i n ist
LETTERS LETTERS LETTERS LET Z KLUGMAN'S FOLLY. Z If letters to the collective are to be taken 1 as a guide, MABEL is a great success. But j one of our hard working distributors got 2 a very nasty response from a certain Labor Z politician. Z
Shocked but still hopeful of the trium ph of rationality and intelligence, our intre pid distributor answered this letter, mak ing such points as — "The women's movement is autonomous and dedicated to changing the relation ship between women and present society"; - - "The Labor platform supports implementation of human rights, correc tion of injuries and help for the under privileged ! Consequently, many women find it appropriate to support the A L P ." - - "M A B E L is a paper which endeavours to combine these tw o positions on the basis that growing numbers o f women in the movement and beyond it are aware of the utter disregard which most politicians exhibit for the needs of the female half of the electorate. "
On December 2nd, tw o women went to
2 ALP headquarters to get help in distribut■ ing the first edition of MABEL. Asa Z result they took bundles of MABEL to S about a dozen metropolitan electoral S offices. Most staff were interested ■ in the possibility of distributing the Z paper at campaign meetings.
MABEL was born two weeks before last year’s December 13th elect ions. She was going to be a once-only broadsheet from an ad-hoc collect ive of Sydney women in the Women’s Movement giving our views on the political crisis and its likely affects on women. The response of ideas and articles and money was so great that in only eight days she blossom ed into a 24 page newspaper - 30,000 copies of which were distributed in the week prior to the Elections, and since. Suddenly MABEL began to appear on walls all over town, and it seemed like she intended on becoming a permanent part of our lives. Bush kid makes good ! Some confusion occurred, however, with feminists interstate. The day before MABEL’s conception, a meeting was held between women from several states, to discuss producing a National Women’s News paper. That plan is still in the melting pot. The Collective who gave birth to MABEL never saw her taking the place of a National Paper. Many women, not knowing what went on at that meeting, assumed that MABEL was in fact THE National Paper. Sydney does not have a current regular tabloid-size womens paper. Many magazines are produced here, but we see MABEL as a newspaper, appearing eventually fortnightly, reporting on current issues and general items that affect women - locally, in Australia, and internationally. In particular, we hope to document the Fraser Government’s attempts to erode the gains Australian women have made over the past two years, and to inform women of resistance plans and tactics. We do not represent the views of all women in the m ovem ent; we are a small Collective trying to report on what we see as important in the struggle against women’s oppression - both currently and in the past Herstory. The Collective invites women to send in articles and news, as we want to make the paper as topical and inclusive of women’s issues as possible. We need poems, graphics and photos. An important aspect of the paper is that it is anonymous - we do not sign contributions. MABEL is not a vehicle for stars, but a collective attempt to communicate some of the ways feminists see the past, present and future. MABEL is produced voluntarily - we have no paid workers. The last issue cost $2,000, but we did not recoup enough money to cover the costs of this issue. A lot of the first issue were letter-boxed and given away. The second MABEL has been held up due to lack of access to equipment. We do not have a type-setting machine, and a second-hand one costs $2,000. Does anyone have a spare, or $2,000 they don’t want ? WE NEED DONATIONS OF ANY SIZE. The MABEL Collective would like to thank the hundreds of people who wrote in praising the paper and asking for it to be continued.And especially thank you to those who gave so much money. We cant answer each letter but will start a ‘Thanks For Donations’ column next issue. If all goes well, MABEL will re-appear in time for the April 16th Womens Festival in Tasmania. A Message From The Collective.
Z One of the more notable encounters Z was with Dick KLUGMAN's mother m he is the Labor member fo r Prospect 2 with whom the MABEL distributors had Z a long talk about the Women's Movement. Z
Consequently, our distribution woman
S was stunned to receive later that week,
So far, the good doctor has not replied.
2 a telegram from the esteemed Mr. 2 Klugman saying: Z "C E R T A IN LY REFUSE TO DISTRIBUTE
S ANTI-LABOR PAPER. PLEASE COLLECT Z W ITHIN ONE W EEK." ■ Z Z ■ Z
Now the MABEL distributor in question, a dedicated woman, set out to correct the good doctor's misguided attitude by sending him a letter stating the decidedly pro-Labor views expressed in MABEL.
Z "A n y paper which employs headlines 1 such as WOMEN FOR LABOR, which m examines and encourages the role ■ of women in the trade union movement, Z and which exposes and deplores the links Z between the Festival of Light Group and Z the Liberal Party can hardly be accused of • even creating an impression of being antiZ Labor." — and so on to - Z "M any of our articles are critical of Labor m Party actions on women's demands, but ; there are many trade unions critical of Z the gap between promises and practices Z of the ALP and I haven't heard them 2 accused of anti-Labor feelings." This letter succeeded only in rousing
2 the gentleman's spite - - Z Z
2 Z Z ■ Z
"W hile I am not prepared to read 24 pages of jargon in M ABEL may I emphasize that it is anti-Labor because already on p.2 it states - 'The Labor Party does not even support the minimum demands of the Women's Movement' and 'Women of Grayndler don 't vote for Tony Whitlam !' "
Z And he gets worse — Z " I am amazed at your hide in claiming 2 to represent 55% of the electorate at Z large. You are certainly very welcome Z to stand as a radical women's candidate Z at the next election and I wish you would. ■ Maybe you should realize how far out of Z touch you are w ith the electorate (male Z and female)." Z Z ■ Z ■ Z Z Z Z Z Z
Then even more childishly — "Hysterical exhibitionism is not a rational or effective way of persuading people." A n d -----"M ay I conclude with reference to 'Woman Candidates' on page 4. The ALP endorsed Susan Ryan to lead its Senate team in the A.C.T. I understand that she concentrated on 'women's' issues as perceived by you. Her (ALP) percentage dropped from 55.6% in 1974 to 37.3% 2 this year. Need I say m ore."
S ■ Z Z Z
LETTER FROM JEAN SKUSE, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES. Dear MABEL Collective, Whilst we are always pleased to see open debate about the matters relating to the church and society, as in your story THE MORAL CIA in MABEL No,l, I hope you will take more care in researching facts in the future. May I correct the following inaccurac ies : 1. The World Council of Churches is not involved in armed struggle in Africa or the Third World, although it is involved in combatting racism which is most ex tensive in Africa. 2. The Australian Council of Churches is not in direct conflict with the Festival of Light. As a Council of twelve member churdies, it reflects the same unity and diversity on this issue as do its member churches. It has made no statement about the Festival of Light. 3. The President of the A.C.C. has not described the Festival of Light as part of the growth of "a rabid right-wing doct rine of hate". These comments were made in reference to “ fan atieal anti communism and a racist doctrine of white superiority." There was no refer ence to the Festival of Light. 4. Christian Women Concerned is not involved with the A.C.C. It is an indep endent group which has been operating for a number of years. The enquiry to which you refer was conducted by the A.C.C. Commission on the Status of Women (NSW). An IWY Grant from the Australian Government financed its publication. Copies are available for $2. 5. Finally, the Australian Council of Churches is not “ mainly concerned with sexual and moral repression." It has two commissions looking at these factorsthe Commission on the Status of Women, and a Commission on Human Sexuality. This is just a small aspect of the Council’s work. The ACC raises over $ l I/2 million each year for aid and development and this is the main concern of tne Council It is also involved in mission and evang elism, aboriginal development, Christian education, race relations and church and society issues. I trust that you will display these corrections prominently as the errors in our article are quite substantial and ave created misunderstandings. We need to have responsible journalism in the women’s movement at least ! With best wishes for your venture, Yours sincerely, Jean Skuse General Secretary.
Nothing is mentioned about a th ird Senate seat being created for the A.C.T., which, together w ith the overall ALP vote drop, might have been a contributing factor.
MABEL OFFERS ITS APOLOGIES TO THE ACC FOR THE LISTED INACC URACIES.
Just because w e're called the Family Planning Association it doesn't mean to say you Nave to have a fam ily to get advice on contraception and sex. The F:P.A. is available to give inform ation, help and advice to anyone. If you
contraception, see F.P.A.. 90-92 City Rd., Chippendale Phone 698-9499
M A BEL No. 2. March, 1976.
CUTS IN SPENDING Fraser’s priorities PROPOSED CUTS IN ASSISTANCE TO RAPE CRISIS CENTRE.
We call on Mr. Fraser and the Minister for Health, Mr. Hunt, to continue recognition of the special needs of women in this area by maintaining the allocation of finances to the Sydney Rape Crisis Centre.
In October, 1974 the first Rape Crisis Centre in Australia was set up in Sydney by a small group of women. A 24-hour roster was maintained at Women's House Alberta Street, to provide ongoing couns elling and support to women who had SUPERPHOSPHATE BOUNTIES AT been raped, to refer them to relevant medical services, and accompany them THE EXPENSE OF WOMEN'S to the police and through court proceed EDUCATION. ings should they wish to press charges. In early 1975 the Centre applied to the The NEAT Scheme introduced by Federal Health Commission fo r funding the Labor Government made it econ and in June, financial assistance was omically possible fo r people to retrain obtained retrospective to January 1975. for another job, or fo r those w ith few job skills to train for more highly skilled In October last year, the centre was jobs. Those who were accepted into the able to move to larger premises in Glebe scheme received $90 per week plus all providing space for an office, meeting owances fo r any dependants. For the room, counselling room, self-defence first time those w ith dependants had an room and bedroom fo r overnight roster. opportunity to get some further educ Additional funds enabled us to employ ation. Married women particularly took four fu ll time staff, who now w ork w ith an expanded collective of about 20 women. advantage of the scheme. (Those men who have administered the scheme have There has been a notable increase in our made side remarks about the number of outreach since the advent of funding. We married women who have got into the have been able to greatly expand scheme. ) educational work in schools and comm unity Joan was one woman who was accep groups, and research into legal and medical ted into the scheme. She is separated aspects of rape. We are, at present, from her husband and has three children preparing submissions on proposed under ten. She had completed her High changes to rape trial procedures, and laws School education and had intended related to rape in N. S. W. We have also going to University but this was interr contacted hospitals and all women upted by her marriage and having three doctors in the Sydney area w ith a view kids. With the help of the NEAT Scheme to providing sympathetic medical exam she has now completed tw o years of a inations fo r rape victims, and a specially Law Degree, despite "m in o r" hassles prepared handbook fo r paramedical like all the kids having the measles during staff w ill be available in hospital casualty the middle of last year's final exams. departments next month. Our increased publicity through radio and She received $120 per week from the Government, adequate , but hardly a television interviews and articles in news lavish income on which to bring up 3 kids. papers has most directly influenced the number of rape victims contacting the centre. Over the last 4 months, 102 women have been counselled and offered referrals, whereas 109 women approached the centre in the previous 12 months. The financial assistance we have received from i the Federal Health Commission has enabled us to concentrate fu lly in the ongoing coun selling of rape victims w hilst also devoting much time to publicity, legal and medical liason, research, etc. We are greatly concerned that statements made by the PM, Mr. Fraser, first reported to us on January 27th, 1976 concerning proposed cuts in Health Commission Funds, could mean an end to financial assistance we have received Should our funds be cut, the specific needs of rape victims would no longer be catered fo r in the comm unity and this vital service to all women would come to an end. . . . .
Now however, the prospects of her finishing her degree are remote. Mr. Fraser fo r some reason thinks the fa tt ening up of his cows is more im portant than the education of married women. He has cut the allowance available through the NEAT Scheme. From A pril 1st, the allowance w ill be $23 ( 10% of the average male wage) plus the equi valent benefits that one would receive on unemployment benefits (except fo r married women living w ith their hus bands, who only get the $23 ). For Joan, w ith 3 children, this means approx. $80 per week. With rents at the moment working out at $15 -$20 per bedroom, this leaves a maximum of $50 to feed and clothe herself and her children. They worh starve to death, btrt then perhaps they wor^t quite live either.
C hanges in m aintenance Before the Family Law Bill,Mainten ance orders were taken out through a Chamber Magistrate, or through a Legal Aid Office. With the introduction of the Family Law Bill , this has changed so that applications fo r maintenance, by married women, had to be made through a Legal Aid Office, while women who are classified as de-facto, or single mothers still apply directly to the Chamber Mag istrate. However, a couple of weeks ago a further change was made, so that Legal Aid are no longer able to enforce an existing maintenance order, where pay ments are not being made.
This means that a woman who needs to have an existing order enforced must go to a private solicitor. She can still go to a Legal Aid Office fo r advice, or to have a letter w ritten threatening legal action, but a Legal Aid lawyer can no longer represent her in court. This means that in a situation where a woman is not receiving any money for maintenance she is expected to be able to pay fo r a solicitor to get her the money.
Sexism at Kodak Some friends of MABEL have run into trouble at Kodak. They had taken photos of each other naked (but nothing explic itly sexual) and sent the film to be proce ssed Kodak returned most of the photos, some of which were fu ll frontal ; but those including the man's pubic region were withheld A letter accompanying the photos said they were withheld "because they contain subject master of a type which we believe cannot legally be returned." Kodak's reasons must be either : 1. N udity is O.K. but people who enjoy pictures of nude men must not see them; or 2. (the more likely we think), nudity is evil but its alright to in flic t it on women. The nude photos of women were return ed. This seems to be part of the general attitude that women are f it subjects for pornography (even though these photos weren't porn) while men are not. Kodak's action also discriminates against men, in that women may receive photos of them selves nude, while men may not. A t any rate the photos were private property..... the Council for Civil Lib e r t y has been informed, and letters .. to Kodak's Brisbane office, where Kjatives are being held.
