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APPENDIX

APPENDIX


THE NATURE OF PROTEST : SURVEY OF THE SYDNEY MORNING
HERALD AND THE SUN HERALD FOR 1983


by Robin and Jane Handley


THE NATURE OF PROTEST

SURVEY OF THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
AND THE SUN HERALD FOR 1983
by Robin and Jane Handley

1.              INTRODUCTION

Al.

Media reporting is one of the main sources of information on the nature and level of protest activity in the community. This newspaper survey undertook to explore news reports with regard to:

the different forms of protest (in what ways do people express their protest, e.g. public meeting, petition, march, hunger-strike, picket?);

b) the nature of the subject-matter of protest (what is the
protest about, e.g. Government policies at home or abroad, protection of the environment?);

c) whom protest is directed (e.g. employers, home governments,
overseas governments);

d) who are the protesters (are they identifiable in terms of
age, sex, occupation, class, race, residence or any other specific attribute?);

what are the features of the particular protests (e.g. how many people participate, does violence occur, are arrests made?).

The survey was not intended as a detailed scientific study but rather as a broad overview of the nature of protest activity. The difficulty of classifying the material recorded proved a major problem.


2.

Choice of Paper and Year "

The Sydney Morning Herald and the Sun Herald (both published by Fairfax and Sons Ltd) were chosen because of ease of access to back issues on microfilm. The year 1983 was the most recent year available on microfilm in the University of Wollongong library, where the research for the survey was undertaken.

Terms of Reference of the Survey

The first problem to be confronted before undertaking the survey, was what should constitute a 'protest' for the purposes of the study. Although 'protest' can be defined simply as 'a public assertion of views', this proved too wide a definition for the purposes of the study, as a large proportion of any newspaper is devoted to a public assertion of views. Thus, for the purposes of the study, 'protest' was taken to be a public assertion of views using some other medium than the newspaper alone. This definition therefore excluded some protest- related material which appears in newspapers, such as letters to the Editor, editorials, press releases, advertisements, and background or in-depth articles.

Furthermore, because of the common occurrence of industrial action, it was decided to exclude industrial action from the definition, except where it was accompanied by some form of physical protest such as a walk-out or picket. Legal action taken before a court or tribunal was also excluded because of the use of other means to restore a dispute without the emphasis being on 'public protest'.

Three incidents described as 'riots', although not necessarily riots in a legal sense, were included because they appeared to be spontaneous and disorderly protests, influenced by particular social or economic conditions:


3.

2. SURVEY RESULTS

(a) The Forms of Protest

TABLE 1

Form of Protest              Number of

Protests

i)              Stationary              97              47.32

ii) Mobile              14              6.83

iii) Industrial              39              19.02

24              I              11.71

v)              Mixed

              32              15.12

              205              100

TOTAL NUMBER OF PROTESTS

Five categories of protest were utilised for the purposes of the survey, and each protest reported in the newspapers was recorded in only one category so that the actual number of protests could be recorded.

i)              Stationary Protest

Disruption              of              public              ceremonies,              cabinet              meeting or

parliamentary sessions.

Conference. Forum. Public Meeting. Meeting with Politicians or Government Representatives.

Sit-In. Sleep-In. Squat. Vigil. Barricade.              Tent Embassy.

Blockade.

Rally.

Gathering for entertainment for protest purposes.

Formation of protest group. Official launching of campaigns. 'Campaign drives'.

Endorsement of a political candidate by a non-political group as a protest.


4.

Resignation in protest. (Unrelated to employment.) Hunger strike. Refusal to buy certain goods.

Wearing special clothing/costumes.

Petition. Written protest delivered to politician or Government Department.

Singing/Dancing as protest.

Physical prevention of building/destruction (lying before bulldozers, chaining to trees, occupation of building sites).

ii) Mobile Protest

March. Flotilla. Regatta. (Carrying placards or special effects.)

Deputation (with or without petition).

iii) Industrial Protest

Boycott.

Secondary boycott.

Green bans. Work bans. Stop Work.

Walk-out.

Picket.

Strike-breaking.

Bans on non-prescribed duties in employment.

Bans on uniform wearing.

Donation of wages/salary in protest as an alternative to strike.

Resignation in Protest.

Meetings related solely to employment issues.

iv) Non Law-Abiding Protest

This section was not labelled 'Civil Disobedience' as the protesters had not deliberately violated the law for the purposes of their protest in every instance. Whilst the protests in this section were not law-abiding, they did not ,always result in the arrest of protesters.

