In November 1975, the elected Labor Party government of Australia was sacked without notice by Sir John Kerr, the governor-general. Having single-handedly gotten rid of the elected government, Sir John then personally appointed a new government of his own choosing led by Malcolm Fraser and the Liberal Party.
The dismissal – or the Kerr Coup as many referred to it – was one of the most dramatic events in Australian history, and ushered in a period of intense social conflict. For the next eight years, Malcolm Fraser’s prime ministership was marked by general strikes, high levels of industrial disputes and working-class militancy, riots in the streets, powerful environmental campaigns, and vibrant social movements against the oppression of women, LGBTQ people, Aboriginal people and migrants.
The Fraser era is full of incredible stories, and ripe with lessons for struggles today, and these have been catalogued in the brilliant and recently republished book Years of Rage: Social Conflicts in the Fraser Era, by Tom O’Lincoln. Very sadly, Tom has recently passed away, but we’re lucky enough in this episode to be joined by Diane Fieldes, a socialist activist and historian, to discuss the Fraser years and the movements that arose during this period.
We highly recommend purchasing a copy of Years of Rage, which you can do here.
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