Apr 24, 2018

The forgotten Anzac Day protests of the ’80s

The 1980s heralded a swell of protests highlighting the treatment of women in war, and the role of rape as a weapon. Decades later, the problem is still invisible.

Meredith Burgmann

Writer and former Labor MLC

Activists arrested at the 1981 Anzac Day protest (ACT Heritage Library)

As I watched the ABC news doing its obligatory "preparations for Anzac Day" story I saw those huge concrete bollards being positioned across George Street and momentarily thought, "Gee, it would be hard to get across those".

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5 thoughts on “The forgotten Anzac Day protests of the ’80s

  1. Angela

    Thank you Crikey, and Meredith Burgmann, for your excellent pieces about Anzac Day. While Paul Keating was Prime Minister, I attended Anzac Day ceremonies, but I have subsequently found them to be intolerable, because of the untruthful mythologising which underpins them.

  2. AR

    This is the sort of history that I wish MzRaz would read.
    And, perchance, understand.

  3. Andrea

    I pay my respects to the diggers who fought for our freedom, to the traditional owners of our country, and to all the feminists before me who have fought to give me the freedoms I so enjoy today. The fight continues!!!

  4. warwick fry

    A lot of unwritten history here. A looming confrontation in Caberra was avoided that year when local member Ken Fry (a WWII veteran)came to an agreement with police to be allowed to lay a wreath for WAR (Women Against Rape in War) at the War Memorial to avoid a threatened confrontation. He was nevertheless temporarily expelled from the RSL until he won a defamation claim. During the laying of the wreath his daughter Kerry, was threatened with arrest even though she was not participating in any activity. Ken’s wife, Audrey intervened, declaring herself a veteran of WWII and challenging the officer to arrest her, if he wanted to go ahead and arrest her daughter. Something seriously wrong with police culture when officers feel they can arrest people on political cultural or ideological grounds. I am sure there are many more untold stories out there. Thanks Meredith.

  5. John of Alphington

    Great account and it seems such a long time ago now. Something has changed in this country. Nobody would have the guts today.
    (And good to see “rounds of the kitchen” get a run!)

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