DEFEND THE LIVERPOOL WOMEN Since 1971 women in N.S.W., have been able to obtain safe, legal abotions on the decision of one doctor, the doctor performing the term ination. In assessing the risk presented to the physical and mental health o f the woman in continuing with the pregnancy the doctor may consider the bearing social and economic circumstances may have on the woman's mental health. This was Judge Levine's ruling in the Heatherbrae case and it is w ith this interpretation in mind that doctors at clinics such as Preterm and the A rncliffe Centre, as well as doctors in public hospitals like Crown Street, Royal North Shore and Liverpool, are currently performing abortions. * People over the age o f 14 years are enti tled in law to seek medical advice and treatm ent which is confidential and which may not be disclosed to anyone else w ith o u t the permission of the patient. Such medical advice and treatment includes prescription o f contraceptives and perfor mance o f early term abortion under local anaesthetic. The Liverpool Women's Health Centre encourages all women who use the service to confide in people whom they trust to provide com fort, help and support in crisis situations. Often such people are fam ily members . . .husbands
or parents, fo r example. Sometimes, however, fo r a variety of reasons, a woman may feel she does not want to confide in her fam ily and in these circu mstances the staff must respect that decision and maintain the confidentiality of the relationship they have formed w ith the women who use the Centre. As part of a comprehensive service for women the Liverpool Centre performs pregnancy terminations one morning a week. These are medically safe, are free, are performed by salaried staff in a warm and supportive environment, and are legal, w ithin the interpretation of the A ct made by Judge Levine. Following a complaint by the fam ily of a client the Liverpool police, on October 30th, 1975, charged a doctor at the centre w ith using an instrument to procure an unlawful miscarriage, and on November 3rd they laid further charges against a nurse fo r aiding and abetting the procuring of an unlawful misscarriage. These charges fly in the face o f current medical practice and are a blatant attack on the integrity o f the individuals concerned and o f the Women's Health Centres.
Despite representations made to the police the charges are being proceeded w ith and committal proceedings w ill be made to overthrow the Levine ruling which would once more place safe legal abortions outside the reach of r ~ost women. We regard these charges as posing a very grave threat to the right of women to medically safe and reputable treatment.
Kevin Harrold, MLA from Gordon, plans to reintroduce his Infant Life Preservation Bill in the coming session of state Parlia ment. According to the Notice of Motions the bill was introduced on Tuesday 2 March, 1976, in the Legislative Assembly. It is presumably the same bill which lapsed last year when Parliament adjourned. Mr. Harrold, to refresh your memory, is the only member of the DLP in state Parliament; he won his seat when Mr. Jago (Liberal) forgot to renominate a couple of years ago. The main objects of the bill (as defined by Mr. Harrold himself) are: °(a) to ensure that the State regards all human life as inviolable. "(b) to ensure that foetal life has civil rights, which the State has the duty to protect and safeguard no less strongly than those of all other human life. "(c) to ensure that then:are not two classes of citizen in N. S. W., viz., the living whose right to life the law protects and those — the unborn — who do not possess such a right." A foetus is defined as a “child” through out the bill, and the bill seeks, among other things, to make it a felony to "destroy the life of a child capable of being born alive”, unless it "is proved that the act which caused the death of the child was done in good faith for the purpose only of preserving the mother.” The bill provides for a 20 - year sentence for anyone who commits the above offence. Abortions, +hat is legally done ones, must be done in public hospitals, two medical practitioners must certify on oath that the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the mother or her mental and physical health, and the abortion shall be registered with the District Registrar within 14 days of its performance. If this is not enough, "whosoever refers any person for the purpose of procuring an abortion . . . shall be guilty of an offence punishable by penal servitude for two years.” Write to your local member — lobby anyone you know. This bill must be defeated ! . .. from the Women’s Abortion Action Campaign Newsletter.
The committal proceedings (when it is decided whether the charges w ill be pro ceeded with) are to take place on March 22nd at 10 a.m., at the Liverpool Court House. No demonstration is planned but the presence of any sympathetic women at the proceedings would be appreciated. If the charges are proceeded w ith, the legal costs w ill be quite considerable. A defence committee has been formed of women from Liverpool and other areas of Sydney to organise support for the women concerned and to raise money for legal expenses. If you are w illing to help or want further inform ation
RAPE CRISIS CENTRE Ring 692 0292 SATURDAY 13TH MARCH 7:30 p.m.
write to : Interstate women will be here for the Conference / Women's Party
Liverpool Women's Defence Fund Box 65 P. O. Liverpool. N.S.W. 2170. i
M A BEL No. 2. March, 1976.
NURSES GIVEN THE RUN AROUND AGAIN
Extra staffing for disadvantaged schools-WHEN ? Teachers at Warilla High School are now in their third week of strike action. The stoppage occurred over the position of teachers at 'Disadvantaged Schools’ Recognition of the Disadvantaged School policy was fought and won by the Teachers Federation under the Lab or Government. Warilla is a densely pop ulated working area on the South Coast, very close to the BHP Steel Industry at Port Kembla. Warilla was short of a Science teacher and was sent a Reserve teacher, Mr. D Struthers. A Reserve teacher normally takes about half a teacher’s normal work load, as they can be withdrawn from the school at a moments notice by the Dept, of Education. After a meeting by the staff with Mr. Struthers, he agreed to work a full roster as do all the teachers. The Dept., on finding out about this, immediately transferred him to another school as a Music teacher !
A staff meeting was called and they decided that unless he was replaced or reinstated they would stop work for an indefinite period. The dispute has been endorsed by the South Coast Trades and Labour Council, and a strike fund set up to support the teachers. The Inner City schools of Sydney, many of which are Disadvantaged Sch ools, have taken up the issue to support Warilla and rolling stoppages are occurr ing in these schools. Marches of protest have taken place in Warilla and Wollon gong. They consisted of teachers, stud ents and trade unionists. The Dept, of Education has called the Teachers Federation into a compulsory conference of the Arbitration Court, but has made the statement that the Dept, will not accept the decision of the Court if they do not agree with it. < The fight is now intensifying. More news in the next issue.
School counsellor w orks-in Bankstown Girls High School has a population of 840 girls (about half are from migrant families) - all crowded onto a small block with inadequate play ing areas, shelter and seating. As well as language problems and the problem of over-crowding at school, many of the girls have very difficult home lives. Until this year, the School Counsellor worked here one day a week (hopelessly inadequate) ; in 1975. B.G.H. was promised another counsellor for at least two days a week. This woman had worked at the school from 1971-74, and knows many of the girls and their families. Her name is Sue Templeman. Sue is still unemployed and the school still has only a counsellor one day a week. This angered the staff because : 1) there was no additional counselling as promised. Compare Bankstown Boys High up the road with 180 less pupils far better physical conditions, and a counsellor for 2 or 3 days a week. 2) The woman promised the job remain ed unemployed when she was anxious to come back. The staff’s protest letters, submiss ions, phone calls etc. were met with a blank wall each time. They met on 18th February and decided unanimously to invite Sue to work-in, and to call on the Education Dept, to employ her. She “worked-in” on Thursday and Friday
(19th “and 20th). The Dept, was inform ed on the Friday afternoon. On Mon. 23rd Feb., Sue was instructed by the Dept., via a local School Inspector, to leave the premises and not to have any contact with students -,for sometime in the future. After Sue’s dismissal, the staff held a meeting outside the school, on the foot path (so she could be present), and con demned the Dept, for its actions. The staff were 100% in favour of continuing the action. The Parents Meeting that night was a big success, with over 70 people attend ing (usually there’s 5). A letter to the parents from staff had been sent out on the previous Friday,in 4 languages. The parents unanimously agreed and supported the actions to put pressure on the Govt, to get Sue a job at the school. Petitions, letters of protest, and deputations to the Minister for Education and the Dept, of Education are still continuing. There have been many messages and telegrams of support from other schools,, and from many parents. Staff, parents and students are all determined to solve the problem of inadequate counselling if the above actions fail, then a meeting will be held to discuss future tactics. There will be a follow-up to this report in the next Mabel.
A First -Year registered nurse earns $12640 a week. Student nurses earn as little as $8040 (gross) a week, and they work compulsory shifts and study rigorous courses into the bargain. Their Union, the Nurses Association, applied in May 1975 for an 8% wage rise, and this is what happened .... 1. Concil iation Commissioner Johnson rejected the claim, saying it waa not withirvthe wage indexation guidelines. WHY ????? 2. The Nurses appealed to the Indust rial Commission and were granted a hearing before Mr. Justice Day who awarded them a $9 increase. This should have been the end of the matter - its a modest enough claim. BUT . . . . 3. The State Govt, tried to stop the claim going through. The Minister for Labour and Industry, Mr. Hewitt, instructed the Health Commission to OPPOSE the award, so the Health Comm ission filed an appeal against the decision. Just to hold things up a bit more, the State Attorney General joined the Health Commission in filing the appeal. 4. The appeal (against the Nurses cteims) has been heard by the Full Bench but no decision has yet been given. This is a DELAYING TACTIC . The Full Bench has delayed giving their decision until after the State Govt, decided to let the 64% National Wage increase flow on to State employees.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR NURSES ? It seems that the Nurses’ claims will be whittled down from $9 to $7 or so. But this $.7 will only take up the slack in the inflation of consumer prices ; every worker is to get this increase to cope with the cost of living. So the Nurses are being fobbed off with some thing they would have got anyway, and the extra $9 which they already have been awarded, (and'which nowhere near brings them up in line with wages of other professional workers, eg. teachers), is being ignored. All of this is confusing to the Nurses because it is complicated and drawnout, because they work odd hours and need rest when Union meetings are on, and because State authorities have MADE it complicated. Landlords and Real Estate Agents do the same thing : befuddle, confuse, and delay. How long are workers/tenants going to be “ kept in their pi ace” .??? HERE IS WHAT ONE NURSE THINKS: “Liberal Governments havent got the guts to have a go at the stronger unions, so they have a go at the non-militant ones. They know that nurses probably worft strike because of the problems involved in leaving the bedside of a very sick patient, and they are using this to stop the Nurses claims for a decent wage. Throughout history, nurses have been underpaid and overworked. They are being given the run-around once again. However, the International Labour Organization is taking up our case in June this year.”
WOMEN'S HEALTH CENTRES A NEW TACTIC FROM THE RIGHT Dr. Clair Isbister, one of the most widely-publicised opponents o f the feminist Health Centres established by the Womens Movement tw o years ago, has announced that she is setting up a Centre herself, with a group of doctors. The anti-Leichhardt, Liverpool etc., campaign has shifted its attack. No longer do they claim that there is no special need for separate womens clinics, (since that has been proved incorrect) but that there is a need for PROPER ONES - ie., run by them !!!! "A n orthodox womens medical centre of non-political bias..." !!! Isbister also, in the AM A Gazette, described the approach of Leichhardt Womens Health Centre as : "degrading, potentially dangerous, and seemingly devoid of concern for love, a permanent man-woman relationship, the quality of fam ily life and the welfare of children." Whilst the opponents of the feminist Health Centres w ill continue to directly attack them and their access to Govt.
funding, this new tactic of establishing "o rth o d o x " centres develops their attack in a new way.Isbister is planning to seek Govt, fundinq for her project, and if successful this w ill drain away what little money has been allocated for women's health Obviously, the idea is for the Federal Govt, and the State Govt., through projects like Isbister's, to be able to claim they are still funding womens health centres, w itho ut reference to the drastic political changes in attitudes to self-help, sexuality, right to inform ation, non-professionalism, and control of your own body which the "o rth o d o x " centres w ill introduce, in their attempt to push the women’s health movement back into oblivion. But women's aware ness and expectations have risen over the last few years, and so has our intent ion to fig ht for the continuation of our centres) and the battle w ill be harder than they think
A F A IR L Y QUIET MISCARRIAGE Pregnant after five years o f trying and then she had a miss (well that's what they call it , cheery alm ost A lm ost ‘hit-and-miss'.) It's more like dying she told me when I asked was it bad she said like dying a hiccoughing body death a blood spurt a baby fish child a small split murder and m y own body did i t As if her body had betrayed her.
THATS WHEN THE PA R TY BEGINS while driving down newtown with two women friends saw a sign on a funeral parlour saying “weep ye not for the dead for he is but sleeping ” and we smiled sisters we smiled
She said she didn't want to bother the doctor because if was Sunday raining o f course (everything poured sky . womb. eyes. ) She thought she could have it in the toilet and go back to bed. In the end she rang the doctor because there were no more clean towels anyway. page 4
Nurses’ Dispute: Behind the screens Both nurses and housewives are ex pected to fulfil a multitude of roles, from the most menial tasks to activities involving great responsibility and skill. Both these areas of the female workforce have been subject to widespread myst ification about their high purpose, and the essential and natural (for a woman) character of the work they do. They have been fed the same idea that what they’re doing is noble and self-sacrificing and that they should do it without com plaining. Because they are so well-trained, (including childhood training, or condit ioning), they tend not to fight for their GENERAL STUDENT NURSES GROSS rights as women workers ; they tend to WAGES PER WEEK : accept. Thus the nurse traditionally First Y ear---- $80-40 accepts difficult conditions, hard work, Second Year—$91-20 (because of under-staffing), irregular Third Year --$ 1 0 7 -2 0 hours, low pay and lack of recognition of her real worth - always for the sake REGISTERED GENERAL OR PSYCH of her patient. IATRIC NURSES GROSS WAGES PER This kind of emotional blackmail, V/EEK : (which women respond to because of First Y ear--------- $126-40 the way they are brought up), has stopped Second Y ear----- $132-00 nurses from using strike action, which Third Year ------- $137-40 most other workers, INCLUDING DOCT Fourth Year----- -$143-50 ORS, use to gain higher wages and better Fifth Year -------- $149-50 conditions. On Jan. 26th, 1976, the NSW Nurses If we look at the Nurse in history, we Association Council meeting decided can see that she has been kept under, that proposed industrial action would and taught not to complain, while the NOT take place - “At all times nurses doctors tend to do very well for them have stated that no action would be taken selves. T h e Nurse’ has been on a false which would jeopardize the patient, and pedestal as the ‘angel in white’ - com forting, sacrificing, serving unselfishly, it is felt that some of the action proposed could cause added stress to the public the needs and wants of others ; while at already waiting for admission to hosp the same time the profession has the ital for elective surgery,.” lowest status of all in the hierarchy of the medical world. Doctors, firemen, policemen, ambul ance drivers DO strike, providing only Nurses are handmaids to the doctors with bed-pan in hand. “It's a good job emergency services, yet nurses feel that they mustn't. Part of the problem is for a girl -' at least until she gets marriedproviding emergency services because and she can come back to it once the they are already understaffed. Hospital kids have grown up.” This attitude authorities and State bodies have seen to ignores the fact that some women choose this. not to marry, and those who do marry often have to work while their children It is relevant to note that doctors at are still at home, in order to contribute Concord Repatriation Hospital recently towards mortgage/rent. Many single overcame their sense of duty to the mothers, separated women, divorcees, public and went on strike for a 20% widows and other self-supporting women increase in their wages. Similarly, doct work as nurses. They are entitled to pay ors ia th e U.K. have been resorting to rates equivalent to any other worker strike action to protect their financial supporting her/him-self or contributing interests under the National Health Sche half of a family income. Many families me. cannot exist on one wage. As a last ditch stand, the nurses jiave The real way in which nurses are asked the International Labour Organ viewed in the workforce is revealed by the ization to take up their case. However, length of their hourls ; the conditions of the record of this organization is very work ; the demands for study and res poor, and it really does seem that nurses earch outside work hours ; the low level have been given the run-around again. of working respect and credence given They are angels of mercy, angels in white. to their qualifications ; and especially the And angels dont strike. But when the infamously low wages (it is only in rec archangels, the teachers, the garbos,and ent years that any real attempts have other assorted harp-players all feel that been made to bring them to a reason they must use this real last-ditch action, able level.) then perhaps nurses will begin to think of it too. Somehow, they must contend However, the most telling reflection , with the difficulty of carrying out ind on the real status of nursing is the fact ustrial action when human well-being that it is traditionally a female profess and survival depends on their providing ion - like domestic duties, waitressing, a 24 hour service. In the end, angels are repetitive factory work, secretarial jobs, workers first, symbols last. and junior school teaching.
