Protest Movements in Australia during the Vietnam War


Late 1960s and early 1970s were a time that saw the rise of protest movements across Australia. Causes included: Opposition to the Vietnam War, Racial equality, Equal rights for women and Environmental protection. The beginning of the protests were only small and non-violent, orgnaised by anti-war movements. Middle aged people, middle class people and young people that favoured extreme change made up these preotest movements.

Forms of Protest 1967_vietnam_protest2.jpg
Teach-ins took place from 1965. Speakers holding a variety of opinions debated the issues. Leading speakers against the war included Dr Jim Cairns, a Shadow Minister in the Labor Opposition in Federal Parliament and Morris West, a prominent author and influential Roman Catholic.
The Youth Campaign Against Conscription (YCAC) – university students who organised marches and demonstrations.
Save Our Sons(SOS) movement (1965) largely middle-aged women held silent protest vigils.
Seamen’s Union in 1965 refused to carry war materials to Vietnam.
From 1966 protests became more radical. Young men burned their draft cards and protests saw clashes between the demonstrators and the police.
Some young men decided to go to jail rather than be conscripted. The courts could exempt those who could prove they were pacifists (opposed to all wars on religious or moral grounds)

The Final Stages
Protests continued to incease with drastic consequences, now there aim was directed at the symbol of the United States.
During 1970 and 1971 huge public protests called the Vietnam Moratoriums (stop the war) saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in protest.
These protest finished when Gough Whitlam and his Labor Government were elected in 1972 on a promise to bring home the troops.

Save Our SonsVietnam Moratorium Slogans and Media of the Protest Movements