russell Street Police Station in solidarity. Baton charges were used to break up the crowd and the battle raged into the night. The Melbourne Age reported: “For the first time in 25 years mounted troopers last night were ordered at full canter into violent crowds in front of the US Consulate”. Far from being intimidated, the movement responded with demonstrations at the court hearings of those charged. Police violence became a radicalising issue, and created an audience for ideas which linked the violence of the state with Australian involvement in Vietnam.[22]

The Sydney student papers reported similar incidents at demonstrations and occupations of recruiting offices. 1968 was the year that for the first time a majority of students at Sydney University opposed the military commitment to Vietnam, while 75 percent opposed sending conscripts.[23] The shift in student attitudes put pressure on academics to move publicly. The first sign was a Melbourne campaign, in which prominent academics took part, to hand out leaflets urging young men not to register for the draft, an illegal action under the Commonwealth Crimes Act. More and more students came to the steps of the Melbourne GPO as the ones before them were arrested. At the end of the week more than five hundred people were handing out illegal leaflets and a hundred were arrested, including academics and left politicians like Jim Cairns. Many refused to pay fines and went to jail. Under pressure of more and more people crowding the jails the Melbourne City Council repealed the By-Law in April.

The tactic of handing out “Don’t Register” leaflets spread to other states, accompanied by demonstrations, flying sit-ins and more arrests.[24] In June 1969 three Sydney University academics publicly called on young men not to register. No action was taken against them, despite threats from the Minister for National Service, and 500 more academics signed a public statement of incitement.[25] The tide was turning against the war. The length of time it had gone on, the relentless television coverage, the emerging realisation that the NLF could not be defeated, news of US atrocities like the My Lai massacre, as well as the anti-war movement itself, shifted opinion against it. At the end of 1968 the Morgan Gallup polls were showing only 49 percent favoured continuation of Australia’s involvement. Support continued to fall through 1969, with a sharp drop in August to 40 percent in favour, and an enormous jump in the numbers who supported withdrawal of Australian troops (from 40 percent to 55 percent).[26]

A key factor in the shift of public opinion was the increased level of class struggle in Australia. The resurgence began in 1967 and 1968, hence the small actions taken by the seamen and the wharfies. In May 1969 there was a qualitative leap after the successful defence of Tramways union official Clarrie O’Shea and the defeat of the arbitration system’s penal powers by a political general strike. While workers had long been active in the anti-war movement as individuals, the rise in confidence set the stage for working class involvement on an organised basis. The greater weight this gave the movement is evident in the fact that Arthur Calwell addressed the 1969 4th of July demonstration, before it marched down to the US Consulate for a replay of the battle of the previous year. Forty-five were arrested and again the police violence shocked those demonstrating for the first time. However the only person who actually went to trial from the 1968 demonstration was Albert Langer. His trial, which coincided with the 1969 demonstration, was followed by students with keen interest. The trial became a farce and Langer’s demolition of police evidence further boosted the morale of student activists.[27]

By this point the militancy of the students was starting to infect the unions, particularly in Victoria where the left unions had been expelled from the Trades Hall Council and thus freed from the restraining weight of the right wing. While Communist union officials had long been involved in the anti-war movement (speaking at meetings and supporting public statements of defiance of the National Service Act) it was not until the level of class struggle rose that unions began to organise actively in the movement. In August, Sydney waterside workers walked off over handling a supply ship for Vietnam – the same issue that the seamen had been so isolated on two years earlier.[28] Then in September the son of metal trades union official Laurie Carmichael was due to appear in court on a charge of failing to report for a medical examination for National Service. Just before he entered the court, supporters smuggled him away and scuffles broke out with police, who arrested both his parents. When they appeared in court a week later, one thousand workers from the Williamstown Naval Dockyard downed tools and came out in support.[29] The case was adjourned indefinitely. Laurie Carmichael Jr stayed “underground” for a week, a tactic adopted by other draft resisters the following year. The incident encouraged other left unions to offer public support to draft resisters and laid the basis for their support for the Moratorium in 1970. After draft resister Brian Ross was jailed, two hundred shop stewards from the Victorian “rebel” unions issued a call to mutiny:

We encourage those young men already conscripted to refuse to accept orders against their conscience, and those in Vietnam to lay down their arms in mutiny against the heinous barbarism perpetrated in our name upon the innocent, aged, men, and women and children.[30]