Graffiti.

Provoking prosecution by admitting breaches of the Crimes Act. Destruction of equipment.

Freeing captive animals.

Breaking through barriers.

Breaking and entering premises.

Attempt to resist eviction.

Trespass (or any activity involving alleged trespass such as sit-in, barricade, physical prevention of development projects). .

Entering military or naval installations.

Riot. Jail riot.

Street fight or physical attack erupting from protest.

387


5.

v)              Mixed Forms of Protest

Where a protest combined any number of the above forms it was placed in this category.

TABLE 2

Where applicable, protest was also classified as:

Prolonged

Where the protest Was sustained over a period of several days or more

Simultaneous

Where more than one protest about the same issue occurred in separate locations on the same day.

Alleged Law Breaking Where arrests were made.

Personal Injury and Damage to  Property

Where people were injured or property damaged.

N.B.              There were also protests which were described as

'violent' or 'tense' and where persons were allegedly attacked or police carried batons, but in respect of which no arrests, damage, Or injuries were reported.


6.

(b)              The Subject-Matter of Protest

3

TABLE

1              Subject - Matter of Protests              1

Number of Protests

L. %

i)              Defence

27

13.17

ii)              Education

18

8.78

iii)              Employment

47

22.93

iv)              Entertainment

2

0.98

v)              Environment

43

20.98

vi)              Government Policy

27

13.17

vii)              International

3

1.46

viii) Medical

7

3.42

ix)              Moral/Social

5

2.44

x)              Racial

18

8.78

xi)              Women

9

4.39

TOTAL

205

I_

100

Protest was stimulated by a wide range of issues. These issues were grouped in the following general categories and each protest was recorded in only one category:

i) Defence

This category included all protests about nuclear weapons, peace, and disarmament. Protest against uranium mining were also included here because a majority of protesters saw this as contributing to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Nuclear arms testing in the Pacific by France was excluded from this category because this was seen in the main as an environmental issue (see Environment).

General

Protest following President Reagan's Star Wars scenario. Visits by nuclear powered ships from U.S.A. and U.K.

Specific

Pine Gap.

Roxby Downs.

ii) Educational

General

Federal and State funding and staffing in public and private education from pre-school to tertiary institutions.


7.

Specific

Proposed closure of Dover Heights Boys High School. Federal cuts in funding to private schools.

Argument re Political Economics syllabus at Sydney University.

Numbers of overseas students in tertiary education. Use of corporal punishment in schools.

iii) Employment

General

Protest about the protection or creation of employment in the face of resistance from the environment protection lobby.

General protest re unemployment, retrenchment, redundancy pay, working conditions and wages, technological changes, strikes and strike breaking.

Specific

Wide combs in the shearing industry.

Sunday trading in the retail industry.

The Macken Report on youth wages and employment. Repeal of Section 48D of the Trade Practices Act.

See also Education and Medical for employment issues included in those categories.

N.B. The number of protests recorded in this category was bound to be unreliable given the definition of 'protest' adopted for the purposes of the survey (see p.2 above).

iv) Entertainment

Leisure-centred activities which escalated into what were described as 'riots'.

Specific

Bathurst Motor Races

Christmas Morning Riot, Adelaide.

v) Environment

General

Local Sydney protest re preservation of the environment against road building and office blocks.

Animal protection

Specific

Franklin Dam.

  • Cape Tribulation.

Second airport at Badgery's Creek. French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

390


8.

vi) Government Policy

Included protest at federal and state policies and the operations of government departments and statutory authorities.

Excluded issues recorded in Defence, Education, Medical, Racial, International, Environment and Entertainment

categories.

General

Housing and homelessness (including eviction). Broadcasting law.

Freedom of speech (contempt).

Specific

Police harassment of homosexuals.

Demand for decriminalisation of homosexuality. Means testing of Age Pension.

Amalgamation of Sydney Municipal Councils.

vii) International Excluded issues in Defence.

General

Relations with USSR.

Specific

Shooting down of Korean airliner by USSR. Ukraine Famine 1931.

Foreign troops in Lebanon.

viii) Medical

General

Conditions of employment for nurses.

Hospital              issues              concerning              staffing,              funding              and

management.

Specific

Richmond Report on hospital services for the intellectually handicapped.

Anti-Smoking.

ix) Moral/Social
Excluded issues relating to medicine, women, and race.

General

Issues raised by religious groups concerning community values.

Protests against alleged murderers.

