Australia in the 1970s

Womens Liberation Movement

During the 1970s, the women's movement, also described as the second phrase of feminism, brought about significant social, political, and economic changes for women. Germaine Greer published The Female Eunuch about the socialisation and oppression of women.

In 1972, the first International Women's Day March took place. During this year the Women's Electoral Lobby, a national women's lobby group, was formed.

In 1973, Elizabeth Reid was appointed the first Women's Advisor by the newly elected Labor government, the first such position in the world. The federal public service received paid maternity leave and equal pay for men and women.

In 1975, the United Nations Decade for Women was inaugurated with International Women's Year.

In 1976, Elizabeth Evatt was appointed the first female Chief Judge of the Family Court.

A snapshot of 1978

  • January
    • The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Act 1978 (Cth) was proclaimed in federal parliament.
    • The Special Broadcasting Service, also known as SBS, was established.

  • April
    • The Migrant Services and Programs Report, also known as 'The Galbally Report', was presented to the prime minister.

  • August
    • The Malcolm Fraser conservative government announced the end of maternity allowances.

  • November
    • The West Gate Bridge over the Yarra River and Port Melbourne was opened. It is the second-largest single span bridge in Australia.
    • The Ranger Uranium Agreement was signed by the Northern Land Council and ratified by the traditional owners, allowing uranium mining in Arnhem Land.


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