1.   overwork, economic deprivation and ill–health
2.   1880’s melbourne tailoresses strike
3.   and also …
4.   1885 the victorian lady teachers’ association
5.   1895 anti sweating leagues
6.   1895 “our opponents”  betrayal
7.   the public service act  betrayal

8.   1903 women in politics
9.   1904  victorian employers federation betrayal
10. 1907 the harvester decision  betrayal
11.1910-11 other pre-war actions
12. 1911 'the match girls' strikes
13. 1911 factories and shops acts  betrayal
14. 1912 justice (?) higgins  betrayal

15. 1912 equal pay for teachers betrayal
16. the women's political association supported the teachers
17. 1913 lady teachers’ association resolution
18. the clerks’ wages board determination 
20. 1914 teachers’ equal pay claim betrayal
21. 1914 war - 'the wicked waste of life'  betrayal

22. 1915 food prices up, unemployment, poverty
23. 1915 wpa (women’s political association) women's labour bureau
24. victorian association of benevolent societies betrayal
25. response from the women’s political ass.n
26. women’s labour bureau defunded  betrayal
27. 1915 agitating and lobbying - unemployed women
28. not only women

29. australian women’s national league (awnl) opposed the wpa betrayal
30. 1915 the women's rural co-operative
31. the international congress of women
32. prime minister's visit to london  betrayal
33. declining birthrate blamed on women  betrayal
34. 1915 cost of living demonstrations
35. 1915 unemployment and the women's labour councils
36. equal pay provision broken down betrayal

37. nursing in war
38. salaries cut  betrayal
39. the commonwealth clothing factory  betrayal
40. 1917 'we want work adjourn the house'
41. more anti feminist betrayal
42. peace has come betrayal


43. living standards falling
44. 1918 returned nurses' conditions betrayal
45. 1916-18 muriel (heagney) had got a job
46. 1919 the basic wage betrayal
47. a “where is the bachelor tax”? betrayal
48. 1925–6 women’s activism
49. shall not by sex or marriage

50. 1926 the clothing trade union claims
51. unemployment in the depression
52. 1930 the heagney-riley report on unemployed women
53. 1930 unemployed girls' relief movement
54. the communist party of australia  betrayal?
55. 1932 nationalist party  betrayal
56. miss heagney ceases work?  betrayal

57. social insecurity – wages cuts betrayal
58. 1930-1933 overwork, economic deprivation and ill-health again
59. the human right to decide for herself  betrayal
60. 1935 they worked for equal pay
61. 1937 they formed the council of action for equal pay (caep)
62. teachers’ conditions betrayal
63. recognising the service … and that men share the housework

64. wages for wives paid by husbands betrayal
65. 1941 muriel heagney's six point policy
66. 1941 women's cheap labour exploited 
67. 1941 1942 the australian women's land army (awla)
68. 1943 female rates betrayal
69. women's place in post-war reconstruction?
70. 1953 proposed wage reductions for women betrayal
71. equal pay rallies in 1955, and 1957
72. (premier?) bolte's response  betrayal
73. kath williams came out fighting


74. it all began – zelda d’aprano
75. 1968 equal basics wage case
76. 1969 equal pay case betrayal
77. the commonwealth government chain-up
78. police response
79. arbitration commission chain up
80. calling out slogans, waving banners
81. 1970 we earn 75%, we pay 75% the trams

82. what is women’s liberation?
83. woman is moving
84. background to equal pay demands
85. 1972 equal pay for work of equal value
86. 1972 childcare
87. 1956-75 women's struggle to become tram drivers in Melbourne
88. 1974 tramway women's struggle  betrayal
89. 1974 taking men's jobs? (again) minimum wage case

90. women who work in shops protest 91. women picket everhot
92. women’s action alliance et al betrayal 
93. “not wishing to help asio further …”
94. religion – catholic action - national civic council betrayal
95. women members of national civic council betrayal
96. 1974 waa “homemaker's allowance” betrayal
97. i am not a housewife
98. social welfare cuts betrayal
99. whose right to choose?
100. beyond equality

1919 the zurich women’s international conference
APPENDIX 2 join the council for women in war work
APPENDIX 3 the 1946 australian women’s charter
1978 waa women's report to national civic council melbourne
APPENDIX 5 the women’s liberation manifesto





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By the time the International Committee of Women summoned a second Congress in May 1919, the predominant mood was one of disillusionment.