Protest about protest methods.

391


9.

x)              Racial

General

Treatment of Aboriginals in the community. Protest against Asians in the community.

Specific

Redfern Riot.

N.S.W. Aboriginal Land Rights Bill, 1983.

Roxby Downs - preservation of sacred sites.

Todd River - preservation of sacred sites.

National Aboriginal Day protest.

Trial of 3 men charged with the murder of a Moree Aboriginal.

xi),              Women

General

Rape.

Abortion.

Women in prison.

Specific

Sex Discrimination Bill, 1983.

Women Against Rape in War (Anzac Day). Ordination of women.

(c) To Whom is protest directed?

See Table 4, page 10.

For the purpose of analysing the survey material, protestees (those to whom protest is directed) were grouped in seven categories. However, because in practice these categories are not mutually exclusive, where appropriate a protest was recorded as being directed towards more than one of these categories. The categories of protesters shown are described in paragraph (e) (i) below.

i)              Employers or Fellow Workmen

Included employers, management and fellow workmen, including hospital and university administrations where the issue did not concern government or government policy.

N.B.              The number of protests recorded in this category was

bound to be unreliable given the definition of 'protest' adopted for the purposes of the survey (see p.2 above).


TABLE 4

This table records the number of times particular categories of protesters protested to particular protestees.

PROTESTEES (To whom protest is directed)

Employers 1              Workers

Australian Governments

Non-Govt. Groups _

Police

Overseas
__Governments

I

Community
Values

PROTESTERS (GROUPS)

Defence

26

5

I

15

Education

6

17

2

6

Oa

t              Employment

45

1

36

4

1

7

1              Environment

27

15

I

1

6

Medical

12

1

I

6

Racial/National

11

9

4

5

I

Residential

16

3

2

I

Women

17

1

3

I

4

Miscellaneous

35

7

I

4

I

I

TOTAL

51

1

195

49

11

55

20

1


ii) Australian Governments

Included federal, state and local governments, government

departments, instrumentalities and statutory authorities. Excluded overseas governments and the police.              Included
protests about judgments handed down by federal and state courts.

iii) Non-Government Groups

Excluded employers and fellow workmen. Included the following groups and their supporters: the Tasmanian Wilderness Society, other environmental protection groups, developers and builders, land and property owners, residential action groups, BHP Exploration, Asians, Parents and Citizens organisations, the Anglican Church, the Festival of Light, alleged murderers, and organisations experimenting with or mistreating animals.

iv) The Police Some protests were directed specifically at the police.

Overseas Governments and International Organisations

The USSR, the USA, France, the United Kingdom, Korea, the United Nations and all those nations having troops in the Lebanon not engaged in official peace-keeping activities.

vi)              The Community and Community Values

Excluded those values associated with Defence and Environmental issues, where the protesters directed their protests at specific Protestees ,(an overseas -government or government policy) and not at values held in the community at large. Although these protests were intended to influence the way the community valued Peoge,-ar,-the environment, the protests Were .aimed at „specific institutions, policies or groups of people.

Included, rape, rape in war, abortion, money and morality, the role of women in society, racism, the treatment of and attitudes towards Aboriginals and other racial groups, and morality in regard to 'God, Queen and Country'.


12.

(d) The Protesters

A wide variety of people took part in protest activity. However, without more information than that provided by the newspapers, or a broader survey, it would be misleading to draw too many conclusions about the kinds of people who protest. Nevertheless, some comments can be made regarding certain observable characteristics of protesters:

Race and National Origin

Caucasians and Aboriginals took part in protest activity,

as did

Australian, European and Middle Eastern national groups, and certain groups from the USSR.

Sex

Both men and women were active protesters, with women noticeably involved with defence issues.

Class

Not enough information was available on the relationship between class and protest activity, although it was clear that all classes were represented.

Religion

Whilst Christian groups were represented at protests, other religious groups, apparently, were not.

Age

People of all ages participated in protest activity.

Residence

Naturally, the two newspapers reported most often on protest in the
Sydney environs. There were identifiable groups of protesters from
the older inner areas undergoing redevelopment and the new outer

western suburbs,

Redfern With its large Aboriginal population, was

a focus of protest activity.,

Occupation

Many identifiable occupational groups participated in protest.


13.

Culture

There were some obvious cultural and sub-cultural groups who engaged in protest, notably Aboriginal groups and motor bike riders.

(e) Other Features of Protests

i)              Size

See Table 5, page 14.

