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


90-100 on this page


'Women who work in shops are underpaid and work very long hours ...

Next Friday and Saturday women from all walks of life are meeting to talk together, march together and offer each other support in the fight to alter the conditions under which women have been exploited for too long.

We Want -

- Equal pay

- Minimum wage

- Equal job opportunities

- Non-discriminatory job re-classification

- Child care centres in or near our places of employment, and in the suburbs

- Shorter working week

- Improved working conditions and staff facilities

- Reduction of competition in commission selling to a fairer, more honest basis.
We must join with each other to bring about these changes.
Friday, March 8th, Saturday March 9th, Women's Centre, 16 Little Latrobe Street, Melbourne Renee Remeril papers, University of Melbourne


The sacking of seventeen women workers at Daffin-Everhot, Bayswater, was a classic case of discrimination in employment.

As the dispute developed, it became even more plain that again, to solve economic difficulties and crisis of employment, the first answer to be thought of is to push women out of employment because they, theoretically, can be economically supported by husbands, fathers, brothers, sons etc., and second, because militant action from fellow workers will be lacking because to a large degree the men workers will support the theory that work for men is more important than work for women ...

(On) the fifth week "Picketing resumed on Thursday, with support from Women's Liberation and some from WEL ...

Women's Liberation says the whole dispute is blatantly a case of discrimination against women.
Vashti's Voice autumn 1975 See Appendix 5


We would like to make some connections between right wing groups, the nuclear family and women.
The right wing groups use an ideological attachment upon women to reinforce the nuclear family structure, as well as to maintain social control and to divert attention from the real issues that are at the basis of the social and economic crisis.

The resurgence of conservative attitudes towards women was taking its toll on women's participation in any form of public organisation, and the 'communist scare' continued to divide those women who remained active. Western Union Refuge Group See Appendix 4


According to the Age (14/5/74), from late 1971 a "leading member of Women's Liberation in Melbourne" was spied on by ASIO. This included having her phone tapped. Not wishing to help ASIO further, we shall refer to this woman as Ms Z ...

We suggest to all women who have been involved in the Women's Liberation Movement that they write to the current Attorney General requesting to see their ASIO file.

They may be flattered to find out that they, too, are considered dangerous and a threat to society.
Vashti's Voice June-July 1974 Women's Liberation Archives University of Melbourne


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 home culture of its propaganda ...

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. Muriel Heagney State Library of Victoria See Appendix 4

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  See Appendix 4

It is essential for feminists to examine closely and expose the distortions of Women's Action Alliance letters, articles and actions. They are NOT working in our interest. Women's Action Alliance (and its assorted umbrella groups) must not be allowed to operate as feminist groups. RougeRivka Pile papers, University of Melbourne see Appendix 4

More than most right-wing groups, the National Civic Council (NCC) has a strong nexus within the family - its members are mainly Roman Catholic, maintaining a strict "morality" about sexuality. This is one reason why women's liberation subversion remains such a high priority within the organisation ...

Women are trained through NCC courses...
Rouge see Appendix 4


Women members of National Civic Council are the spokespeople for all Women's Action Alliance campaigns - even if the policies are decided by men.

As women they add authenticity and make the connection between their own lives and the conditions of women..
Rouge see Appendix 4


Nearly a century ago it was promoted as a 'Wages for Wives'. The feminists at the time successfully resisted it and promoted, and got, a maternity allowance - child endowment; and as an entitlement for all women, not a charity for poor women.

Later, a half a century ago, it was the Australian Women's National League who promoted it, and Muriel Heagney argued against it with the similar or the same feminist arguments as are presented here, where the Women's Action Alliance (WAA) is promoting a 'homemakers' or 'housewife's' allowance. Geraldine Robertson

One of the most important campaigns of WAA is the establishment of a "homemaker’s allowance" of $40 per week so that "single-income families will not be disadvantaged." This campaign MUST be exposed.

1. It is a blatant attack on married women workers - WAA claims that such an allowance will "free" women to return to full-time "motherhood". This coincides with "Newsweekly's" campaign that married women are a major cause of youth unemployment ...

2. "Homemakers Allowance" institutionalises our role as domestic "servants" being paid a pittance to maintain a home, care for children etc. It reinforces women's position within the nuclear family.

