Democratic Opposition to War The 1916-17 anti-conscription campaigns: Impacts and legacies

Conference: 20 May 2017, 9am-4.30pm, Siteworks, 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick

2017 marks the centenary of the defeat of the 1917 conscription plebiscite. During 1917, in the midst of the war, Australian anti-conscription campaigners succeeded in defeating the introduction of conscription for a second time. This was a unique example of popular opposition to conscription in the countries engaged in WW1, yet appears to have received relatively little attention and analysis in current official ANZAC WW1 commemorations.

A one-day conference will be held on 20 May 2017, 9.00am-4.30pm at Siteworks, 33 Saxon St, Brunswick. The conference theme is: Democratic Opposition to War. The 1916-17 Anti-Conscription Campaigns: Impacts and Legacies. The conference is organised by the Brunswick-Coburg Anti-Conscription Commemoration Campaign (BCACCC) and generously supported by Moreland City Council, Melbourne Labour History Society and Victorian Trades Hall Council.

The conference will examine the role of specific strands and figures within the anti-conscription movement, including Trade Unions, Labour Party, Socialists, IWW, Women’s groups, Irish Catholics, Quakers, and pacifist and conscientious objector groups. Key figures, such as John Curtin, Frank Anstey, Doris and Maurice Blackburn, Frank Hyett, and Bella Guerin (all of whom lived or were closely linked to Brunswick), as well as Adela Pankhurst, Vida Goldstein and Daniel Mannix, will be discussed. The conference will also explore some of the impacts and legacies of the WW1 anti-conscription campaigns for Australia’s subsequent history, as well as conscription during the Vietnam War and current policies relating to war-making powers in Australia.

Anti-Conscription rally
Anti-conscription referendum rally, Yarra Bank, Melbourne, 16 April 1916. National Library of Australia, vn6487142.

Speakers: Professor Barry Jones (opening speaker), Professor Murray Goot (Macquarie University), Professor Stuart Macintyre (Melbourne University), Assoc. Professor Bobbie Oliver (Curtin University), Professor Joy Damousi (Melbourne University), Dr Val Noone, Dr Carolyn Rasmussen, Kate Laing, Dr Ross McMullin, Dr Peter Love, Dr Ann-Mari Jordens, Paul Barratt (former Secretary, Department of Defence), & Dr Jennifer Grounds, past President, MAPW.

Bookings: $20/$30 or contact us for further details.


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