Obviously, not all people who protest do so as a member of a group. Lone demonstrators were not uncommon. However, in order to collate the information about protesters, they were classified according to the issues which brought them together. In this way, it is possible to get an idea of which people protest about which issues.

Defence Groups

Included people from a broad range of ages and occupations. Christians, politicians, doctors, scientists, nurses, lawyers, trade unionists, bank employees, actors, actresses, students and women's groups took part in protests on defence issues. These protests were also, numerically, the largest. Women appeared to take a particular interest in these issues. Specific groups in this category were:

Australians for Nuclear Disarmament Women's Action Against Global Violence Women for Survival

Coalition for Nuclear Free Australia Campaign Against Nuclear Energy

Education Groups

Included teachers, parents and students from pre-school to tertiary years. Specific groups were:

Dover Heights Boys High School Parents and Citizens Association

Federation of Parents and Citizens Association

N.S.W. Teachers Federation

Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education Parents of Children in Private Schools

Students of the University of Sydney

Students of the University of N.S.W.

Students of Adelaide Parks Community Centre


TABLE 5

This table records the number of protests at which the following categories of protesters were present.

NUMERICAL SIZE OF PROTEST

1              I

2-49

I

50-99

I

100-

500-

1

1000-

5000-

I

10000-              I              50000

1

I

I

499

I

999

4999

9999

1

49999              1              --

Category of Protesters

I

I

I

I

Defence

3

1

4

1.

4

4

1

1              I              2

Education

1              I

2

5

2

1

1

I

Co*

Employment

11

5

4

5

1

4

0111

Environment

.4

1              1

3

3

, 1

4

1

, 1

1

1

Medical

1

I

2

1

2

Racial/National

4

1

3

2

Residential

I

4

1

I

1

2

Women

3

3

3

2

1

,              Miscellaneous

6              I

12

5

1

10

I__

I

1

              1

I TOTAL

I

8              I

41

11

1

31

17

27

2

2              2

I

I

I

%

I

5.67              I

29.9

7.80

21.99

12.06

19.15

1.42

i

1,42_1_ 1,42_1

N.B. These figures reflect only what figures were reported in the newspaper. It is notoriously difficult to estimate crowd size.


15.

Employment Groups

In combination with the employment-oriented groups in the Medical and Education categories, these groups participated more often than any others in protest, although not always on employment issues. Protection of the environment and defence protests also attracted these groups. Included in these groups were pro-Franklin dam protesters and young people, as well as the following:

Australian Workers Union

Brisbane Waterside Unions

Builders Labourers Federation

Electrical Trades Union

Federated Engine Drivers and Firemans Association

Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union Federated Plumbers

Livestock and Grain Producers Association

  • Metalworkers Union
  • Miners Federation (various branches) Organisation for Tasmanian Development Shop Assistants Union

Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Sydney Dock Workers

Unemployed Peoples Union

Wollongong Out-of-Workers Union

Storeman and Packers Union

Ford Workers at Broadmeadow Factory, Melbourne, Vic.

ZEA Broadcasters (SBS)

  • Unemployed Workers Union (Vic)

MacDonald's Youth Employees

Environmental Groups

This group of protesters included politicians, scientists (researchers, zoologists and botanists), as well as specific organisations set up to protest environmental issues. Residential groups often focused their protests on these issues. Like the defence groups, these environmental groups were frequently involved in alleged law breaking activities. The environmental groups were allegedly more often involved in damage to property than the other groups. Specific groups in this category were:

Animal Liberation

Australian Association for Humane Research Australian Fund for Animals

Australian Wilderness Society

Kangaroo Protection Co-operative

398


16.

Tasmanian Wilderness Society

.              The Australian Conservation Society

  • The Bloodwood Association
  • The Friends of the First Government House Site

See also Residential Groups. Medical Groups

Included doctors, psychiatrists, hospital patients and their relatives, former patients and their relatives, mental health workers and nurses. Specific groups were:

Prince Alfred Hospital Nurses

N.S.W. Nurses Association

Public Medical Officers Association

Racial or National Groups

Included anti-Asian protesters, Lebanese Australians, Ukrainian Australians as well as:

Aboriginal Land Rights Groups Kokatha Tribe, Roxby Downs

Residential Groups

These were almost exclusively engaged in environmental issues:

Friends of the Rocks Society Hornsby Shire Residents

Kings Cross Residential Action Group

Pennant Hill Residential Action Group

Brisbane jail residents

The South-West Flood Action Group

Residents of Randwick

Squatters (Bona Vista House, Melbourne, Vic.)