The last wage increase for Gen eral Nurses was granted on 31st May,1974, with a subsequent flowon to Psychiatric Nurses. On this date, a nurse in her First Year of Registration gained a gross increase of $4-30. The following year, Mr. Justice Dey granted them a $9 rise, but this was prevented by the State Government authorities. Nurses, especially in their student years, do not receive adequate wag es;
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HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE FEMINIST BOOKSHOP ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
204 ROWE STREET, EASTWOOD. PHONE 858-3563.............. NOW OPEN ON THURSDAY NIGHT, as well as every week day.
I Womens books, non-sexist children’s books, Health books, all sorts of * books, coffee, sit down and chat, play a feminist record, chat to June * and Julia, and all in beautiful down-town Eastwood...............................
* * *
************************************************************ M ABEL
CO NSU M ER Millions of Australian women are forever being cajoled, duchessed or bullied into buying a variety of worthless junk from the open market, food with little or no nutri tional value, fancy, ill-made and expensive clothes, shoddy durables that go bung before or after the warranty, perfumes, pomades and powders that the advertisers boost up as having mystical qualities. You can look better, smell better, and be more popular than Phyllis Diller, you can lose your fat, get fatter, and swallowing all kinds of pills (provided the brand name is right) will give you the strength of Atlas. But what the consumer does not know, and is unable to find out is the percentage of pumpkin pulp in that tin of apricot jam - or if you get a tin of marmalade and not quite like the taste, a change to another brand won’t help, as both come from the same vat. And that aerosol pack guaranteed to kill every type of vermin could harm you as it lays low fleas, flies and cockroa ches. In other countries, pest strips by law must carry the word “POISON”. No such warning here, and thunderous silence from the Health Department and the sixteen Plastic Manufacturers Institute on the long-range threat of cancer of the liver from vinylcloride plastic bottles. Perhaps you have had thoughts on the convenience of having a deep-freezing cabinet. Didn't that nice lady on T.V. say “ We are saving for our own home and I've got to economise . . . I can save on bulk buying and there is room in the refrigeration section too for supermarket specials.” You are not told with bulk meat, however, that to save money you must buy meat 23 cents per lb. cheaper, or you'll be on the losing side. Men, whether they have a woman to to love or not, are being conned that thair ^charms, wherever they may be, are greatly enhanced with Brut, the male scent which sends girls off their rockers, and girls believe they can make a man go berzerk by dabbing their bodies with erotic sprays men cannot resist even if they want to. Vulnerable teenagers clog up their sweat glands with Mum stick - they cannot do without their Mum until they switch to Uncle Sam. This fickleness throws Mum into a rage, as Uncle Sam tops her as best seller. The age group also smears Clearasil to smother natural skin eruptions, then quzzle gallons of pimple juice, eat greasy food to grow another crop, but it really duesn't matter, because there is more ointment in the tube, and more fried potato chips in cartons, soggy pies, fatty hamburgers made from sausage meat, and half a chicken from the take-away rotissery for only a few dollars. Exorbitant prices are charged for the nearly nothing products!_______
S T R A IG H T TALK
“The biological action hxis digested your socks/'
The Campaign Against Rising Prices (C.A.R.P.), formed in 1970 by a handful of women, has examined, voiced and taken action on skyrocketing prices, particularly foodlines which reached an average of 250 price jumps per week at the peak period, June 1975. We don't blame workers for wanting more wages to catch up with the price spiral. The cause of galloping inflation is the multinationals, avid for maximum profit for their own personal private enrichment, and feeding millions into their overseas parent companies. Our own big giants, the Australian monopolies,follow close on the multinationals' heels, yapping and grovling like pups. Our main activity has been among working class people, housewives and working women, in active campaigning to show who the racketeers are and why it is they are seen as consumer objects and to be consumed by big business. We have been called “pushy females” and worse, by our enemies who plainly don’t like us one little bit. Some of the big giants have tried to eat us, but found we are just not digestible. We thought it very funny indeed (some years ago now, but the example is quite good) when a radio commentator, noted for his male superiority complex described the colour of our petticoats as bright red. In thinking over the past 5 years, the guideline which has thrown us into the hurly-burly of struggle has been ONE LITTLE BIT OF ACTION IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS' The word C.A.R.P. conjures up the idea of persistency and tenacity among women. All women activists in their own field have emerged as “pushy females” in the environment of the “poor little woman” svndrome-
.................... page 5
The staff of the creche taught the children the songs of the new Timor, fed, clothed and sheltered them. I visited the creche twice during my three month stay in Timor. In early September, there were several hundred children being cared for there. By November, many of the orphaned children had been taken in by friends or relatives One of the people cared for at the creche was a young women called Bi - Thersa. From the neighbouring village settlement of Raetada, both of her parents were FRETILIN members. During the coup, their house was burned, they were murdered and Bi - Thersa was mutilated on her back and shoulders with a katana knife. Only taken to hospital a considerable time after the injuries were inflicted, they were healing as ugly, open wounds. In East Timor where the Portuguese have neglected medical services for cent uries, a special class of medical worker the infirmarian - has arisen. They are usually skilled male nurses who bear the brunt of local medical problems and per form minor operations. A Timorese infirmarian at the Maubisse hospital had re-opened and sutured the wounds. When I saw Bi - Thersa at the creche her scars were healing sapidly. She was living with her brother at Raetada and walking several kms each day to the creche for food. Perhaps the scars on her psyche will never heal.
Scene 2 : The Children of Atabae
BACKGROUND TO EAST TIMOR
PORTUGUESE R U L E : For over 400 years East Timor was ruled by the Portuguese. After the fall of the Fascist Regime in Portugal, indep endence was granted to East Timor. Three main groups have been contend ing for control, the right wing UDT and A.P.O.D.E.T.I., a small group which sought unification with Indonesia. The third group is Fretilin with the largest mass support throughout the villages and in the towns. In August 1975, the UDT staged a coup in an attempt to seize power, backed by right wing elements in Aust ralia including ASIO and the CIA with the support of Oil Companies with interests in the area. This was over thrown by the popular action of the Timorese people who rallied behind Fretilin. Sweeping reforms long overdue were implemented. INDONESIA INVADES : On Dec. 7th, 1975, only 12 hours after President Ford had left Djakarta, 15-20,000 Indonesian troops invaded Timor. This was followed by mass slaughter of the Timorese in Dili by U.S. trained Indonesian Commandoes. Fretilin forces have inflicted heavy losses on the Indonesian troops but the situation remains grin . WHY? The Indonesian Generals invaded because they feared an independent East Timor. Ten years ago they seized power in Indonesia in a coup that caused the massacre of 3 i million people. These 700 corrupt geiierals who own and control most of the wealth of Indonesia have since been struggling to keep control over the bankrupt economy at the expense of the Indonesian people. They saw in East Timor a Fretilin Government committed to a programme of social change to overcome poverty and illiteracy, which provided a real threat to them it taken up by the Ind onesian people; besides this is the poss ibility of losing control over the potent ial oil and mineral wealth in Timor. page 6
On a misty plateau in the border garrison town of Atabae, a group of MAU BERE, BI BE RE: FIVE SCENES children perform gymnastics. Behind them, cloud clings to the razorback FROM E AST TIMOR Cailaco mountain. Each day they exercise, sing songs of their own region, It is difficult to talk about the women and learn the use of weapons to defend the heritage they are re-discovering. of Timor without talking about the These are the ‘children' of Achilles children of Timor. In particular Soares, FRETILIN commandante at one needs to talk about the children Atabae. They are 158 children from of the future. To understand the his village, with whom he had a close present brutality, one must under relationship. The songs they sing are like sounds from the ancient past. They stand the past gentleness, the are folksongs of the Makassai dialect, rythms, the magic place of Timor spoken around Baucau. In one song, a Leste, where children are valuable child calls a chant, the chorus responds. people. Only 30 or so kms from where they One of the last conversations I had sing the sounds of war can be heard. before leaving Dili on December 2nd was After they sing they practise handling with a Timorese called Paulo Leao, the weapons. The older of the children race nephew of President Xavier do Amaral. to strip and reconstruct automatic rifles. His first response to news of the imminent Their young fingers strain to push back invasion was: “ But we must get the children the springs. When the rifle is re-assembled out of Dili !" they fire a volley into the air. The exercise From information coming from Radio was done with live ammunition to teach Dili since the Indonesian invasion, I them to respect the weapons with which believe that Paulo may have died on they will later defend their land. December 7th. He probably stayed in In October the children visited Dili Dili to get the children out. where they travelled through the streets on the back of a road construction SCENE 1: The Mau Koli Creche vehicle, singing their songs to keep up the spirits of the people in Dili. The work of the revolutionary youth The children were evacuated from of FRETILIN has been centrally concerned Atabae before it fell to Indonesian with child care. With more — with troops on November 28th. Probably imparting to Timorese children a new sense the older ones are now fighting at the of dignity, community, the worth of them front with FALINTIL - the armed selves as Timorese, and of building healthy forces of FRETILIN. bodies. The latter task is part of the goal of agricultural self-sufficiency, and thus Scene 3 : The Children of Bidau of national independence. At the creche Mau Koli in Maubisse, the After a Fretilin rally in Dili, the child young men of the Popular Organisation of ren from a creche in the suburb of Bidau Timorese Youth (OPJT) worked side by weave through the streets singing the side with the women of the Popular revolutionary songs of Fretelin. Organisation of Timorese Women (OPMT) “O ei Mau Bere Bi Bere O Timor Loro caring for the children of the area, some Sae ita rain ei'' they sing in Tetum. Mau orphaned by the fighting following the Bere are the men of East Timor, Bi Bere UDT coup of August 11th. The creche are the women. Leading their singing Mau Koli was a happy place, but also a sad are the members of OPMT, young women place. It was happy for the future, sad for in cotton dresses wearing the famous the recent past, in which many had died.
cap of the Portuguese Army inscribed with VIVA FRETILIN or INDEPEND ENCE OR DEATH. In the three months of Fretilin government the children of the Bidau creche become a familiar sight, regularly parading through Dili.
Scene 4 : The Slaughter of Muki Rosa (Muki) Bonaparte was secretary of the OPMT. She was a Fretilin delegate at decolonisation talks held in Dili from May 7. There she earned the nickname of ‘Rosa Luxembourg' and ‘the petite revolutionary' from Portuguese officers. An initiator of the OPMT and of the creche Mau Koli she had a reputation with the Fretilin leadership as a talented orqaniser. Her brother Goinxet was a vice-secretary for External Affairs in the Fretilin Central Committee and an act ivist in the OPJT. On a happy day in October, I went with Muki, Goinxet and others from Fretilin to the Fatocama beach near Dili. We fooled and chatted, posing for photos. ‘Have you heard of the Three Marias ?' Goinxet asked. ‘Do people in Australia know about them ?'. Indonesian regular forces invaded Dili on December 7th. On that day, accord ing to a Fretilin soldier who escaped from Dili, Muki and Goinxet died. Ind onesian paratroopers were attempting to drag Muki to a warship where Timor ese women were reportedly being raped by Javanese soldiers. Goinxet was with her. They were both shot after she resist ed the paratroopers.
Scene 5 : The Women of Bobonaro (from the Fretilin paper Timor Leste) .... ‘Advance, woman of Timor ! Advance comrade Bi Bere ! Your struggle is my struggle and our struggle is the struggle of the Mau Bere people, in which you take part. To Timor we bestow our lives, to the last drop of blood, to its struggle, together until the last bullet. One hundred women of Bobonaro have offered themselves to FALINTIL taking up arms against the enemy of their country. What an example they are, the women of Bobonaro. Their rich examp le is bearing fruit to all the other regions of our territory, as it did with other countries in their struggle for national independence. The woman of Timor, always despised by savage colonialism, also feels the yoke of oppression in her flesh.For her to win liberty she must serve the liberty of her country as have the women of our sister territories of Mozambique, Vietnam, Angola, Guinea Bissau and all the others.''
