australia

Footplate Classics

Summer 1988/1989

I am a lesbian feminist. Between 1979 and 1984 I worked as a locomotive assistant training to be a train driver for the  Victorian Railways in Australia. At one time six women were training at South Dynon Loco and four women in country areas. Dianne Brown became qualified as a train driver in 1985. Unfortunately the other women left. The attitudes of many of the men working in the railways added to on the job pressure. I have put some of these attitudes into poetic form.

‘Equal Opportunity’ in 1988 – A Balance Sheet

Summer 1988/1989

The limitations of seeking employment equality within the existing structures are clear. Equal opportunity programs only provide the option for some to get nearer to the top of an unequal system. We need to defend and extend such reforms by using them as tools to protect existing rights and gains. But reforms cannot finally redress the inequitable position of women and other oppressed groups in the labour market, let alone society as a whole.

Lesbians and Gay Men say “Our relationships are not ‘pretend’ ones” — Fighting Clause 28

Summer 1988/1989

Since Clause 28 has become law it has meant that any positive lesbian or gay male programs that promoted lesbian and gay male relationships as a viable alternative have lost their funding. It has virtually outlawed the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality by prohibiting discussion and distribution of information. This attack by the right wing is happening world-wide, not only in Britain. There is a strong push by the right wing to strengthen the image of the monogamous, heterosexual nuclear family as the only ‘acceptable’ and ‘proper’ relationship.

Labor’s “Graduate Tax”: Will It Make The Rich Pay?

Summer 1988/1989

The proposed graduate tax will see students paying between $4,500 – $18,000 for courses. But the graduate tax will hit ex-students on lower incomes much more heavily because it is a regressive tax. All students, rich or poor, will have to pay back the same. The total debt is not linked in any way to income but is based on a standard fee for the type of course undertaken.

International Women’s Day: Ghetto Festival or Front Line of the Struggle for Women’s Liberation?

Summer 1988/1989

One is that we are all lesbians or a least celibate women who prefer to socialise mainly with other women. This has become a stumbling block to the movement. Instead of clear political demands about fighting the oppression of lesbians that we expect all who support women’s liberation to take up and fight for, we’ve got a bizarre combination of lesbian political invisibility but an underlying assumption that in our lifestyles we are all dykes. We’ve got to make IWD political; we have to address the issues of the day — those that people who aren’t at IWD are concerned about or fighting around.

My Place: The Fight for An Aboriginal Identity

Summer 1988/1989

The blatantly genocidal policies practiced against Aboriginal people in the first century of Australia’s colonial history are now more often acknowledged but still frequently fobbed off as some unfortunate incidents from the dim past. Despite two hundred year of colonialism, Sally Morgan and her family have survived. They have resisted assimilationist cultural genocide by taking up the battle to find their own identity.

Obituary – Manda Biles

Summer 1988/1989

On March 30 1988 the struggle for a better world lost a fighter with the death of Manda Biles. Right from the early seventies Manda was in the thick of the struggle for women’s liberation, gay liberation and workers rights. Manda was active during the seventies in the Australian Union of Students (AUS) and played… Read more »

Obituary – Ted Hill

Summer 1988/1989

Ted Hill, who retired from his post of chair of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) late in 1984, died in Melbourne on February 1 1988 after a long battle with cancer. Ted was 72 years old.  Hill, who worked as a lawyer in the workers compensation field, got involved in politics during the depression. He joined… Read more »