This Friday morning I am presenting a paper at the Flinders University History Research Seminar Series. The paper is based on an article currently under review. Here is the abstract:
This paper examines the reaction by the Australian Federal Government to the protest movements of the 1960-70s and their attempts to use public order legislation to thwart radical discontent in Australia. It argues that the Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Act 1971 was aimed at the threat of ‘violent’ protests, particularly the tactic of the ‘sit-in’, and that to this end, the legislation was an over-reaction to the actual threat posed by the protest movements at the time. It also shows that after a long gestation period, the Act was ill-equipped to deal with the changing nature of demonstrations in the 1970s, such as the problems caused by the erection of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Thus, after an initial flurry of use in mid-1971, the law has been seldom used since.
If you can make it, it would be awesome to see you there. If not and you’re interested in the paper, email me.