...... from our sister correspondent in Timor, and now in Darwin.
ftOda. CH uk O MABEL
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I arrived in Timor on 5th November last year. As our plane circled Dili airport prior to landing, I didn't realize the part that this tiny country and its people were to play in changing me as a person.......and perhaps my life. I can laugh now as I look back on that particular day, but I can assure you that laughter was far from my reaction on that beautiful sunny day in Dili. I very quickly came to realise that Dili, and for that matter Timor, were nothing like the old Newcastle. To hear o f war, as we do so often in Australia, then to suddenly find oneself . slap bang in the middle o f one, well, goodbye one ego trip. My ego was to take many further batterings. This was just the beginning. SHOCK NUMBER TWO The next day I went to work at a clinic which had been set up in what was once the police station. I t was a clinic for under five year olds. Now here was my real opportunity to show my worth as a nurse and save all the poor Timorese !....... The clinic had no doctors and was staffed by two Timorese men and one woman. This bourgeios trained Aussie nurse who had coped with some o f the worst sit uations in Australian hospitals, was almost useless. I had never seen these diseases, never mind treated them. I very quickly swallowed my pride and set about learn ing all I could. Malaria, beri beri, Pellagra and anaemia were just a few I encountered on that first day. The general health o f the children was apalling. This was certainly not the result o f the recent fighting, but o f long term causes. When the Portuguese contr olled Timor, the health care was no better. Their figures showed a 49% mortality rate for children under five. Horrified ? Well, so was I , and from what I had seen and was yet to see, I have no reason to doubt those figures. The only doctors in Dili (and Timor) when we arrived, were two Australian Red Cross doctors working at Dili hospital. Another was to arrive almost a week later. A grand total o f three doctors to serve a population o f 650,000 people. The former Portuguese doctor was forced to leave Dili at gunpoint by the Port uguese Governor Lemos Pires when he retreated after the coup. As far as Pires was concerned, he was leaving the Timorese ‘to kill each other o ff.' The welfare o f the Timorese certainly did not concern the Portuguese. Their thoughts were for the coffee crop and its handsome profit. I can talk for hours o f the Timorese people and Timor. One cannot spend time in a place like Timor and meet the gentle Timorese people without having some thing to say. They certainly did not have the perfect society but they were on the way to establishing a new free Timor where each person could live free from oppression, with equal opportunity for all. Given a chance, I'm sure they would have succeeded. As I write this the Indonesian troops are killing many Timorese. Since the brutal invasion o f December 7th, I believe many thousands have been slaughtered. Their dream o f a peaceful life has been shattered for the time being, and their greatest fear, Indonesian Imperialism, is now a reality. These people know what that means, they know that people in other Indonesian-held territories, in part icular West Timor, are starving. A fter 450 years o f Portuguese oppression I believe they will fight to the last to regain their shortlived freedom. ..... by a Nursing Sister, who was invited to Tim or by Fretilin just prior to the invasion. She was back in Australia organising more medical help when the invasion occurred, and so is still alive.
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STIMULATE YOURSELF with a look at films made by women about women and the world. Why are women oppressed and why do we want liberation? If you want to discuss these questions you might find a film to suit you at' the SYDNEY WOMENS FILM GROUP. Latest ‘titles include CRAZY LADY - a drama about the fortunws of a woman who leaves her home and family to seek a new identity; DON1T BE TOO POLITE GIRLS - The Melbourne Women's Theatre Group perform their " Women and Work " show and two women workers discuss the problems of women who do two jobs - paid and unpaid.; I HAPPENED TO BE A GIRL - Portraits of four women friends and their att-empts to combine relationships with men and children, other women, work and society. RENTALS are around $5 to $15 each. Contact Margaret or Margo at the SYDNEY FILMMAKERS CO-OP, St Peters Lane Darlinghurst, 2011. Phone 31 3237.
Women’s art courses are being started in Sydney and Melbourne, further evidence that feminism has an important role in art history, art values generally and in politically opening up heads in the art world - plus the reverse bonus for feminism of a cultural perspective. At Preston Institute in Melbourne, Fine Arts M.A., Ann Stephen (see her interview with feminist and art critic Lucy R’ Lippard in Meanjin No. 4, 1975) will be leading the course on women's role in art. l o r details, write to Preston, In Sydney, the WEA will be offering a first course (city class only) entitled Women and Art: The Artist as She. Jude Adams, artist, teacher, WAM collective member and formerly of the London women’s art history collective, will be holding the 18 weekly classes, 8 p.m., Thursdays, starting March 18th. Enrolment costs $18. Phone the WEA at 26 2781 for forms. Jude says of the course : “Women’s role in the visual arts has traditionally been one of passivity, for example, as subject matter or collectors. Women have also been creators of art. This course will cover women artists from the 13th to the 20th centuries inclusive and will discuss issues such as discrimination, the image of women in art, the impact of feminism etc. The work of recent women artists in Australia and overseas will be examined. A dialogue rather than a lecture situation is planned, there will be a lot of visual information and guest women artists talking on their 9. work.” Over the past two months, the Women’s Art ST Movement SvPHey. in Sydney have posted out about 600 invitations to women artists to join the Women’s Art Registry. Member ship of the Registry is, of course, open any time to any woman artist working in a visual medium which can be duplicated in slide form.
WAM is planning a women artists only slide night at One Central Street Gallery at 8 p.m., on Sunday 14th March, and we’d naturally prefer women artists to bring their slides and discuss the work then. Artists have been asked to bring 2 or 3 slides of their work with duplicates of the same (this is important) and preferably in plastic mounts. Your slides should be marked with title, artists name, medium, dimensions and date; also bring a brief, written professional biography (training, exhibitions) and current address; and a $2 membership fee. The Women’s Art Registry will be on permanent view at One Central Street from 14th March onwards - depending on a grant from the IWY Secretariat to buy a projector. Women artists unable to make it to the slide night can post all the above material to: Women’s Art Registry 6/30 Victoria Street, Kings Cross.N.S.W.2011 Enquiries : Tel 358 2349 The Registry will be actively promoted in the art world and the duplicate registry available for public showings to women’s groups, art groups, schools or whatever.
Portraits o f Women, an exhibition during February at Watters Gallery, Sydney by WAM associated artists, Vivienne Binns and Marie McMahon with contributions from WAM collective members Toni Robertson and Frances Budden will be on show at the EwingGeorge Paton Galleries in Melbourne University Union from late March. The Women’s Art Movement in Melbourne is arranging the show and hostessing and paying for the visit to Melbourne of the four artists to coincide with the show. An interview with the artists is set down to appear in the first 1976 issue of A rt Almanac, available on subscription from the Ewing Gallery. page 7
The material in this article came mainly from a series of taped interviews with women who had lived in the Coal Fields of NSW during the Depression and after, and who had fought in the Miners Womens Auxiliaries - Grace Scanlon, Mrs. Richards, Annie Graham, Mrs. Ridley. There were many others who are now dead. One of the MABEL Collective did the interviews over the last three months in the Northern and Southern coalfields of NSW. This is the first of that material, and will be continued in the next issue, bringing some of the history of women and Australian Mining up to the 1970’s. MABEL will then continue the investigation of the lives and actions of women involved in other traditional indust rial areas of work, and to cover other aspects of women’s lives during the 30’s Depression. IF ANY WOMAN HAS A STORY TO TELL, SEND IT TO US, OR WRITE AND WE’LL COME AND INTERVIEW YOU ON TAPE. Coal mining began in Australia in 1801 in the Hunter Valley. If miners in the British Isles were thought to be no more than slaves, in Australia they really were slaves. Convicts were the first miners. They were taken underground and lived there in appalling conditions. They were brought to the surface only on Saturday afternoons, washed their clothes in the sea, and were kept in Barracks. Sundays they were flogged for any misdemeanors that had occurred, and were sent back underground on Mondays. Many of the convicts had been sent here for signing an oath of allegiance to a Union in England. Migration of miners from the British Isles began when the army of men used to control the convicts became more expensive than the output. The miners were selected on the basis of those least likely to cause trouble to the coal owners in their grab to accumul ate vast wealth out of an already rapidly expanding coal industry. But trouble they got7as the miners began the long hard fight for humane conditions and a decent wage. They began to unionize, and by the 1840’s Lodges began to be formed in the mines. The Miners Federation was formed in 1915, to bring national unity to all the mining districts. The hardship and history of the struggle is unequalled in Australian history. The dangerous work underground bred a militancy and class consciousnessamong the mine workers, who had to fight against mine owners in collaboration with the State. Women in Australia had never worked in the mines but came to the coalfields as wives, mothers and daughters of the miners. Townships usually owned by the mine owners were formed around the mines, where in rough dwellings the families lived in poverty and hardship. The townships grew into communities where people shared the little they had. There were no job opportunities for women, and just to exist involved long hours of work in their homes. Most of the men, while radical in their mine struggles,were typically conservative about their wives and families, and the women were seen as being in a position of assistance to the men in their fight. A t Minmi, in the Northern Coal fields, in 1861, the coal owners brought in scab labour to break a strike. The women began "tin k e ttlin g "* the scabs. The police who were escorting the scabs tried to arrest the women but were beaten back. Later three women and men were arrested fo r assaulting police but were released through lack of identification. The scabs were beaten back by women throwing coal, and left the district. A similar situation occurred in Bulli, in 1887. On the arrival of scabs by train, the women placed themselves in front of the train, screaming at the scabs to leave. Some laid themselves on the line, some took off their red flannel petticoats and waved them. The men began to break up : 36 surrendered, leaving four with the engine going back
* TIN KETTLING or TIN PANNING. The women in the coal fields started the practice of tin kettling, which then be came a well known industrial tactic.When scab labour was brought into the mines, the women would beat kettles and pots and pans until the noise became deaf ening. They would keep it up day and night if necessary.
to the jetty. A flying column of women went to capture the four. They all left the district. Again at Minmi in 1893, fighting erupted after scab labour had been housed there. One of the barracks used to house the scabs was cannoned with a home-made canon. Fourteen women were arrested, including young girls,and were gaoled for 14 days for tin kettling. Many such instances occurred,giving the women a chance to do something positive about their living conditions besides learning how to just survive. The women continued m ilitant action fo r many years, supporting the men's claims, taking public action, and feeding and assisting the communities through times of hardship. They organized into Unemployed Womens Committees during the Depression. The first orga nization of their own was formed in Wonthaggi in 1934, and was called The MINERS WOMENS A U X IL IA R Y . The Northern and South ern Coalfields quickly followed, with Auxiliaries being formed in most of the local mine areas. These smaller groups formed Committees in their districts, and then in 1941 in Sydney the N ATIO N AL MINERS WOMENS A U X IL IA R Y was formed. The Auxiliaries were a unique part of Australian Trade Union history. They mobilised the coal fields communities and took an active part in demonstrations over the miners' logs of claims and the dust issue. They were involved in all the anti-war protests, exporting of pig iron to Japan, equal rights and pay fights of women workers. International Womens Day was always celebrated by them. These women fought fo r many other social and political issues, and a t home continued their coal field struggle for survival and support of the men in the mines. Safety in the coal mines has always been one of the main areas of dispute. Australia has had one of the worst histories of accidents and deaths. Employers have an appalling history of criminal neglect, sanct ioned by the Government. Fatalities occur all the time across the country. Two of the worst disasters w ere ......... Bulli. . . March, 1887 . . .Workers forced back to work by employers putting black legs in the mines during a dispute over which one of the main features was safety. The mine blew up. . . 81 men killed. Mt. Kembla . . .1902 . . . Mine blew up and 96 men were killed . . . while the Lodge was fighting ownership over unsafe conditions . . . These tw o communities were only a few miles apart on the Southern coalfields. In many instances all the male members of families were wiped out, as many as four in some families; fathers were found dead beside sons. In both cases disputes had been occurring over safety, and both times the companies had been found to be grossly negligent. No compensation was ever given to any of the families left. They survived on what the workers in the mines could get together for them assisted by other workers.
GRACE SCANLON tells of her life on the coal fields...... “ I married Henry in 1927 and the rot set in... The mine owners cut their wages by \2Vi%.... when the men protested they locked them out. It was the Depression and an unemployed movement began with the women involved. Terrible hardship followed.....to get the dole you received a questionnaire where even the socks you owned had to be listed. It was hard to get relief..... if you had a new baby you couldn’t feed, you couldn’t get relief for it to buy lactogen. The unemployed workers organisation took up these questions...... and they sent bashing gangs of police into the coalfields as a result. After years of this the miners women formed their own organ ization here in 1938.... The Cessnock Miners Womens Auxiliary. * The miners were fighting a log of claims at the time and we assisted. Other Auxiliaries were formed around the North and in Newcastle in 1940we formed the District Council of all the auxiliaries in the North.... Then delegates went to Sydney in 1941 and the National Organization was set up. Lots of the men didn’t like their women taking up public action .... many other men fought with them in the Lodges about this.... eventually the Lodge supported us. They were the first fights to be accepted as an organisation. We used to go to Lodge meetings and address them. Some of the men were embarrassed and so were we but we soon got used to each other. We went to area committees and got accepted there, the Federation was concerned at the time... women coming into a man’s realm... Pit work was different from other jobs... workers like builders labourers that work on the ground. We assured them we did not want to take them over.... just be an organised wing and join the struggle. We got their support for the National Organisation. We won the day and as the years went by, they just took us for granted. It wasn’t that theWomens Auxiliary just supported men... it was our own survival we were fighting for. We lived in areas where there was only the mines.... whole communities of us. We had to convince many of the women to fight... that the struggles were necessary so we could have a better life. It was a hard life... our work was longranged and double-barrelled and we were all wives and mothers. During one struggle I remember the Chifley. Government.. Mrs. Chifley brought out a diet chart... THE GOVERNMENT DIET CHART.... HOW A FAMILY OF 5 COULD SURVIVE ON One Pound Nineteen and Six a Week.... so we brought one out.... HOW TO STARVE ON THE GOVERNMENT DIET CHART OR ON CESSNOCK PRICES THE WORKERS COULD NOT STARVE UNDER Two Pounds Ten a week.
That’s how we survived... soup kitchens, feeding the kids at school... sharing everything even boot leather... The co-operatives supported us.... most of the business was alright, they had to be, we were all they had. We organised relief for families, anything for the children of the area.... we had long strike periods and a lot of hardship but we stood together. There was something happening all the time, every day. We organised State-wide, Nationally.... we had International ties... We organised all our social life... and for every public necessity in the town,... we had radio talks all the time to let the people know.......we spoke on the struggles... we had our own press correspondents... huge press coverings... wrote to all the news papers, union journals, public bodies... we had speakers expressing our position. I tell you it built character, those struggles.... SOMEHOW WHEN YOURE IN YOUR OWN LITTLE FAMILY EVERYTHING JUST GOES ALONG AND YOU NESTLE IN.... When everything is an upheaval.... its different... everyone is together. It seems terribly dead lately... I miss the other women... Kurri... Bellbird... some of it was dangerous work it wasn’t always just putting up a bit of noiseand nothing happening... but somehow you all seemed together. We picketed the shops, some of them sold goods to the police. I can still feel his hand on my shoulder when the police came to break it up... they were basher gangs of police, sent to control........ just thugs in uniform.....I was terrified... we dispersed then. I smile M A BEL
LETTER TO THE ‘LABOUR DAILY’, 3rd May, 1940 from ANNIE GRAHAM, of the Kurri Kurri M.W.A.
when I see the young women today demonstrating and standing up to the police. We pioneered that I think......They called us brazen hussies... it was unheard of... The coalfields women didn’t take long to cotton on... basically they were fighters.... they had to be. A Liberal woman came to Newcastleonce.... Mrs. Stanley Vaughan, to down grade the miners strike and how terrible the miners were,holding everything up... coal it was you see. We decided to go to a public meeting she was holding in Newcastle and take a stand. We went into the hall and let her go for a while.... what those terrible miners were doing... she had a piece of coal in her hand, holding it up!.... We began to call out and interject... then we got up and walked out of the meeting... half the meeting came with us. We went to a park nearby and set up our own meeting......nothing organised, it just happened. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by police, but the women just kept on getting up and speaking. We had a good meeting, then lined up and marched through the town to Trades Hall. She was a Liberal woman and a good speaker, but we wrecked her meeting.”