There was an immediate right wing outcry, joined in by ALP leader, Gough Whitlam. ACTU president Bob Hawke, who had been at the meeting earlier, dissociated himself and the ACTU from the call. But no-one present was ever prosecuted. Prosecuting militant shop stewards after the Clarrie O’Shea case was a different matter from pursuing individual twenty-year old draft resisters. The action of the Victorian unions and the national maritime unions put pressure on the ACTU, which in November approved union action in opposition to the war.[31]

The stage was now set for the mass mobilisations people remember best – the Moratorium marches. It is important to recognise that these occurred after five years of meetings, rallies and demonstrations to build and sustain a movement. The Moratorium marches could not have taken place before the sharp shift in public opinion which that sustained effort helped bring about. The movement had acquired sufficient weight to win the support of the Victorian unions, who actively built the May 1970 Moratorium march, as well as the backing of left Labor MPs. With Whitlam firmly in control of Caucus, the left MPs looked to other arenas which the Moratorium movement provided.[32] Jim Cairns became chairman of the Victorian Moratorium Committee. The support of the Labor politicians helped root the movement in the working class as well as lending it a certain respectability.

The Moratorium movement aimed for national mobilisations against the war, following the American example of October 1969 and spurred on by the extension of the war into Cambodia and the shooting of students at the US university of Kent State. The Federal election result of 1969 which returned the conservatives with a greatly decreased majority also gave heart to the movement. The swing to Labor demonstrated a growing anti-war mood, while the return of Gorton nevertheless ensured that a parliamentary solution for the war was not on the horizon. Hence the attraction of street protests, the tactic of the students and the draft resisters. Moratorium committees were set up in every state, bolstered by the support of 74 State and Federal ALP politicians. The aim was “a halt to business as usual as a means of protesting the war”.[33]

In Victoria the committee meetings saw fiery debate between Maoist students and draft resisters on one side, and the Communist Party and Disarmament (CICD) movement supporters on the other. The CPA and the Disarmament people argued they could broaden the appeal of the movement by confining demands to the insipid slogan “Peace now”, a demand the government could have supported. The Monash Maoists wanted the focus to be “Smash US imperialism”, arguing that the march should go to the US consulate. The draft resisters called for more emphasis on the conscription issue.[34] In fact there were problems with all of these positions. The CPA position tailed the right wing of the movement, while the Maoists were ultra-left and called for uncritical support for the Stalinist NLF. The heavy emphasis on US imperialism fostered the left nationalist view that Australia had been dragged into the war by politicians in the pockets of the Americans, and thus failed to expose Australia’s own imperialist interests in the region. The anti-conscription struggle ignored Australian troops serving in Vietnam, who were never affected by the anti-war movement the way they were in the US. On the other hand the relative freedom of debate was one of the movement’s strengths.

The Moratorium movement took off, with community groups, church groups, schools and, most significantly, unions organising to build the march. The Victorian “rebel” unions elected a full-time organiser to work for the Moratorium who set up job meetings, put out leaflets for the march to the members and publicised it in their journal, Scope.[35] The Friday and Saturday of the Moratorium, 8 and 9 May, saw many tens of thousands rally. By far the biggest mobilisation was in Melbourne where the crowd was estimated at 100,000, far exceeding the most optimistic hopes of organisers. The much lower turn out in Sydney, around 25,000, reflects the lower participation by the union movement due to the hostility of John Ducker, leader of the Labor Council and ALP Right.[36] Thousands marched in other capital cities and in some large rural centres.

The government’s immediate response was to promise partial troop withdrawals (under the pretext of supporting US President Nixon’s Vietnamisation policy) but not complete disengagement. The government also proposed to provide a civilian alternative to military service. The Australian greeted this as “Mr Snedden builds a salt mine” (Snedden was National Service minister).[37] The government did not proceed with the proposal. Four draft resisters responded by publicly burning their draft cards at a rock concert for the Moratorium on 10 May. On 20 June the Draft Resisters Union (DRU) was formed with the aim of forcing the repeal of the National Service Act The DRU injected fresh militancy into the “Don’t Register” campaign and the anti-war mobilisations.[38]

