Cyclists for nuclear disarmament


Donated by Diana Pittock

Museum of Australian Democracy collection

This badge is one of many produced in the 1980s in support of the anti-nuclear movement. The donor, Diana Pittock, writes of some of the activists and community groups:

Nuclear Free Australia was involved a number of rallies opposing the government’s close alliance with the USA and its nuclear-equipped military through the 1980s. People for Nuclear Disarmament was an[other] active organisation, with local groups meeting in Melbourne regularly, concerned about a nuclear threat to Australia. This was the Cold War period involving the USA, with which Australia, together with New Zealand, had a close alliance, the ANZUS Treaty. This involved the threat of USA warships which did not disclose whether they had nuclear weapons on board [when] visiting Australian ports. At Pine Gap in the Northern Territory there was a USA communications and tracking station, [believed to be] operating as a spy base and command and control centre in the event of nuclear war.

Also topical at that time was the threat of nuclear winter. International scientific studies asserted that should nuclear war occur in the northern hemisphere, the smoke and other pollutants released could create a year-long ‘winter’ extending into the southern hemisphere … Also, of course, the health effects of radioactivity were a major concern. Australian Dr Helen Caldicott was, and is still, a strong campaigner about the dangers of nuclear radiation, and helped establish Doctors for a Nuclear Free Australia.

At various rallies and in campaigning at election times [there] were opportunities to express a democratic opposing view to the government’s stance.