INTERVIEW WITH MRS. RICHARDS. Secretary of the Scarborough Womens Auxiliary. ‘‘We started our auxiliary in 1938. We marched seven miles in Sydney......for dust compensation.... we had a couple of marches. We walked selling raffle tickets right down near Austinmere, any body in distress, you did what you could for them. The hospital here would have closed if it wasn’t for the Auxiliary,.... we all worked half a day in the hospital, scrubbing floors and things,they paid us and we donated it back. It was just after the big strike. The next hospital was Bulli..... it would have closed if it wasn’t for the auxiliary. We collected every fortnight to build the miners hall here We had meetings there and dances.... we walked miles up in the hills for the money., now we haven’t got it, it belongs to the Council.The mining women at one time went to Canberra, the dust business was really bad at the time, everybody was going. That was the year the North came down. We met up together outside Canberra. Sir Garfield Barwick was dodging us all day but we cornered him. He turned around and said to us......“ YOU MINERS WIVES ARE ONLY GOOD FOR BEARING KIDS” ..... it wasn’t a very gent lemanly thing to say......he was like a lot of those politicians you can never.... anyway the women certainly told HIM off well and
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
MRS. RIDLEY from Stanford................. * “ We never knew when the Depression started and finished. Life was very hard. The men had to fight for every little gain. I became involved when the unemployed movement first set up. I only had one child then. I remember I heard about a meeting being held that night and decided to go. We had built a little shack and it only had one door. My husband sat in the doorway so I couldn’t go, but I was only about six stone so I slipped out the window and away down the road I went......he was alright after that...... got used to it and always minded the children so I could be in all the meetings and demonstrations. When I went to have my second child we were still in the little tin shack. We had no water or electricity, no proper sheets and brown paper under the only blanket to keep us warm.... it was so cold.... well they wouldn’t let any of the mining women have their babies in the hospital here. We had no money you see.... no money to go away and have it either. I couldn’t have it here as we had no facilities at home.....how could I have it at home in these conditions, so I wrote to the hospital and all the Government ministers con cerned.. demanding my right to have it in the hospital. I received no satisfactory answer so I informed them I intended to have it on the hospital steps... and I meant it...... well I presented myself there and they took me in.... treated like a queen I was.......... M A BEL
As a member of the Womens Auxiliary of the Miners Federation and the wife of a mine worker, I am proud to take part in the present struggle and wish to appeal through youf paper to other women; I think women should realise we comprise 50% of the population and if we are as strongly organised as our menfolk the strength of the Com bined Mining Unions would be doubled. Women can organise. We proved it in the past, we prove it daily working in the home We have at various times in various countries proved it by industrial struggles. Our organisation in the coalfields is just beginning. It took us years to convince our menfolk that Womens Auxiliar ies would bean assett to the Miners Union, but before we were even one year old we proved it. Even in our infancy our claim was correct and again as in 1938 we are actively assisting the disputes committee. Women should combine because the fight for better conditions and hours is our fight as much as the men’s. Because we want the men to have shorter working hours, because we want them to retire at 60 instead of dropping dead in harness. We want a wage adjustment so we can balance our budgets without the strain of worrying and plann ing that brings grey hair and premature old age. Because we want holidays that are a pleasant rest and not a nightmare foreshadowing weeks of scrimping and scheming to make up for a blank pay. There is sufficient reason to justify not only the desire of every sensible mineworker’s wife to help, but also to show all the wives of all the working men the necessity to help. There are many ways we can help. By a word of encouragement to our men, by an interest in the progress of the struggle and being able to discuss the stoppage with the men in a constructive manner. The men can assist to make things easier for us. If you want to win out then we must be taken into this fight too. Discuss this dispute with your wife, mother or daughter. Some do, I know, but many do not. Unfortunately many of our men are still inclined to the conception that they are the superior sex and women cannot be expected to understand about politics, governments, industrial disputes and wars. They fall for the tactics of their exploiters, to keep 50% of the adult working population backward politically, left to the tender mercies of the unscrupulous radio news commentators and news papers. So very often of course they have never been told. Because they have been left out of the men’s struggles for life, working women can become a weakening influence during industrial struggle. That is the tragedy that many working men do not live up to their slogans. You all no doubt accept equality of sex in the abstract, but rarely in reality. Most of the domestic obstacles can be overcome during stoppages to allow both men and women to give some of their time to the conducting of the struggle. If it is worth winning it is surely deserving of some time and energy of all of us. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
MAUDE HITCHEN, 14th August 1937, wrote...... Are our housing conditions and general environment satisfactory? .... a camera would reveal some appalling things about our dwell ings here in Coledale and other mining villages. Leaking roofs through which the rain pours on the beds, broken windows patched up with rags and bits of packing cases to prevent the wind blowing us out of bed. No baths; no laundry conveniences; and for these shacks, in which often enough the floors are made unsafe due to depredation of white ants ( often the lining of bags and paper falling into tatters) many miners and unemployed are paying from Ten to Twelve shillings rent per week. In these places is it any wonder that epidemic diseases play such havoc with child life. In addition to this horror of dwellings here in Coledale a sanitary depot, opposite the hospital, dumps tons of nitesoil into the sea , which washes up all along the beaches where our children, children of mine workers and unemployed, are infected with filthy diseases - it invades our hovels and pollutes our food. WOMEN MINERS ? PROTECTED OR DISCRIMINATED AGAINST ? The N. S. W. Government may alter legislation to allow women to train for short periods in welfare and managerial positions. Women working as miners is not on the agenda unless the issue is forced, with the lifting of legal restrictions. CAN WOMEN DO IT ? District Check Inspector for the Miners Federation, Vern Moffitt commented . . . “There are no grounds for preventing women from doing 80% of the work performed today in N. S. W. mines. The mining industry is highly mechanised and though there are still many problems of safety and working conditions, they affect men no less than w om en.” MABEL SAYS___ There should be no legal restrictions or personal prejudices or discrimination allowed to prevent women from doing any job. In many instances women are kept out of work when mining is the only employ ment possibility in their area. The conditions would be no worse than many others that women have to work under. It is not a question of forcing women down mines, but of acknowledging the employment realities of many areas - where it is either the jobs that exist or no jobs at all. THE RIGHT TO WORK IS SUPPOSED TO BE A UNION PRINCIPLE. page 9
SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE MEN
Y o u n e v e r r e a lly b e lie v e it w ill h a p p e n t o y o u ..... You never really believe it will happen to you. You hear your friends tell their tales of how the madness label has been put upon them, of their endless treks to psychiatrists in order to hold their jobs, of the inferences that their radical feminist politics are, in fact crazy. But you always believe yourself exempt in some way, from the possibility of that part icular set of indignities. And when it happens to you, you just can’t believe it. Late last year it became necessary for me to have a medical examination for employment by the Public Service Board. I duly went along on the appoint ed day, and having sat around the waiting room for about half an hour, cooli ng my heels on a day when there were many other much more important things to do, I went into the examination. Not being inclined to tell the PSB anything very much about myself, I was somewhat unforthcoming with information. Into the bargain, the good doctor seemed somewhat slower at removing his hands from my bare body than any of the other many doctors with whom I have had to deal.. I cert ainly emerged feeling very surly. And when he informed me that, in view of the fact that I had had an operation earlier in the year, I would have to have another examination, at a later date, my short supply of patience ran out. If that was to be the case, I said* would it be possible for me to be examined by a female doctor. Yes, that was possible. Soon after, I once again received a letter which required me to forward an authorization to the surgeon who had done the deed on me to provide the PSB with the necessary information about the results, and another directive (they could never be seen as invitations) * to attend the medical centre on a given date and at a specific time. Since this* appointment coincided with a partic ularly busy time at the C.A.E. where I work - end of year assessment meetings and such were an almost daily occurrenceI dashed off a fairly curt letter indic ating that I couldn't attend, and adding that I couldn't quite see the necessity of attendence anyhow, since the PSB had an authority tc talk to the doctor, and I had already been examined. I added in conclusion that I wasn't having any more examinations except at the hands of doctors that I selected and paid, and over whose behaviour I felt myself to have some control. To this letter, no answer until late in January, when another letter arrived bearing another injunction to attend, and an underlined statement that it was page 10
very important that I do so. Well, by then I had had a holiday, and life, although busy, wasn't jammed with rigid hourly appointments. I also believed that, since I had stated my position quite clearly in a letter, the whole business might simply be one of these tiresome formalities with which employment by the PSB is replete. So on the appointed day, of: I went. When I arrived I was informed that there had been a mistake in the letter and the appointment was in fact half an hour later than indicated. Not long enough to do anything much but read, and wonder whether I would be through in time to beat the one hour parking meter I was on. Forty minutes later, the doctor emerged and said that perhaps I might like to wait another ten minutes, but then he would be ready. I trotted off to the parking meter, and on my way back up the road, was hassled by a bunch of shorts-and-singlet men about the size of my tits. None of these things were likely to improve my rap idly shortening temper . i ARE YOU HAPPY ? Eventually the doctor admitted me to his room. Having gone through the usual form alities about identity, he then proceeded to ask me if I was happy in my job. Had I been more biddable I probably would have answered that one, at least, some what more sociably. Instead I expre ssed the view that I couldn’t quite see what that had to do with the success of abdominal surgery, much less how well I do my job. Oh, he said, this wasn't a physical examination ; quite the contrary. The last doctor who saw me felt that I was a very serious and intense person, and had recommended that I have a psychiatric examination. At first, I was just stunned - a feeling that was soon replaced by rage ; but of course, by then the chips were down, and I realised that I would have to play this one with some care, or run the risk of losing my job. So I took three very deep breaths, crossed my legs, and began to play the lady. The range of questions in the inter view covered the whole gamut from the absurd, to the prying, to the insulting. In the first category went such quest ions as when did my mother go grey, what was the pattern of her greying. In the second category, were included such things as was there any man in my life, anyone special I fancied ; would I call myself something of a women's libber ; what did I think of Germaine Greer.
In the insulting category go such questions as.... is that the natural colour of your hair, or is it rinsed ; would you consider yourself something of a manhater ; oh no, doctor, some of my best friends are men !...; and patronisingly, what is this nonsense about male doct ors, after all, we’ve all been properly trained, and we do this kind of thing all the time. He exhibited much interest in my family's medical history, with partic ular reference to inherited disease patterns, asked me many questions about parental and grand-parental health, and whether anyone in the ex tended family had died of a number of exotic diseases, which I seriously doubt anyone could keep track of, even in a small family, much less one as large as ours. He also expressed much interest in my professional life, and how I saw my career, judging me along the way, as ambitious. What did I do with my spare time ? Well, I read, played a little guitar, went to the Opera, all of which pleased him. Not once did I mention the words politics, demonstrations, the working class, liberation, or MABEL, In the end he said as far as he was con cerned, I had passed with flying colours, an assertion that made me boil all over again, since he seemed to be assuming amongst other things, that one hour was sufficient time in which to make such a judgement, and that he was capable of doing it. But then, I was a lady for a very long time, so it wasn't hard to revert to the role.
WHO DECIDES ? On sober reflection, I find what happ ened to me very disturbinq for two sets of reasons. The first set are con cerned with the extent to which a woman is allowed to protest at what she considers to be inappropriate treat ment at the hands of a doctor, or any other professional, for that matter. It would seem to me to be a matter of personal preference, if not individual right, to decide to which doctors I entrust my body. The issue of the doctor’s sex, all other things being equal, might be more important for me than where the professional training was acquired. The decision about whether that is the most important factor can only be mine to make. It follows from this of course that I find the whole idea of doctors working in such jobs as somewhat odd, and I can't help wondering what kinds of people take those jobs, and for what reasons. Those reasons, for my disquiet, are obviously very personal. But the second set of reasons are equally clearly political, and relate to the way in which this society treats women dissidents. Two other women with whom I work were examined by the same doctor who examined me in the first place, but in both cases, neither complained to the doctor about his humiliating treatment of them. Neither of them were referred for psy chiatric examination. I would like to have some answers to the following questions, as a con sequence. * Who decides who has psychiatric exa minations fo r their Public Service Em ployment, and who doesn't ? * What happens to the information gathered in that interview ? * Who decides whether I am mad or sane, or unbalanced or disturbed ? * In what way are the following quest ions (all asked in the interview),known to be related to satisfactory job perf ormance, and/or long term good health, mental or physical ?
+Are you a man-hater ? +Would you consider yourself a ‘womens libber’ ? ’+ What do yen think of G.Greer ? * Why couldn't I be told who is on the committee which makes the assessment of my health status ? Who are these people, and what are their qualifications, and how did they get to be on that com mittee ? a iitti
CANONS TO THE LtfFT AND RIGHT VOLLEYED AND THUNDERED. FROM “OUR GIRL” IN MILAN. Earlier this year a group of Italian femin ists invaded Milan Cathedral - throwing eggs. It was part of an abortion demonst ration, scheduled on the square outside. The women, angered by the release the day before of the Vatican’s latest conservative statement on sexual matters, rushed into the Cathedral. The priests then shut those already inside in, separa ting them from the rest of the demonst rators still outside. The police were called to arrest them. However, the women outside ran to ask help from a separate student demonst ration in support of some left cause in the next square and attempted with their aid to rescue the imprisoned women. The incident made front page in much of Italy, and the following day saw another invasion, this time in another northern city, with promises from the women that this was only the beginning. This was a new tack in the Italian women’s movement. Over the past few years their attention and pressure has been mainly on the political front, pres suring for legislative changes in abortion and contraception laws. In a country like Italy where the image of woman is the real mother-virgin/whore dichotomy (and never in the body of a single woman) these reforms really hit hard at the basic beliefs of Italian society. So Italian women in the movement have to be tough. One of the reasons for their switching some of the pressure from the political to the religious powers is their betrayal by the PCI, the Italian Communist Party, the second biggest party in the parliament. The women collected 50,000 signatures to a petition, which under the Italian Constitution forces a parliamentary debate. They were asking for the decriminalisation of abortion, and the right of women to control their fertility. They also wanted the right of paramedical to perform an abortion or any competent person as women were developing competence with the Karman cannula, and wanted to set up clinics. This is very necessary in Italy where most doctors are Catholics. The Communists (faced with the poss ibility of being invited into a coalition with the majority Christian Democrats in the latest of Italy's chronic political crises, or maybe with being returned as majority party) failed to support the women’s demands. They put up as an alternative proposal, a law which is rather similar to the one we have here now. All the other left parties are taking a similar line or no line, and the women have no group prepared to bring up their view amongst the dozen or so parties represented. Thus, they are now turning their attention on the church, though keeping up public pressure on the Communists also, which gives them, if nothing else, a very individual position, taking on both the giants, left and right. It validated once more our need not to trust any male political structures - as they will sell us out for power.