The Congress did not after all meet side by side with the official Peace Conference at Versailles, since its delegates from the Central Powers (mainly Germany) would not be permitted to enter France. Instead, a neutral location was selected at Zurich, and here the Congress gathered from May 12 to 19, 1919 ...

The three Australian delegates - Vida Goldstein, Cecilia John and Eleanor Moore - had travelled ten weeks to attend the Congress ...

The marks of war were visible for all to see in the faces of the delegates from the defeated countries. Some had been present four years earlier at The Hague, and the change in them was pitiful. Scarred and shrivelled by hunger and deprivation, they were scarcely recognizable.

They were shocked and disturbed at what was happening. Their first act was to demand the raising of the blockade in Germany; immediate relief measures; and, if necessary, food rationing in every country.

They believed there would be another war in twenty years if the Versailles treaty went ahead and wrote that it would: "create all over Europe discords and animosities which can only lead to future wars.

“This generation in the heart of Europe are condemned to poverty, disease and despair ..."
Gertrude Bussey and Margaret Tims Pioneers for Peace - Women's International League for Peace and Freedom 1915-1965

PARIS, May 14 - The conference at Zurich also telegraphed to the (Versailles) Peace Conference a resolution, which had been adopted unanimously, deploring the famine and pestilence in Central and Eastern Europe and urging that the inter allied war organization be transformed immediately into an international peace organization to deal with food, finance, and transport throughout the world.

The resolution also urged that relief be organized immediately, and that if the supply of food and transport were not sufficient all countries be rationed. It was added that no luxuries should be transported from one country to another until relief had been sent to all peoples. Among the American women who are attending the Zurich conference are Miss Jane Addams, Miss Lillian Wald, Mrs Florence Kelly, and Miss Jeanette Rankin.

The Zurich Women's Conference Says They "Continue Rule of Force and Spoilation".

Paris May 14 - The Peace Conference today received from the Women's International Conference for Permanent Peace at Zurich the resolution denouncing the terms of peace with Germany.
The New York Times May 15 1919 Copyright


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.



WHEREAS the indispensable contribution that women make to all phases of human life is at present inadequately recognised; and

WHEREAS they are still submitted to many discretions and limitations imposed on account of their sex, and are not accorded the same status, opportunities, responsibilities and rewards as are accorded to men in the community: and

WHEREAS it has been shown to be necessary to develop the capabilities of women in the post-war period to achieve a lasting Victory in Peace.

This Australian Women's Conference for Victory in War and Victory in Peace affirms the need for the application of the principle of equality for women and adopts the following platform for the establishment of this principle.
The Women's Charter - The Quest pub. Union of Australian Women (Victorian Section) 1990


The National Civic Council - Women's Action Alliance viewpoint:

- The Trade Unions: WAA has been most active in this area "challenging women's liberationists in the trade unions." Their tactic has been to establish "women's bureaus" to effectively diffuse any issues and divert energy into "management training, "pregnancy support" etc.

- The Student area: 'In the student area we have established a "Moderate Feminists" group with the main Victorian person being Margaret O'Connell.

Throughout the year this group has presented an alternative viewpoint to that of the Australian Union of Students (AUS) Women's departments on the tertiary campuses and has won a surprising degree of support for the views it has expressed.

- The Public Service: This is an area where women's liberationists are very active. Some of you may remember the name of Penny Ryan. Penny Ryan was a former Women's Advisor to the Victorian Premier's Department ...

Another similar example was the recent appointment of the former Australian Union of Students women's officer Laurie Bebbington as Project Officer for the Victorian Government's Youth, Sport and Recreation Department's Committee on Social Development.