One of the most outspoken proponents has been Dr Claire Isbister, much featured in the Australian Women's Weekly.
She is consistently quoted in WAA literature and Newsweekly...

We must ... counter this blatant attack on married women in the workforce. We can't ignore the WAA so-called "Giving Mothers Freedom of Choice" campaign.
Rouge see Appendix 4

Housework should be people's work, not women's work.
Women’s Liberation chant


It appears to me that if wages for housework became a reality then when I wasn't working (and lots of times I don't) and was doing most of the housework, from choice and convenience, then I would become, in the files of the bureaucracy, a house worker/wife. It would then be so much harder to resist this definition of myself. I would find myself responsible for the housework.

I am not a house worker/wife. I do not want that responsibility and it appears that wages for housework would force that definition upon me.
Pat T Tess Maloney papers University of Melbourne


There is a shift from the philosophy that communities are responsible for the well-being of all their members at all times in their lives and in all circumstances. In its place we are faced with a philosophy which extols the virtues of ”individual initiative and achievement” in an economic and power sense only, albeit at the expense of others.

Today it is not economic reality that is the basis for the present Government's obsession to impose cutbacks in all social welfare areas, but rather a convenient excuse for a concerted ideological attack on selected groups.

There is ample evidence that the machinery required to administer and police the results is to be more costly overall compared with the resulting "savings".  
Vashti's Voice 1976 Women's Liberation papers, Melbourne University
See Appendix 5

It is an eternal truth that when the word "family" is uttered by apolitician, women, and therefore men, have everything to fear.

Carmen Callil Bad Faith A Story of Family and Fatherland
Vintage 2007 p.211


Not the Church!
Not the State!
Women Must Decide Their Fate.

Women’s Liberation chant

Throughout history, few things have been more universal or known fewer national boundaries than the suffering of women from the denial of our rights to control our own lives, our own bodies.

The right of women to abortion, to full control of their bodies, is perhaps the most fundamental democratic demand of women.

Without this women are denied the right to decide when and if they will have children and if they will drop out of school or give up a job. Without this, women are often forced to become economically dependent on a man in order to support a child ...

The right to control our own bodies is the first step on the way to controlling our lives. National Abortion Action Coalition Women's Health Collective papers University of Melbourne See Appendix 3

We must not let our foremothers down.
We must not allow Far Right forces to erode all our gains.
We must preserve our democratic right to individual choice. Our reproductive freedom is at stake.
Ruth Schnookal Right to Choose Newsletter


: We do not want equality.

It’s a common misconception, even among women, that women’s liberation is directed at a conquest of the privileges of men in the patriarchy.

For a long time I pursued the doomed attempt to be freer and more equal by adopting male habits, male ideas about sex, male striving, competition and overt toughness…

What I took to be the real world is wholly defined in the terms of the men who live in it. When I was fourteen I knew that I’d have to break with my family’s values, and I tried to do that. But it never occurred to me (and how could it?) that I would have to go on and break with something that lies behind my particular family and also deeply inside my own mind.

It’s because of the patriarchal structure, the patriarchal values inside my own head (and everywhere else too) that I, like most of us, was silly enough to suppose that the boundaries stand for exclusion, that the battle was to get over into that “real”, male, world…

And then the dawn. The realisation that no role is living, that every role is a subtraction from reality, a hiding away from ourselves, a disguise of the fact that we are all just human beings – no more, no less…

Equality with men means another role, a different incapacity to live honestly and freely. Everything that is given is part of the patriarchy. It’s only by weeding out what is given, and coming into contact with our many-sided, multi-lateral selves that we can hope to find a way to live…

In the end, we have to challenge everything. Not just the nuclear family, the couple, the discrimination against us etc. but the way we ourselves have been taught to think.
July 1973 Melbourne Feminist Collection of Writings See Appendix 5

: Sisters, change is a living possibility.
July 1973 Melbourne Feminist Collection of Writings See Appendix 5

I am woman hear me roar,
In numbers too big to ignore /
And I know too much to go back and pretend /
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before,
And I’ve been down there on the floor /
No-one’s ever gonna keep me there again.
August 1971 Helen Reddy song Women Working Together suffrage and onwards appendix

For those who embrace the women’s movement now and in the future, standing firm when necessary –
we applaud you