When I asked the examining doctor those questions, he said that he was not at liberty to discuss that inform ation. * Why wasn't I told in advance that I was being examined by a psychiatrist ? * What happens to those people who aren't told in advance, and who don't ask in what way certain questions are related to their physical health ? * Are they given a psychiatric exam ination without ever knowing that it is being done ? * Finally, can anyone legally be req uired to undergo psychiatric examination at the discretion and at the hands of someone unknown, and in the profession al sense, unidentifiable, prior to employ ment by the PSB ? All very disturbing ! All questions you might ask, should you ever be in the situation of looking for a job in the Public Service. But don't believe it can never happen to you. H M ABEL
INVISIBLE The worst casualties of our post war migration policies are the women. During the sixties and seventies as British and North European migration slowed down, the Government, prodded by industries' need for cheap unskilled labour, brought out hundreds of thousands of migrants from Southern Europe and the Middle East. The men were factory fodder, pure and simple, the women breeding machines incubating more or less white faces to fill our empty land, lest darker neighbours had ideas about it. As well as their role as mothers and 'God's police', preventing the men from making a nuisance of themselves w ith Australian women, the migrant women provided very cheap labour fo r industries such as the garment and electronics trades. They were overworked and poorly paid and weren't able to organise fo r better conditions. They are isolated by their lack of English, historical tensions among their countries of origin ( fo r example, Greece and Turkey), and restricted by their cultural values which give the men almost total control over their women. They became almost invisible,lacking the skills to put their cases, going quietly or noisily mad in their isolation; moving from a peasant culture to an urban one, being poor and being a woman. Very little has been done by governments, by unions, by anyone to see how they were coping. Basically no one wanted to know. Last year, funded by the Australian Government under a REDS grant for employing the unemployed, a research group of Sydney feminists organised a survey of over a thousand women of working age from six language groups in Marrickville and South Sydney local government areas on their problems relating to employment. We found out what we expected, but now we have evidence fo r it. One of the more startling findings was the rate of unemployment amongst these women. All ethnic groups bar the Spanish sample had higher rates of unemployment than the national average. Our average was 14% overall - 13% for the Australian women, up to 25% for the Arabic speaking women. Few were registered w ith the Commonwealth Employment Service, so they would not show up in those figures. This shows that the current economic crisis is really hitting the women more than the men, particularly the migrants who were h it by the ta rriff cuts in textiles and electrical goods. The problem is made worse when you look at the job experiences and education al backgrounds of most of these women. Most of them had not held paid jobs before they came to Australia, and had moved into unskilled jobs when they arrived. Their lack of formal education compounds their problems. 6% have never been to school at all, and a further 39% did not complete their primary education. Many
+ ***» *» *» ***★★★★*★*★★★★ mabel
are not literate in their own language, let alone English. Obviously literacy for women was not considered im portant either in their country or amongst our migrant selectors. This makes any plans for retraining or any re-allocation of their labour d iffic u lt, as suitable jobs are dim in ishing rapidly.
Apart from the more pragmatic reasons for needing to read and write, the problems these women must face, the feelings of inadequacy, of dependence on better educated husbands and children must add to their feelings of powerlessness and isolation. Few learn English, and in fact few could, as much of the teaching done in this country depends at least in part on literacy in their own language, if not the Roman alphabet. More than half of these women are employed, a higher rate than their Australian counterparts. They have to be because their husbands are nearly all in unskilled, low paid positions and if they are to establish themselves, both salaries are needed. What they have absorbed from the Australian society is the urge fo r consumer goods, which is not surprising, given the poverty of their countries of origin. Thus, a house, car furniture etc., represent to them, success in Australian society.
■AT THE GELATO BAR, 1 1 4 0 CAMPBELL ‘TARADE, J BONDI BEACH.
♦ In each issue of MABEL, Mabel Figner J and three of her friends who often eat J out together will write about a restaur♦ ant of their choice. of jobs now as they did before this one,' 4 One steamy night last week, after a before they were married or before they ♦ swim at Neilsen Park, Mabel Figner and migrated. The only exceptions were those ♦ her three friends decided to go for a mentioned above who had had skilled or J meal to the Gelato Bar, Bondi Beach, for white collar jobs but had joined their T it is here that you can sample the most Working, though, presents them w ith J magnificent gelato and some of the best sisters at the lower levels. real problems apart from the levels and J cakes in Sydney. The Gelato Bar is open Most of these women are not protesting, conditions of the jobs. The overwhelming ^.ev ery day except Monday from 11 a.m. to ■ they don't know that anything could be around midnight. It is not licensed but anxiety is childcare. Most of these women you can bring your own wine. The ser are young marrieds and have children. One done, or tried. They are rarely involved in unions, know little of organisations that * vice is quick, the staff polite, and the in five of those working has children under might help them. They often are not * style like an elegant coffee shop similar two; about half have children under five. to Georges, Double Bay ! The Gelato angry because they do not see themselves They have little access to childcare centres Bar is run by a Hungarian Jewish family as having rights. But they have problems, and most are privately minded; some appear and the menu features some Jewish spec huge problems,which do need some form not to be minded at all. This, they are ialities like matzo ball soup and Letso of action. A few people are trying, but * with kolbassy. It is very varied, with obviously anxious about, and added to come up against problems like the illiteracy * coffee, light snacks, salads, sea foods, this is the attitude of their husbands who which really limits these women's chances * schnitzels, chicken, steaks and sweets. sometimes object to the children being of communication. There is a need to develop * Most of the clientele are Europeans, the ' minded by others. For many of the men, * atmosphere is civilized and relaxed, and programmes to allow them to develop some : their wives working outside the home is a * basic skills and some self-respect, as w ithout * it is a place where women can go and not 3 new experience, they often d on 't like it, that, they w ill remain passive and completely 3 * be hassled. feeling threatened by their role as bread oppressed. * Mabel Nightingale and Mabel Prince winner being shared, and make no conc * (Wonder Woman’s sister) reached the How this can be done is not clear. One essions in housework at all. Most of these * restaurant first and marvelled at the cakes 3 big barrier is the husbands who, already women work fu ll time, very few could * : insecure, would feel more threatened by afford to work part time and few unskilled * in the front window while waiting for the others. When Mabel Figner and 3 their wives coping better. How to defuse * jobs are available on that basis. Full time Mabel Woolstonecraft arrived dragging 3 this, or give the women the strength to for these women means 40 hours at least, a bottle of McWilliams White Burgundy 3 stand up to the men, we don't really not the 35 hours of the clerical worker, * (75) from the nearby Bondi Beach Hotel, 3 know. The only thing to do is try out with early starts before the children can 2 * they all sat down to eat. various ideas - multilingual playgroups,a go to school. * As the Mabels wished to concentrate 3 craft co-operative that would allow the their energies on those areas for which 3 Some did bring skills w ith them, and even women to use their craft skills they brought these are not being used. Therefore, you * the Gelato Bar is renowned, they limited 3 from the villages, literacy groups in their 3 * themselves to entrees. Mabel N. and get dressmakers working as piecework own language, these are just a few possib Mabel W. started with 1 dozen oysters 3 * machinists, teachers working as cleaners, ilities that could be tried. These are only ($2-50) which tasted good but weren’t 3 and so on. Often their lack of English is * as big as they could have been. Mabel P. 3 bandaids for women victims of the system, a barrier to finding better jobs, but after a * had chicken soup (75 c.) which was 3 but would at least start to develop articulate few years of being 'the wog who works * adequate, and Mabel F. crumbed brains > women to protest at their own plight, a + ($1-50). The batter on the brains was the polisher' or 'packs the toothpaste tubes' prerequisite for any social change. m * slightly too thick which meant that it the women are too disheartened and * overpowered their delicate flavour.While depressed to try anything else. * they were better than the Shiek’s Tent 3 * and Diethnes , they weren’t up to the Job m obility is one way only - down ! , * The 'land of o pp ortu nity' gives these \ * standard of Chez Marius. ! women chances to work - only in the * It was time for dessert and Mabel F., ’ least skilled and least desirable jobs. Their * our cake consultant (C.C.), who hos ] job histories show they hold the same types * sampled cakes from a wide variety of * cake shops in Sydney and suburbs, * advised Mabel P., who was unsure of * * which of these morsels of heaven on * earth to consume, to order cherry strud- : 3 & # ♦ el rather than the cherry slice, because of the extra amount of crunchy pastry 3 * 1 THERE’S A HOUSING CRISIS NOW | * wrapped around those real cherries. With 3 | IS ‘SHELTER’ TO CONTINUE ? | * cream this cost $1-10. The apple strudel 3 ■ jj. * is of such high quality that both she and 3 The working groups - Public Housing * * Mabel W. felt it worthwhile to each have j Tenancy, Co-operatives, and Special * ** a slice with cream (90 c.) Mabel N., not one for the cakes, had a small but Needs - and their interested friends * exquisite gelato - coffee and cherry -made. are meeting together on I * with real fruit (60 c.). 3 We cannot overemphasize the excell- 3 SAT. MARCH 6th 1976 I ence of the cakes. In fact, if you arrive 3 1-30 to 4-30 p.m. I * about 11 a.m. you can witness the 3 at SOUTH SYDNEY COMMUNITY | emergence, tray by tray, from the oven to the shop window. This is a good time AID 118 Regent St. Redfern. I to sample their great iced coffee or choc (St.Lukes Church, next door to | olate. BP Service Station.) | The Gelato Bar is expensive, but the DISCUSSION: Is SHELTER to quality of the cakes and gelato makes • • • p v it a must for that special treat.!!!!!!! continue m its present form..,.
without Govt, backing ? Because of the present housing crisis it is crucial that we decide how we are going to make it work. | Contact address: 39 Darghan St., 2 Tel.: 660-6136. Glebe.
’| | *¥¥¥¥¥¥¥¥¥¥¥¥***¥¥»¥*¥
or months, men who have no interest in either the railway or the A.F.U.L.E., but they don't suffer from the dread obnoxious complaint of being female, so they get taken on. UNIONISM It's a fallacy that women make bad union members. Yet I read in the press last year that women drivers would be a very good idea - with them, maybe the trains would run with out the interruption of industrial action. If this is a general trend of opinion then they're in for a big disappointment. No matter whether you're male or female or blue spotted bogweed, if you belong to any kind of organisation, whether a trade union, club, or whatever, then you are generally bound by the decisions of that organisation. SEX AT SIXTY M. P. H.
don’t touch it, it’s mine! ” Locomotives have fascinated me since the very beginning of my childhood. All my life I've wanted to be a driver, and the earliest comment I can remember from my parents is that only boys become enginemen, girls marry and have children. Most of my child hood was spent traipsing along the railway line near my home and watching the loco motives go past, they were steam then, while my parents thought I was playing with dolls with other girls.
the sexes only have separate rooms and I’ve yet to hear of a mass orgy happening there.” . . . . "Yes, but we like to wander to the bathroom in our underpants and we couldn’t do that with women around.” The fact that women tend to see more than that on any beach with today's brief swimwear seems to have escaped them.
While we are on the very interesting subject of toilet facilities, it has been brought to my notice that on 46-class It is fully eighteen months since I first electric locos where there is no toilet made an application to the Public Trans provided for enginemen, it is the accepted port Commission for employment as an practice for a man to relieve himself by enginewoman and to the Australian hanging out the door. I’d say women are Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemore likely to look on this as a bit of a men for membership of that union. The joke than to worry about it. However, PTC wrote back that they would seek the it’s not a valid objection since a member views of the relevant unions. The of the public could see him and he'd be A.F.U.L.E., that it would put the matter on a charge of indecent exposure. to its next Divisional Council some two On this type of loco, the crew are months away. supposed to relieve themselves in an In the meantime, I wasn’t idle. I put my accredited place, which means stopping ambition to every driver that I could lay at the nearest station and using the my hands on. Some of their answers were facilities there. And if men can do this encouraging, some disappointing, but the on a 46-class, then women could do it majority didn't care either way. on all classes. No doubt the driver who said that I After my various deliberations with the might ignore signals because I was fixing PTC I attended a meeting of the Combined my false eyelashes was only teasing, but Shop Stewards early last year and they he expressed a trend of opinion that voted overwhelmingly in support of me, women couldn't be taken seriously, that but felt that I should try and meet the they just weren’t capable. men and put my ideas to them on a more official basis than just talking to individuals. BARRACK ORGIES Consequently, I asked the A.F*.U.L.E., to put out a circular to their branches The main PTC bugbear is that there is requesting invitations for me to attend no barracks accommodation for women to some of their meetings. stay in while rostered out of Sydney because I duly attended seven meetings and from the men normally share rooms. This glosses the objections raised it was clearly evident over the fact that the men can, and often that a lot of these men were still living do, get a single room because the guy they fifty years ago with regard to their views have to share with frequently snores or in on womens' capabilities and job expec other ways disturbs their rest. tations. It is also the policy of the A.F.U.L.E., to move for single rooms for all enginemen MEN AND MUSCLE and if a woman were employed then they would expect these,jingle facilities a little After the ludicrous barrack situation and earlier. Or they could put women in a toilet facilities which appeared to pre hotel. This idea is not unknown to the occupy them all, the next greatest fear PTC since stewardesses who work to was that women would not be able to Griffith have to stay in a hotel because assist with any heavy work that needs to of lack of barrack accommodation for be performed. This is, of course, one of females. the greatest myths perpetrated by society, that women are totally unable to do heavy Branches of the A.F.U.L.E., tend to be work as well as men can. It was useful a little conservative on the idea of sharing to indoctrinate women with this myth barracks. Single rooms only will not do. when the only future that counted for It must be entirely separate wings for each sex. I've naturally answered, "but in hotels a woman was a home and marriage. k k k k k k k k
There is an old saying that an ounce of sense is worth a ton of strength. Know how is the thing that counts, not brawn. One person can get a studio couch up on the roof of a station wagon, not by lifting it, but by pushing and sliding over the station wagon door. Men don't have the right to decide whether a job will be too heavy or too dirty, or too anything. Women stand no more chance of sustaining a hernia than do men. Women are not inherently weaker biologically. Sociologically they have been brought up to believe that they are.