It was due to the work of movement members (B A Santamaria's "The Movement" - National Civic Council) that both Penny Ryan and Laurie Bebbington lost their jobs with the Victorian Public Service.

WAA has members on several important government committees ... innumerable submissions and letters ... we are represented at the National Council of Women where an executive position is held.

- Equal Opportunity Resource Centre: The Victorian Government is currently re-considering the whole future of the Equal Opportunity Resource Centre and that is also due to us.

- The Women's Electoral Lobby: The final area I want to look at is WEL, which is little but a front for the extreme women's liberationists

... The future of the child lies in the family.

It is on this premise that we will be meeting our opponents - people that believe that the future of the child lies in:
24 hour child care centres; the hands of teachers to manipulate at will; the hands of so-called parents, living in lesbian or homosexual relationships.

In fact in any hands other than what we know to be the family.
Women's Report to NCC State Conference Melbourne October 1978 University of Melbourne

One example is a course which has just been completed. The aim was to train some of our women members in the various areas of the women's debate. Twenty five people enrolled in the course which covered ... position, role and future of family, working women, sexism in education ...

As a result ... many of our young people are better equipped to go back into the tertiary campuses or into the unions to take part in the women's debate.

It is expected that when these people leave the campuses or (obtain) full-time employment that the experience that they have gained will enable them to become operators for  Women's Action Alliance.

Today we have more young people actively involved with the show ... than at any time in the past ten years. WAA has been outspoken and gained recognition in many areas of debate. It has had success and will continue to have success because of its rational approach to the problems that women face today ...

We are challenging the women's liberationists in the trade unions.

If it had not been for (our) members work, the ACTU and VTHC would have long ago granted recognition to the Working Women's Centre ... by refusing them recognition we have been able to very severely limit their penetration and effectiveness. 
Women’s Action Alliance general Report University of Melbourne Women’s Liberation Archives


Women's Liberation believes that women in our society are oppressed.

- We are economically oppressed: in jobs we do full work for half pay, in the home we do unpaid work full time.

- We are commercially exploited by advertisements, television, and press: legally we often have only the status of children.

- We are brought up to feel inadequate: educated to narrower horizons than men.

This is our specific oppression as women. It is as women that we are, therefore, organising. We demand:

1. That Women Have control Over Their Bodies - We believe that this is denied us until we can decide whether to have children or not and when we have them.

2. The Repeal of Abortion Laws: Abortion on Request - Abortion is an essential part of birth control. Contraception without the right to abortion means that the State, in effect, controls our bodies if we become pregnant unwillingly. Women should have the right to decide whether or not to have an abortion.

3. Freely Available Contraception - More education on contraception is needed at an early age and, for this to be effective, contraceptives should be easily available and free on social security. Doctors should not have the right to refuse contraception on their own moral grounds.

4. Free 24-hour Community Controlled Child Care - The government should provide full child care facilities throughout Australia. These should be free and staffed by qualified people - men and women. The centres must be under the control of those who use them, to prevent bureaucratic 'baby dumps'. Women should not have to bear individual responsibility for the care of children.

5. Equal Job Opportunities and an End to Low Pay - Employers have no right to pay women less than men, or to keep women in menial jobs. The government must act to correct this injustice by making it illegal for employers to discriminate against women.

Although, at first glance, the equal pay decision in 1972 seems favourable, the full effect of the decision will not become apparent until 1975. In other words, we have been 'bought off' until then.

6. Equal Education Opportunities - To enable women to have really equal opportunity, all schools must stop streaming women into 'service' jobs which reflect the wife/mother role - cleaners, teachers, nurses, secretaries, social workers - essentially supporting roles. Sexual bias in curricula should be eliminated.

The education system must play a large part in undoing the conditioning of women to accept an inferior role, by encouraging women to assert themselves in all fields.

We believe that by united action we can achieve our aims.
Women's Liberation Newsletter, March 1973 pp. 5-6

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