FIGHTING AGAINST WAR POSTER reduced file sizeThe 14th Biennial National Labour History Conference, Fighting Against War: Peace Activism in the Twentieth Century’ was held at Queen’s College, University of Melbourne, 11-13 February 2015.

The keynote speakers for the conference were Professors Verity Burgmann, Marilyn Lake, and Bruce Scates.

The conference was supported by the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, the National Tertiary Education Union,Swinburne University, the University of Melbourne,Victoria University, and the Victorian branch of the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation.

A number of organisations, including Honest History, a “coalition of historians and others supporting the balanced and honest presentation and use of Australian history during the centenary of World War I”, the ANZAC Centenary Peace Coalition, the New International Bookshop, the Australia East Timor Association, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) were represented at the conference.

Nikki Balnave and Scott Stephenson
Nikki Balnave and Scott Stephenson

Over 80 papers presented primarily on the overarching theme of the conference – “fighting against war”. They covered peace activism across a broad range of fronts in the numerous wars and conflicts in which Australia has participated in the twentieth century. There were also several papers on broader labour history themes. Conference abstracts are available here.


Additional Conference Information can be found through the links below


Keynote speakers

Conference Abstracts

Proceedings of the 14th Biennial Labour History Conference

Book from the 14th Biennial Labour History Conference

Call for Papers (archived)


Presentations on 3CR

Radio station 3CR aired a series of broadcasts on the conference. The first episode, which aired on 14 February, provided an overview with a specific focus on Marilyn Lake’s keynote address “Equality or Militarism: The Conflict of Founding Narratives”.


On 27 February 3CR broadcast a special segment focusing on Elizabeth Humphrys’ paper, “The Accord after Thirty Years: Corporatism in the Neoliberal Era”.


Liam Byrne has written a report on the conference for Recorderyou can read it here.

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Conference convenors: Phillip Deery and Julie Kimber; Conference committee: Liam Bryne, Peter Love, Sean Scalmer; External adviser: Frank Bongiorno.

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