TAKING MEN'S JOBS There is a well worn argument that women who apply for this work will be taking men’s jobs. With thousands out of work isn’t it just a bit immoral for a woman to want to take a job that could be given to an unemployed male ? A lot of men are not attracted by the shift work involved. They want regular hours and that’s one thing that this job just doesn't have. FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME WHEN THE PTC HAS BEEN AD VER T ISING FOR TRAINEE ENGINEMEN, THEY HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FILL THEIR VACANCIES'.
Both the PTC and the A.F.U.L.E., have raised the point that women are likely to get waylaid and attacked if called on to walk at night to a signal box in the course of their duties as observers. This ignores the fact that women get attacked in the street during daylight and even in their homes, so nowhere is really safe. When you think of it logically, station assistants are far more prone to being bashed than are engine crews. There are a number of female station assistants who work late at night. From the way that some wives are thinking, having male and female together in a lonely dark cab, all night long and miles from nowhere, is going to be better than Number 96, and in glorious living technicolour. The sad truth is that there is a time and a place for everything, and this time is not during workhours and the place is not on railway property. Ah; yes, you might have such lofty notions, but what if he doesn't ?What then? Smash into the back of something while trying to defend yourself ? Not withstanding that this could happen, it could also happen between male employees. Such an attack has occurred on the railway within the last few years. Needless to say, such a dread thing as homosexuality was hushed up. The very best answer that I’ve yet heard on this question came from a driver, and he said, " No man in his right mind would try and have it off with a woman that he’s working with whilst travelling at fifty, sixty or seventy miles an hour. No, far better to wait until he's stuck in the loop for forty minutes and enjoy himself.” While I disagree that the footplate is the place for any kind of sexual activity, I can appreciate the humour of his reply to the extent that he's clearly a thinking man and has all the details worked out in advance. WOMEN’S WOE. A lot of the men appear to think that when women menstruate they spend a week flat on their backs with the smelling salts. Maybe their wives do, but I suspect that they don’t , so why it shoud be different whilst working for a living I can’t imagine. Yes, but won’t women use it as an excuse to get out of work that they don’t want to do ? No more than men will use the excuse of backache from too much garden ing or whatever. Laziness is not a totally female complaint. It's up to the driver to insist that the work be done. Enginemen appear to be under the impression that any woman in this field will be perpetually frustrated and as ugly as sin. I don't know, maybe they will. But this impression implies that all men are never frustrated and that all have the features of Robert Redford or Paul Newman I should be so lucky.
To overcome this problem, the PTC takes on fly by nights. Men straight off the street with no railway seniority at all, men who are only taking the job to see what it's like, men who have no intention of staying more than a few weeks
To date, I've contacted the A.R.U.; the A.F.U.L.E.; the Federal body of the A.R.U. - who directed the State A.R.U., to help me - I'm still waiting; the Federal Assistant Secretary of the A.F.U.L.E., Frank Hussey; the U.A.W.; Peter Cox, Shadow Minister for Transport in N.S.W.; the Minister for Transport - there were two last year
on f>a3 e
M A B EL
1 March, 1976
dried apricots A SHORT STORY Annie Harrower lived alone. At seventy three, she felt that life prob ably held no more surprises. Her weekly routine varied so little that she saw herself as being like the piece of petrified wood on the china cabinet. Norman had brought it back from Africa once, along with a brown - spotted shell and another shell, smaller, that had finger like projections. And with a husband in the Navy, she was used to being on her own; it did not seem to make much difference that he died, really.
Her daughter Anne was married to a surveyor and lived in Perth, 2,600 miles away. The distance from Moscow to Madrid, as Anne had said in an air-letter. They had only been back once, to show her the little boy. Somehow Annie couldn’t feel that she had any real connection with the child. He was learning to say ‘Nana’. Gracious God, he would be thirteen now. Yes, next month. She remembered because it was on the same day as Melba’s, the twenty-sixth of September. Annie took down the writing pad and began to make her shopping list. But how old was Melba this year? Was it last Christmas or the one before, the wedding....eggs, Annie wrote on the paper. At sixty four, her friend Melba had lost three stone and married Mr. W. Gladstone West (call me Glad), a rich and hearty man of eighty. “You’re just a chicken” , he had told her at the club one evening, “ver-ry de-lect-able,” in his rumbly voice. Annie privately thought he was a bit of a wag. She did not like to think that Melba had married him for his money, but Melba had said that she did. Not in front of Glad, of course. Black shoelaces, Vilb. o f butter, jar honey, Annie wrote. She was meticulous; with a little finger she adjusted her glasses after each entry. She often acted as if there were someone else in the room. Funny, Melba and Glad seemed quite happy. The day before the wedding, Melba had come down, all in a tizz and out of breath, carrying bottles of stout and lem onade. “Here, Annie, have a drink with me, eh ? Just a drop. Where’s the opener ? Gawd-jesus, every thing in this house is always put away where you can’t find the bloody thing.” She never stopped talking, Annie thought, she was one of those people who invaded kitchens, ate all your scones (though not lately), and wanted to read your letters. Still. Poor Mr. Jenkins from the corner house, who had died and nobody knew for four days. Rights. Rights? Why had that word popped into M A BEL
her head? Oh, the day before the wedding, yes, and Melba drinking noisily and then stopping and leaning over to say, “Eh, Annie, what if he wants, you know,..... his rights ?” Annie had gone blank at the thought, not known what to say. But Melba took another sip and said, “You know what Bessie Knight said ? She said, well Melba, if you don’t feel up to it, send him over to me, I’ll fix him up. She did. Old Bessie!” Annie did not know Bessie very well. She was always winning at Hoy! down at the Pen sioners Club,apparently. China vases and things, which she gave to her grandchildren when they got married. And pretended she had bought them.... A week later, a glowing Mrs. Melba West arrived, all in pink silk, on her way to town. Annie had not liked to ask. So Melba told her: it was good, made her feel like a girl again, to be married. She had been married the first time at fif teen, Annie remembered. Annie herself was on the verge of being thirty before Norman had arrived, roses and wine, Mr. Norman Harrower of the R.A.N. Lovely man, really. She looked at the wood on the cabinet, and chewed the end of her pen. Apricots ? She had a taste for dried fruit and yoghurt and nuts, a product of the year she’d had vegetarian students boarding in the front room. Also she was fond of delicacies, like corn relish and choko pickles, which her sister made (oh! Ellen was dead! But there were two jars left in the cupboard under the sink.) And Scottish sardines. Champ ignons and sour cream with parsley on a lamb chop. She did not much like pumpkin, such an old people’s food, it seemed. She remembered her grandmother tucking into great slabs of the horrible stuff at Sunday roast dinners. Childhood was as close to Annie as her marr ied life was remote and strange. It remained as a sort of hazy inter lude of partings and returnings, with a very suspect romanticism somehow. She could not now recall, even with scrunched-up eyes, Norman’s face ; he had a tobacco-brown moustache, and she could begin with that, trying to build a face around it. It never worked. Even when she resorted to the photo graph album, he looked out at her as a stranger, a man with squeaky little eyes and a broad brown smile. Had she loved him? There, that was the shopping list done. Birthday card for Stephen dried apricots black shoelaces eggs honey V zlb butter
3 Del apples Deadant 2 lamb chops tin champs, cash cheque see Melba stamps Was that all? There was a row of ants marching up the cupboard door. But the last of the honey was in the fridge? Dash little ants, she was always killing them, and hating the smell of the ants dead on her fingers. “These things are sent to try us,” her mother would have said, laughing, ironic. Of course it didn’t matter. But still, she hated the ant smell. Scooping up the Wettex, she attacked them, squeezing and wiping until they were gone. Poo, they stunk. What was it in the cupboard. Inside the door, a pink crusted stain (she tasted it on her finger) sweet. With the carving knife she scraped at it, through to the bare wood in one part. Blast! She had cut her finger. On the bus she unwrapped the hanky from her finger and sucked the cut clean. All those years she had bled, and for one daughter, who went away to Perth. How queer things had turned out, really. Oh, small can white hi-gloss paint, for the cupboard... She took out the list, and wrote it down bumpily. Pushing the glasses back up on her
nose, she called out Next Stop ! “I know love”, said the bus driver. That was a funny thing to say, you could take it two ways.....she was in a strange mood today. In the Sanitarium Health Food Store, Annie remembered she hadn’t been to the bank to cash her cheque. What a dither she was in, all over silly ants and a cut fin ger. The teller was new; he handed her six tens (for the fortnight) without a smile. Why hadn’t she put any back in, now? Did she
mean to spend it all, would she dare? For once in her life, surely. To be brave, to prove perhaps that she was not petrified into the routine of waiting for death. What a dreadful phrase, someone had said it on the T.V. last night. Monday Conference on'Geriatric Care. Gentle Jesus. She was becom ing whimsical, fey. But she would spend the money...a scarf, a canary? It was obvious that she would have to learn to be extravagant. Smiling at the man behind the till, she wandered around the dis plays and thought obliquely that she was back in the Health Food Store after all. What’s new here, she said, pronouncing new “noo” like her father had. Funny man, her father,. Thin and wiry and solitary and not-in-the-least rom antic, like Annie herself. Or no, she was like him. Eighty one cents! Could she afford dried apricots at this price? “ People on fixed in comes during a period of inflation.2’ who had said that? Not the T.V., must have been someone on the wireless. Good on him, too. Pensioners couldn’t be too careful, really. She must remember to pop in at Melba’s on the way home. Melba was extravagant, and yet it was funny, she was always worr ying about dying before she had enough money in the bank for her funeral. For some reason it was a matter of pride with her that it should not be Glad’s money that buried her. And Noreen and Kenny didn’t have much, the son and daughter. Both drunks. Well, Annie had enough for a funeral. What a morbid morning. Pushing her glasses onto the bridge of her nose, she could smell on her hand the dead ant odour. She puffed out her breath. I wonder why they put the honey on the bottom shelf? Annie Harrower had never been so frightened in her life, never, not even whenthe other kids used to tease her under the pepper tree, nor when she had been married, though that was scary enough, no, not ever. She could not control her bladder, she could feel a wet trickle in her pants, warm, like the kindergarten when she had moved from the wet patch on the floor and let Miss McBean blame some body else, they had never caught her but now she was caught, yes, it was pretty obvious. It had gone down her legs, she had let go in a dreadful blur and now there was a pool on the floor, she was standing in this half-dark room in a puddle she had made herself. The man had taken the apricots from the bottom of her bag and asked her quite kindly to come into the room at the back of the shop. He was so embarrassed. “‘There is a mirror,” he said in a very soft voice, “I saw you in the mirror. And it has our price on it, our label.” He was pointing at a little sticker on the cellophane bag. Annie noticed there was a hair, a short black hair, on the cellophane too. Then her eyes blurred again, and for an instant she had a sense o f the sleepy soft smell o f a child, Anne, cuddling Anne against her chest years ago and sinking her own face in the child’s soft fair hair, kissing the forehead (skin on bone) and the warm sleepy face, and then the memory went. She could recall nothing. She found it difficult to say who she was. “I’m sorry,” the man said, “but I must have your name.” Annie mumbled something. “Pardon? What did you say?’ the man leaned into her face. “McBean,” Annie said quietly, “Miss McBean.” Despite thempage 13
WOMENS DANCE to celebrate INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY SATURDAY 6th MARCH BALMAIN TOWN HALL 7-30 pm until Midnight ADMISSION $2-00 PROCEEDS TO IWD and to the WOMENS WIRELESS Taped Music and “Talent Quest.” WOMEN ONLY For more info., see Penny or Brigit, 124 Marion ST.,Leichhardt. &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& Continued from page 12 . —
but their replies were virtually the same — their enquiries were taking longer than expected; Mr. McLatchie, Director of Personnel at Transport House; Mr. Godfrey, Locomotions Manager; Mr. Crews; various Councillors of the A.F.U.L.E.; the Council for Discrimination in Employment and the N.S.W. Women's Advisory Board. I enrolled last year in the three courses necessary to set out on the footplate. These are Safe Working, which covers signalling, detonators etc. DieselElectric Locomotives, the mechanical and electrical side; and Westinghouse Automatic Air Brake, covering the braking system of the train. Although most men don't enrol in these courses until they start out as Trainee Enginemen, any railway employee may enrol in any course offered by the Railway Institute at any time. These courses are free. The time has most definately come for consistent pressure that demands proof of the bona fides of various organisations it comes to women's issues. page 14
f m ad arch itect 2 In the Sydney Morning Herald of SSaturday 20th December, 1975, appear e d an article headed 2ARCHITECT TELLS OF BU ILD IN G ZSITTOBSTRUCTION - PROFESSOR ■■BLAMES WORKERS, UNIONS. S In this article is a list of all the ^barriers, problems, torm ent, distress, Sworry, anguish etc., that Prof. Arnaboldi ^Managing Director of Clarence Street ■■Holdings Pty. Ltds, and Professor of ■Architecture at the University of Milan Jfaced during the construction of a SSydney building that he designed. 2 Dillingham Constructions Pty. Ltd., Shad the contract to build this headache ■■of Mr. Arnaboldi's. (Incidentally, he 2never comments on how much money he 2has made out of it.) Dillingham's (of SFraser Island fame) is a well known name j i n both the building and mining industries 2in Australia. Dillingham Corporation 2 o f Australia Ltd ., (parent company of ZDillingham Construction) is a 100% SAmerican owned company which made 2a net p ro fit of $US 13.7 m illion in S1973, an increase of 75% on the previous Syear's profit. ! Apart from the usual anti-union, antiSworker sentiments that one would expect 2from a man in this privileged position, SProf. Arnaboldi is quoted as saying Z 'T w o female bricklayers were pushed 2forward to Dillinghams and the labourers 2struck while they were being accepted . . . SWomen's Libbers demonstrated in the ■■street to bring these women in and this 2glorious example of equality in work 2 op po rtun ity fin ally resulted in the lacceptance of the women. A couch Swas moved into the workshed." I Mr. Arnaboldi does not make himself ■■clear as to what he means by this last 2statement, although one doesn't need Smuch imagination to visualize what She thinks went on on that job and jjw hat his opinions of women builders 2labourers are.
