It is a real treat to have a new edition of Socialist Alternative member Tom O’Lincoln’s 1993 book, Years of Rage: Social Conflicts in the Fraser Era. While the text remains basically unchanged, as it did in the 2012 re-issue, this edition by left-wing publisher Interventions is significantly expanded and enlivened by the addition of photos, leaflets and posters from the time, and a twelve-page afterword by Rick Kuhn.
What a breath of fresh air it was to hear the words “Fuck the police!” at Mardi Gras once again. Senator Lidia Thorpe’s outraged cry was one of the few things at Mardi Gras in 2023 that echoed the original spirit of the event.
The national media have been full of reports of a crime wave in Alice Springs. Northern Territory police statistics have been widely publicised, showing reported property offences up almost 60 percent over the past twelve months, assaults up by 38 percent and a doubling of domestic violence. Almost universally, this has been attributed to the ending, last July, of a fifteen-year ban on alcohol in many Indigenous communities.
The election of the Whitlam government on 2 December 1972 was a watershed in Australian political history. Whitlam’s was the most reforming of any Australian Labor government, and the last one to introduce significant reforms that improved working-class life.
On the afternoon of 9 October 2012, then prime minister Julia Gillard famously declared in parliament, “I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. Not now, not ever”.
Women’s oppression looks quite different today than 60 years ago. Women’s rights are more accepted now, women are a bigger part of the workforce, contraception and abortion are legal in much of the world. There are more women world leaders and CEOs than ever before. At the same time, the vast majority of women, even in a wealthy country like Australia, are still paid less on average than men, still do most of the unpaid child care and other domestic labour in the home and still have to contend with demeaning sexist stereotypes.