The Moratorium movement set about organising another national mobilisation in September 1970. The militancy of the movement in Victoria inspired the forthright stand of the local ALP – its conference expressed “warm approval” and encouraged “all young Australians to refuse to be conscripted to fight in the dirty war in Vietnam”.[39] However the size of the Victorian Moratorium march did not put an end to police violence. When La Trobe University students attempted to build support for the 1 September mobilisation with a local street march, they were savagely attacked by police. Far from intimidating students (as the police intended) the violence politicised a wider layer and shifted them sharply to the left. After the main march they returned to their local area with the support of members of the Builders Labourers’ Federation, wharfies’ and plumbers’ unions, determined to defy police. The police beat a tactical retreat.[40]

The last big mobilisation took place in June 1971 when an estimated 80,000 marched in Melbourne. Four underground draft resisters addressed the crowd and escaped arrest, protected by the huge number of supporters.[41] The tactic of going “underground” – of draft resisters hiding from police to escape arrest but appearing at carefully selected public occasions – had been adopted by the DRU after some debate. Although it required considerable resources to sustain, this was better than the demoralising impact of seeing the movement’s leaders jailed. The DRU pulled off some spectacular stunts such as the appearance of a prominent resister on national television. This was also the period of militant raids on government offices to “liberate” National Service files. Public appearances by resisters continued to mobilise people, particularly students, right up to the time that prime minister Gorton announced the complete withdrawal of troops in December 1971.

Gorton’s decision has to be placed in the context of American withdrawal, which was forced by the combination of the heroic resistance of the national liberation forces and the strength of the anti-war movement at home. Nonetheless the decision was a victory for the Australian anti-war movement. The decisive shift in public opinion and the massive mobilisations against the war forced the government’s hand. Yet they refused to back down on the National Service Act, draft resisters continued to be prosecuted, and there were resisters still in jail at the end of 1972 when Labor came to power. While public opinion had always opposed sending conscripts to Vietnam, it remained in favour of national service per se and so the government felt free to attack draft resisters.[42]

Conscription remained an issue and the war still raged on after the Gorton decision took much of the momentum out of the movement. Many activists migrated to other causes, taking with them the militancy and the politics they had learned in the anti-war movement. A prime example was the national mobilisation against the tour of the South African rugby team in 1971, which reached heights of militancy and union action not seen even in the anti-war movement and which, despite unprecedented state intervention, wrecked the tour. The anti-war movement gave birth to a new, revolutionary left and to new movements inspired by issues such as women’s liberation and homosexual rights.

In 1972 many activists threw themselves into the campaign to elect Labor. With the dilemma of whether or not to support Australian withdrawal from Vietnam no longer an issue, the Federal ALP promised to end conscription and free jailed resisters. But they did it without repealing the National Service Act. By this stage the anti-war movement was largely finished, although unions took action against the United States over the bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong at the end of 1972.[43]

The victory of the anti-war movement has important lessons for today, not least concerning public opinion. There were always two strategies contending for dominance in the movement: one focused on alliances with respectable leaders such as churchmen; the other argued for militancy and mass mobilisations as the way to involve the greatest number of people. Led by the Communist Party, the right wing regarded the militancy of the student wing as a threat to both their control of the movement and to the task of building a broad campaign. Fortunately they did not control events on the campuses, where revolutionaries could get a hearing amongst thousands of students. Students initiated meetings, demonstrations and marches which kept large numbers of people constantly involved in activity and debates, and maintained openings for new people to join the movement. Student papers reported almost weekly marches in 1968 and 1969. The repressive response of university authorities to the radicals’ activities drew more students and eventually academics into the movement, around civil liberties issues of free speech and freedom to demonstrate. This, combined with the length of the war, the determined resistance of the Vietnamese and the impact of television coverage, and underpinned by the rising level of class struggle, engineered the shift in public opinion which made the Moratorium movement possible. Public opinion polls showing that much of the public remained hostile to the demonstrators and the draft resisters did not prevent that same public from being gradually influenced by the issues they raised.[44]

Thus militancy was no barrier to shifting public opinion, nor to building a mass movement. On the contrary, it drew people in, particularly the young. And while international developments and a changing social climate in Australia were essential for the movement’s success, militant interventions tipped the balance at crucial points. The fighting response to Ky’s visit and the decision to collect funds for the NLF helped revive the movement after the 1966 election defeat. The explosion of campus and industrial struggle in 1968-69 gave it a huge boost. While the big Moratorium marches of 1970 and 1971 marked the final triumph of the anti-war movement, they could never have been achieved had not a militant minority been prepared earlier to stand and fight without concern for its “respectability”.