Gosford Residents (Mangrove Mountain)

Residents of Dapto

Women Behind Bars

Women's Groups

Included nurses, female politicians, Aboriginal women and:

Movement for the Ordination of Women Women Against Rape Collective

Women Behind Bars

Tasmanian Women Golfers

Women's Action Against Global Violence Women for Survival

399


17.

Miscellaneous Groups

Included sporting groups, public servants, politicians, alleged rioters, pensioners, Christian groups, entertainment groups, anti-abortionists, lone demonstrators, youth, homosexuals, graffitiists, prisoners and students.

The specific groups and some of the individuals were:

Billboard              Utilising              Graffitiists              Against              Unhealthy

Promotions

Combined Pensioners Associations

N.S.W Branch of the Motor Cycle Riders Association .N.S.W. Labor Party

Prisoners Action Groups, Parklea Maximum Security Prison Rapville Christians

The Reverend Fred Nile and the Festival of Light

Prince Leonard, Hutt River Province

ii)              Alleged Law-Breaking

TABLE 6

This table records the number of protests at which the following categories of protesters were arrested.

1              1              Law              1 Personal 1 Property 1 Personal Injury;

1              1 BreakioLI Injury              1 Damage               1 & Property Dam.1

1Groups of Protesters1              1


1

7

I

11

1

1

1

1

0

3

2

1 i

12

1

1

7

0

5

1

0

0

0

2

1 3

0

I

3

0

I

0

1



1

2

3

4

5

6

A policeman injured at Roxby Downs.

The shearers' dispute re wide combs.

Australia Day. Aboriginals charged with assault.

(a) The Christmas Day riot in Adelaide.

(b) A charge of obstructing a person during an anti-abortion protest.

The Redfern Riot (Aboi-igines and Police).

The Bathurst Motor Races riot.

N.B. Not all arrests result in charges being laid, and not all charges laid result in a conviction.


18.

The largest protests (the Peace Rallies and the largest Anti-Franklin Dam protests) involved little damage to property and personal injury, and occasioned few arrests. Violence and arrests most commonly occurred in smaller group protests (one to 300 people). Of these, those protests which were spontaneous or in which there was a perception of aggression or threat (from either the protestee or the protester) - for example the Bathurst Motor Races, the Redfern Riot, Animal Liberation protests, the political economy dispute at Sydney University, and the Wide Combs dispute- occasioned most personal injury and property damage. Protests of a similar size about environmental or anti-war issues, most commonly involved arrests (especially for trespass, obstruction or disobeying a police instruction), but did not involve personal injury or property damage. However, charges were often not pursued or were dismissed by the courts.

The degree of organisation of the protesters, the perception of threat or grievance, and the importance of the issues protested for the personal lives of the protesters, had a greater influence On the pattern of violence and law-breaking than the number of people present at protests.

3. CONCLUSIONS

a)              The survey recorded a wide variety of different forms of

protest, the most numerous category being stationary protests (47%). Of the 205 protests recorded, 10% involved some personal injury or damage to property, and 11% were prolonged over a period of several days or more. The largest protests did not necessarily involve violence and arrests. This occurred more commonly in smaller protests and was probably a result of lack of organisation, the perception of threat or grievance, and the importance of the issues protested for the personal lives of the protesters.


19.

Protest was stimulated by a wide range of issues. Notwithstanding that the definition of 'protest' for the purposes of the survey would have substantially reduced the apparent incidence of employment related protest, nevertheless, employment was recorded as the subject of most protests (23%), followed by the environment (21%), defence (13%) and government policy (13%), education (9%) and race (9%).

Protest was most commonly directed at Australian governments (195) compared with overseas governments (55) and non-government groups (49).

d)              People taking part in protests were from a variety of

backgrounds - racial and national origins, class, age and occupation. Both men and women were active protesters, with women noticeably involved in defence issues.

The number of people involved in protests varied widely. Acknowledging the notorious unreliability of estimates of crowd size, where figures were reported:

in 43% of protests there were less than 100 protesters;

in 22% of protests there were at least 100 but less than 500 protesters;

in 12% of protests there were at least 500 but less than
              1000 protesters; and              ,

23% of protests involved 1000 or more protesters.

Apart from employment related protests in respect of which it has already been noted that the figures recorded are

unreliable, defence issues attracted the largest protests. Protests about the environment and defence involved arrests more often than other protests.

402

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