Stop work to stop the war


Donated by Barry York

Museum of Australian Democracy collection

The Vietnam Moratorium campaign was aimed at disrupting ‘business as usual’ and involved large marches and mass demonstrations in cities and towns across Australia. The first and largest protest took place in Melbourne in May 1970 and saw more than 100,000 people take to the street; one of the leaders of the march was Dr Jim Cairns, a Labor Member of Parliament who would later become Deputy Prime Minister in the Whitlam government. The second Moratorium march in September 1970, although smaller, saw violent clashes between protesters and police. The third took place in June 1971 and again was marred by violence. In December 1972, immediately after coming to office, the Whitlam government withdrew the last Australian forces from Vietnam.

The Vietnam Moratorium organisers used the distinctive orange and white symbol on most of the material they produced to promote the marches. There were many variations of this badge produced.

Badge donor Barry York writes:

My father, Loreto, worked in a factory and, as shop steward, supported this campaign. From memory, four or five of his fellow-workers took part in the ‘strike’ to stop the Vietnam War and marched in the Moratorium. Anyway, I was also very active in all this, as a university student at the time.