[1] See Michael Sexton’s War for the Asking, Penguin, Melbourne, 1981 and Tom O’Lincoln’s article in this issue.

[2] Courier-Mail, 19 April 1965.

[3] Michael Hamel-Green, “The Resisters”, in Peter King (ed.), Australia’s Vietnam, Allen & Unwin, Sydney 1983, p107.

[4] Quoted by Hamel-Green, p108.

[5] M.J. Saunders, “The Trade Unions in Australia and Opposition to Vietnam and Conscription: 1965-73”, in Labour History, 43, Sydney, 1982, p65.

[6] Quoted by Saunders, p65.

[7] Quoted by Kim Beazley, “Federal Labor and the Vietnam Commitment”, in King (ed.), Australia’s Vietnam, p49.

[8] Bob Scates, Draftmen Go Free, published by the author, Melbourne, 1988, p17.

[9] Hamel-Green, The Resisters, p108.

[10] Saunders, “The Trade Unions in Australia”, p67.

[11] See Michael Hyde, It is Right to Rebel, The Diplomat, Canberra, 1972, p10.

[12] See C.A. Rootes, “The development of radical student movements and their sequelae”, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 3, (2), 1988.

[13] See Hyde, It is Right to Rebel, p21.

[14] ibid., p22. It has been suggested that this may have more been the case in Melbourne than in Sydney.

[15] ibid., p25.

[16] Interview with Albert Langer in the documentary Power to the People, Catherine Shirley, 1990.

[17] Saunders, “The Trade Unions in Australia”, p69.

[18] For example, the Students for a Democratic Society group which appeared at Sydney University in 1967 consciously followed the American SDS; see Rootes, “The development of radical student movements”, p177.

[19] Quoted by Hamel-Green, “The Resisters”, p113.

[20] See Barry York’s account in Student Revolt, Nicholas Press, Canberra, 1989, p66.

[21] Actually the Monash Labor Club newsletter, Print, did warn students about police brutality, telling them to come protected, leather clothing and helmets recommended. No. 22, 4 July 1968.

[22] See for example the comment by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) newsletter Marchons of 31 October 1968 after another clash with the Melbourne police: “The Vietnam Co-ordinating Committee does not want violent demonstrations, but neither does it want demonstrations victimised by a Police Force that treats demonstrations as a social evil that must be stamped out at all costs, rather than as the democratic right of all Australians.”

[23] See Rowan Cahill’s article, “One History of ’68”, Honi Soit, March 1969.

[24] Hamel-Green, “The Resisters”, p114.

[25] Scates, Draftmen Go Free, p42.

[26] Murray Goot and Rodney Tiffen, “Public opinion and the politics of the polls”, in King (ed.), Australia’s Vietnam, p135.

[27] See Hyde, It is Right to Rebel, p84.

[28] Saunders, “The Trade Unions in Australia”, p69.

[29] See the account in Scates, Draftmen Go Free, pp44-5, which reports the attacks made by the press on the unionists’ demonstration and their response, which forced a retraction from the Melbourne Herald.

[30] Quoted in Hamel-Green, “The Resisters”, pp116-7.

[31] Saunders, “The Trade Unions in Australia”, p69.

[32] See Beazley, “Federal Labor and the Vietnam Commitment”, p51.

[33] Hamel-Green, “The Resisters”, p118.

[34] Scates, Draftmen Go Free, p57.

[35] Saunders, “The Trade Unions in Australia”, p74.

[36] See Saunders’ comments, p80.

[37] See the account in Scates, Draftmen Go Free, pp52-3.

[38] Scates, p22.

[39] Quoted by Scates, p59.

[40] See York, Student Revolt, p94ff for a full account.

[41] See Hamel-Green, “The Resisters”, p123.

[42] See Goot and Tiffen, “Public opinion and the politics of the polls”, p164.

[43] Saunders, “The Trade Unions in Australia”, p76.

[44] See Goot and Tiffin, “Public opinion and the politics of the polls”, p164.

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