THE REAL STORY As the work progressed on the Arnaboldi project and the numbers of workers on the site increased, a list of demands was drawn up around the question o f safety and presented to the management. One of these demands was fo r a full-tim e firstaid officer. The management, in the usual style of trying to dodge workers' issues, called fo r a Department o f Labour and Industry inspection of the site. How ever, this little tactic did not work, and in fact the Department placed further safety requirements on the company. A woman first-aid officer arrived on the site, and the company refused to employ her. The builders labourers on the site decided to continue to work and that the woman should w ork w ith them, so a work-in was begun. The next day the Police were called by the Dillingham Company's Industrial Officer, and all builders labourers were requested to leave the site under threat of arrest. Also at this stage, Dillinghams sacked one o f the builders labourers and the workers were forced o ff the site.
Further discussions were to no avail, and builders labourers were summoned to the Industrial Court. The Commissioner who heard the case recommended that the company employ a builders labourers first-aid officer w ith no discrimination against women.
V ic tim is a tio n ... A member of the Communist Party [in Sydney, Don Syme, was the victim [of a vicious attack at his home, by three |unknown men, on Feb. 4th this year. [The attack was so savage that it appears | a deliberate attempt was marie to kill [him. His daughter was also attacked, but |managed to break away and ran for help. I He has just been released from hospital. THEY TRIED TO KILL MY FATHER. I They killed his dog after two attempts [Such a lovely dog [They wanted to kill them both I Kicked both their heads in [Kicked both their guts in [Would have kicked him to death too Except Nellie was there Thanks Nellie ! | We all sit round like stunned mullets | Heads like spinning wheels | Asking questions [Answering questions | Spinning | Why they wanted to - Why they didnt| Why ? I Well............ He is a well known Communist He is an activist in the local area sand-mining - Stop It sewerage - We Want It local hospital - Improve It Vietnam - Stop It poultry farmers - Save Them education - Improve It Womens rights - well, the more obvious ones [Fought in the Second World War too. J Joined the Communist Party then too, [Tried to change Still tries [Still trying....... [Has an effect often II wonder why they wanted to kill him. [Police say - NO OBVIOUS MOTIVE.■
I was recently in the Northern Terr itory, where I heard reports from aborigines (mainly the Gurindji) that black women employed on cattle stations as domestics were receiving wages of around $10 a week, plus “keep"- and from past experience you can imagine what “keep" entails. It is hard to check up on these reports but I am sure they are pretty accurate. One man told me his wife got only $15 per month! The female domestics' work should be covered by the Miscellaneous Work ers Union. Apparently for such low wages to be paid the women would have to be classified as “slow" workers. This can only be done by getting an application signed by the industrial registrar or the secretary of the North Australian Workers Union in Darwin. Although the problem of organising the women would be great, it still seems that this area has suffered a horrifying neglect. There are people in the Miscellan eous Workers Union in Sydney and Darwin who are prepared to start tackling the problem; I think the womens movement should also become involved in publicising the situation and pushing for a political remedy, such as the abolition of the slow workers clause in the award. Could women who are interested in this contact me on 6920378. ■
The labourers met again and put to the management that the first-aid officer would be w illing to do builders labourers work on the flo or on which the first-aid shed was situated. Dillinghams to ta lly rejected this offer, saying that it was their prerogative to hire who they wished. They had already shown their hand by the use of the Police and then went further - using scab labour to bring mat erials to carpenters working on the site while labourers were on site. The foreman on the site stated that “ when a worker falls and dies there is no need fo r a firstaid o ffic e r." The dispute continued and the workers were left no alternative than to go on strike. And the campaign mounted was around tw o questions: 1. Should women have equal rights of employment opportunities in the building industry w ith men ? 2. Should men lie injured on jobs to keep women unemployed ? The strike continued fo r something like six weeks and a number of demonstrations were held outside Dillinghams office and also at the Master Builders Association, the main employer organisation in the building industry. The company finally offered to employ the female first-aid officer, if she was prepared to do three jobs - knowing it was completely against union policy and that it would not be accepted, and knowing that it would never have been asked if the applicant was a man. The dispute was fin ally resolved in a conference in the Federal A rbitration Court. As work continued, another woman was employed as a general labourer. These tw o positions were held for the fu ll length of the job. And, according to the foreman , the woman who was employed as a general labourer was the best worker on the site.
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Get your printing done by the first feminist press in Australia, established this year. EVERYWOMAN
CESSNOCK 31/1/1930. DONT SERVE POLICE - REQUEST BY MINERS WIVES. This was made to shop-keepers and business people at a meeting, followed by a demonstration of 1500 people in Cessnock. Very few hop-keepers failed to comply with the request.
94 Abercrombie Street Chippendale. N. S. W.
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Continued, -from ©aoe 2 3 . . . selves, they were both looking at the trickle where it had run on the uneven floor down to the corner where the bulk Muesli was stored. The man cleaned it up with an old towel. “I’m sorry,” whispered Annie. “Yes, I know,” the man said, “listen Miss McBean, where do you live?” He wanted to take her home. “McBean? But don’t you see, she’s dead, been dead for many years now, Melba read it out to me out of the......Melba is expecting me, I must go now, if you’ll excuse me.” The man was asking her to sit down. Your name, your name, your name. “Elizabeth Harrower, no, Annie. I’m sorry. Lizzie is my sister. She lives at number thirtytwo.....” She felt better sitting down, although the names were confusing, and as she had begun to say Lizzie’s address, she remembered that Lizzie was dead. She took a deep breath and spoke out quite loudly, “ I must go home. I’m sorry, I never...” the words came out in a rush and she was telling him it was unbel ievable, she had never, she could not understand it herself, however she had remembered her address and her name was Annie Harrower she had not meant to do this at all, quite the opposite in fact, here, she had plenty of money. She showed him the sixty dollars. The man frowned. Suddenly Annie began to cry without any noise, saying bleakly, but I was to go to Melba’s today, she’s expect ing me you see and she worries dreadfully if people don’t come when they’ve promised, I must go now. The man was getting bored, and the smell annoyed him. He looked at her address on the Pension Card, gave her a tissue, and took her out to the car. He found that he was driving her to the Police Station, after all.
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No. 2. March, 1976.
chicks no more - A YOUNG FEMINIST REPORTS FROM THE BEACH HEAD.
Is surfing only for guys, or can girls surf too ? No its not only for guys, though many people believe this. And, yes, girls can surf. With a little practice they are usually just as good as guys and better. Well, we are supposed to have better balance. But why are there not many women surfing ? Maybe its not cool for girls to surf. And the attitudes of most guys would turn you off, even if you wanted to. When I asked guys what they thought of girls surfing, their ans wers were amazing. Some said “it would be cool and more girls should get into it” , but not many said that Then there were those who said.... “Oh yeah that would be alright, if they only went out for a wave and not for a pose,” as they flick their hair back and check to see if anyone is looking. Some amazing answers were ; “Thejfre not supposed to be out there on boards, they should be on the beach waiting for their guy.” Other comments were : “Girls can’t surf,why ask.” One real smart guy from Narooma said....“ The cunts are hopeless, some are alright, but not as good as guys.” These answers were not collected just from one beach. They were all over the country, inland and right around the coastal areas. These were the answers that quite a few guys believed. Girls, when asked if they would like to surf, gave answers like......... “Yes, but my boyfriend wouldn't like it.” Others were... “ Yes, but how could you when guys wouldnt give you a go.” and “No, surfing is too much of a cool thing to do, and that really shits me off.” “I would but I’d feel a bit paranoid about the critical reactions from girls and guys.”
DID YOU KNOW ? 1. According to legend the wahines of early Hawaii were just as clever as the men on boards. 2. The beauty of Hawaiian women surfers delighted many a European visitor around 1819. The mission aries who arrived the following year soon put a stop to it. 3. In ancient Hawaii, women also enjoyed the waves and according to legend, at least one surfing beach, Kekaiomamala ( The Sea of Mamala ), was named after a cham pion woman surfer. 4. Wollongong formed the first Women’s Rescue and Resuscitation team in the world. 5. Coogee and Manly also started a rescue and resuscitation team in 1911. Davoli - $US 180 (New Jersey). There were ten placings. Australia’s sole invitee was Gail Couper, but she was unable to make the trip. 10. In America there has been a Women’s International Surfing Association formed (WISA). The association also distributes to its members a bi-monthly bulletin called “Women in Waves'’. WISA was formed in 1975 in California and is open to any woman surfer in the world. 11. More and more women are getting into surfing, and a lot more women have won events surfing all over the world.
6. When female and male surfers competed against each other in events, Linda Bensen (U.S.A.) was the 1964 world title winner other title winners were Mick Doyle, Nat Young, Midget Farelly arid Joey Cabell. Mention that a woman also won and people just don’t believe you. 7. Another former world champion surfboard rider - Joyce Hoffman. 8. Judy Trim won Australian Titles in 1968 and state titles in 68-69. 9. Hang Ten Women’s International Contest held in California on September 20th 1975. “Women Only”. First was Margo Oberg and she took home the $US 1,500 prize money. (Hawaii) Second was Linda Westfall - $US 600 (California) Third was Linda MABEL
We asked a few people about males and females competing against each other in events. One young man said he didn’t think girls should compete against guys in local events. Only when they become professionals. They should have their own events until they become professionals. Answer Aren’t we good enough to compete against local guys ? Are they on higher levels ? One girl said “ It’s a good idea if they were judged on their ability to ride and not by a name.” Another answered, “Competitions in the surfing scene are pretty shithouse, maybe women might stop a bit of that ‘ I’m better than you’ thing that comes out, and also that ‘I ride such and such a board, I’m cool’ thing.” (Male comment) Another girl said “ True surfing is not trying to beat the person next to you. It’s a feeling of being alive and getting a bit of freedom, it’s more of an art. People have wrecked the true meaning of surfing and the waves by commercializing it.”
When we asked all guys if their egos would be put down if a girl beat them in a surfing event, they all answered YES. But'I wouldn’t feel put down if a guy beat me in a running race. So, maybe it’s time their huge egos were put down a bit. We asked a few people why they call women chicks. Answers were 1. Because they are. 2. Don’t know, never thought about it. 3. I just say it because I was brought up near the surf, and chicks is what we call girls. 4. I have used it all my life and my father says it. 5. You see it all the time in magazines and you hear it all the time, next thing you know, you’re saying it. DON’T LET SOCIETY MOULD YOUR BRAINS. WE DO HAVE NAMES.
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O M P e A S T M K iO
After 4 years of renting at 25 Alberta Street, the Womens Move ment in Sydney is about to move into its own premises . ......IF, IN THE NEAR FUTURE, WE CAN RAISE $16,000........... The House proposed for purchase is big, near Central Railway, and costs $48,5000. We have about $10,000 but need another • $16,000 for the deposit. This will mean monthly repayments on the Bank Loan of $289 per month ~ NO MORE THAN WE PAY NOW IN RENT. And Rent goes up, but the repayments wont. The House will be bought in the name of the Health and Resources Foundation, a womens movement company, and will thus be prot ected legally from any individual running away with the dough, or turfing us out. ......PLEASE SERIOUSLY CONSIDER A SUBSTANTIAL DONATION ......or even a little one. One suggestion if you havent got ready cash, but you want to give money : If you are employed and on a regular income, ask the Bank for a Loan (say its for a Colour TV or some other acceptable consumer item) - give the money to the House, and pay off the Loan over a year or two. A Womens House on its own doesnt guarantee movement vitality in the long fight ahead, but without one with some permanence, things are so much harder. We may not have this chance again so please ACT NOW. Send Cheques/Money Orders to : “Womens House (Donation)” 25 Alberta St.,Sydney.2000. * # * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * # * * * -* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Mabel Collective,. Sydney, 1976 ( ) * Published by the Mabel Collective, authorized by Vera Figner 25 Alberta Street, Sydney. 2000. Printed by Media Press, Shirlow Street, Marrickville. N. S. W.
U K 6 M A r tS £
100 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne 5000. Ph 547 1564 A.C.T. 5 Lobelia Street A.C.T. 2601. Ph 47 8070 QUEENSLAND 108 Lt. Roma Street Brisbane 4000 TASMANIA 16 Regent Street Hobart 7000 NORTHERN TERRITORY 42 McLoughlin Street Darwin 5790 SOUTH AUSTRALIA Bloor House, Bloor Court Adelaide 5000- Ph 51 6551 WESTERN AUSTRALIA 21 Glendower Street North Perth 6006 SYDNEY 25 Alberta Street Sydney 2000. Ph 61 7525 [Open House - for newcomers Mondays 6.50 pm. Joyce 665 2995]
Rape Crisis Centre 692 0292 Women's Electoral Lobby 255 2788 Health: Leichhardt Women's Health Centre - 560 5011 Liverpool WHO - 601 5555 Eastern Sub's - 56 2216 Control (Abortion Referral) -| M o n .-Fri., 6pm.-9pm., 61 7525 Refuges: "Elsie", Glebe, 660 1571 "Bonnie", Bonnyrigg "Betsy", Chester Hill Blacktown Community Cottage Hurstville Women's Refuge Marrickville Women's Refuge Group Contacts: Bankstown - Janet 77 7478 Michelle, 771 6715 Julie, 708 5729 Hurstville - Joy, 50 9945 Joan, 522 6118 Nola, 587 1165 North Shore - Carol, 411 1182 Joyce, 411 8829 Parramatta - Naomi, 658 5764 Wendy, 650 6829 Eastern Sub's - Heather, •589 4416 Macquarie Uni - Box 40, Union Sydney Uni - Box 124, Wentworth Bldg. Lesbian Feminist Collective Meryl or Sue, 798 0191
Mabel was an Australian feminist newspaper published by the Sydney-based Mabel Collective in 8 issues between 1975 and 1978.
Published on May 31, 2019
Mabel was an Australian feminist newspaper published by the Sydney-based Mabel Collective in 8 issues between 1975 and 1978.